Saturday, April 30, 2011


Years ago, there was a fabulous Chinese restaurant in Central Florida called "Sampan". Their steaks were are great as the Chinese food. They made an almond chicken salad that was to die for! You can imagine my shock when a co-worker (Nancy P.) brought in her homemade chicken salad that tasted like it came from Sampan. I was even more surprised to find out that canned chicken was used. Well, don't you know that I got that recipe from Nancy! I always make a double batch. It is great on bread and crackers, but I personally LOVE to eat it on a croissant.

The recipe below is for a single batch of chicken salad. Recipe can easily be doubled.


1 can (5 oz) white chicken breast
1/2 cup mayonnaise (no Miracle Whip)
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup finely diced celery
salt & pepper, to taste

Drain and rinse the chicken. Break down into very small pieces. Mix all the ingredients together. Chill.

Friday, April 29, 2011


In honor of the Royal Wedding today, Mom and I had one of my favorite meals. Bangers and Mash. It is a traditional English meal of sausages and mashed potatoes. It's a very simple and delicious meal. We also had a nice Merlot to accompany our meal. The tomatoes were a last minute addition. A friend of mine grew them and was selling them today. They were not only beautiful, but delicious as well.


Pete and Lori will visit their local 99 cent stores and buy the ingredients to make a dinner for 4 people. They can't spend more than $10.00 and can't use ingredients already in their pantry except for seasonings. This challenge will be VERY interesting.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Making Ham and Beans almost sounds too elementary because that's what most people make with their ham bones. I always use a crock pot when I make beans so I don't have to watch it for hours. All I do is check it to add more water if necessary. I have NEVER soaked my beans when using a crock pot. I also like to add some hot sauce for a little kick. I'm not going to dictate how much hot sauce to use. You be your own judge. If the ham bone doesn't have a lot of ham on it, I like to add some cut up smoked sausage to make it meatier.


1 lb of dried navy beans
1 ham bone
8 cups of water
1/2 of a link of smoked sausage, cut in pieces
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Hot sauce, to taste

Ingredients used in recipe.

Add beans and water to crockpot. Discard any beans that float to the top. Add ham bone.

Slice the smoked sausage link down the middle lengthwise into 2 pieces. Slice each of those 2 pieces down the middle lengthwise again. Cut into bite size pieces. Add to crock pot.

Add onions, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I gave the hot sauce bottle 10 good shakes. You can always add more later if you want more of a kick. Give the ingredients a stir. Cover and cook for 2 hours on high. Turn setting down to low and cook for 6 additional hours.

The final result! The sausage didn't overwhelm the flavor of the ham and beans. It gave it a meatier, smokier flavor. It really was delicious. I ate mine the same way our Great-Grandfather ate his. . .over a piece of bread and butter. Comfort food at it's best!!


** Pete had an unexpected job that he had to work on. He sends his apologizes and hopes that you will understand that his livelihood has to come first. He will have his recipe and pictures for all of you tomorrow.

UPDATE: Pete was unable to complete the challenge as his Ham Bone had gone bad. Apparently, someone accidentally left it out all night. Since it wasn't his fault, we will have a challenge in the future for Split Pea Soup.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011


So Pete and I were talking on the phone this morning, and he informs me that he's doing split pea soup for the ham bone challenge. "That's what I'm doing" is of course my response. Being his sister, I naturally accused him of changing his food because he knew I was going to win the challenge. "Not so" he says. It turns out that he has the split pea beans and I already have the white beans for the ham & beans. So we switched our foods. I am such a nice sister. . .and I won't let him forget it either!!

Monday, April 25, 2011



I created this recipe because I think ham goes really well with cream cheese and pineapple. Just put in more of what you love. I personally prefer a fruiter taste, so I add more pineapple. If you like more of a cream cheese flavor, reduce the mayo and add more cream cheese and vice versa. I intentionally left salt out because of the ham, but you can certainly add it to taste. This recipe could easily be doubled.

Leaving the pineapple and almonds out would make this a low-carb recipe. If you particularly wanted a pineapple taste to the ham salad, add pineapple extract to taste.

2 cups ham, cubed
4-6 oz of cream cheese (soft or regular)
3-4 TBS mayo, generous measurement
1/2 can of crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
Pinch of pepper
1/4 cup of sliced almonds (optional)

Ingredients used for the ham salad. Recognize that ham? It's my leftover Coca Cola Ham from the previous challenge. I chose the most tender pieces for this salad.

Cut up ham in cubes to make 2 cups. Put in food processer and grind to until it is well ground and looks flaky. I finally got to use my Cuisinart mini food processor and it worked great!

Stir in crushed pineapple, cream cheese, mayo, garlic powder and pepper. Blend well. Add salt and/or pepper to taste. Here is where we as cooks improvise when necessary. I didn't have crushed pineapple in the house, so I took pineapple chunks and ground them up a bit in the food processor. I ended up using about 20 chunks for the recipe. I also added more cream cheese because I love it so much. I didn't add the sliced almonds in this batch because I didn't have any. But it does add a delightful touch to the ham salad.

Chill for several hours. Serve on crackers, on bread as sandwiches or as part of a fruit salad plate.



You'll need a meat grinder (or an attachment for your food processor) to make this recipe. Use the fine setting or disc. Medium will work but Fine is best. The less garlic the bologna has, the better. I recommend Ehkrich brand big bologna from the deli section or meat market.

2 lbs Ham or Bologna
4 hard boiled eggs
8 small sweet gerkins pickles
Miracle Whip (or mayo), add to your fave consistency & taste.
onion (minced) - optional

Ingredients used in the recipe.

Grind the ham, eggs and pickles.

Mix all ingredients together.

Best when chilled. Served heavily on plain white loaf bread. Goes well with Vegetable soup, split-pea or any other hot soup.

Hint: Try NOT to use onion. but if you must, use sparingly. If ran thru the grinder, be careful. Grinding onions makes them extremely potent and can easily overpower any recipe.

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What to do with those pecky ham leftovers? If you're like our family, you make Ham Salad!! Pete called the challenge first, so he's going to make our Grandma's Ham Salad. Lori is going to go tropical by making Ham Salad that includes cream cheese and pineapple as ingredients.

Sunday, April 24, 2011



This recipe can easily be adapted for the oven. Use the same ingredients, but increase the Coca Cola to 1.5 cups. Cover the ham with foil and bake for 3 hours at 450 degrees. I would not use Pepsi or house brands with this recipe. Pepsi could make the ham way too sweet and the house brands may not have the concentrated strength to properly flavor the ham.

1 large ham, precooked
1/2 cup Coca Cola (must be Coke)
Handful of dark brown sugar

The ingredients used in this recipe. Very simple and uncomplicated.

Put the ham into the crockpot. Yay! It fit in the crockpot. Unfortunately, I can't get the lid on it. So I'm going to cut and fit the ham into the pot to reduce it's height. It's perfectly acceptable because I've going to have the ham cut up into pieces when I serve it. No one will ever know unless we tell them. I also cut away any unnecessary and excessive fat that was on the ham.

Pour the Coke over the top of the ham. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the ham. Cover and cook for 7-8 hours on low.

The ham just came out of the crockpot ready to rest for about 15 minutes. You can see that the ham is a bit darker due to the Coca Cola, but it looks great. Plus it is so tender, I won't need a knife to cut it when I eat it. I basted the ham with the liquid from the crockpot before I tented it with aluminum foil.

My Easter dinner plate. We had the Coca Cola Ham, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, corn, green beans w/ bacon, macaroni & cheese, Sister Shubert rolls and red velvet cake for dessert.



I used an 11 pound Farmer John smoked ham. It's not overly salty and is always very juicy. Care must be taken when preparing this ham as it is easy to over cook it. The inside temperature should be 140 degrees. Some people cover their ham while it's cooking. I do not. After baking, the ham should rest a minimum of 5 minutes before slicing.

1 large ham, smoked

The ingredients used in preparing this ham.

On the ham, I cross scored the outer fatty area approximately a 1/4 inch deep.

Insert the stems of cloves into each corner of the cross scores.

Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.

Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 15 minutes per pound.

The finished ham. The burnt area at the top of the ham is the fat that was not removed.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011


We are each at home with our families celebrating the day. We wish you a wonderful Easter, a beautiful spring and a song in your heart all year long.


Easter has crept up on us so fast, that we have changed the next challenge from hamburgers to ham.

Pete will make a Clove Ham while Lori will be preparing a Coca Cola Ham. Should be interesting.

Sorry for the confusion. We will reschedule the hamburger challenge soon.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Well I should have taken the pictures on my cell phone instead of my camera. After I took the pictures and tried to load them into my computer, I discovered that my dog had chewed the end of the cord off!!! I did a test picture on my phone, but it is only the first picture showing my ingredients which I will post.

The broccoli casserole was absolutely delicious! It was creamy and cheesy just the way I like it. But it still retained a bit of the chunkiness of the broccoli pieces. I used a large jar of cheese dip and would suggest it if you like things really cheesy. Otherwise use a medium size jar.


1/4 cup of butter, melted
1 small onion, diced
1 (10 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups Minute Rice
2 cups water
Jar of Cheez Whiz
2 (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli

Place the ingredients in the crock pot. Mix to evenly distribute ingredients. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours.



2 - 8 oz. packages of frozen chopped broccoli or flowerets
1/4 - 1/2 cup mayo or miracle whip
2 eggs, beaten slightly
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, mild or sharp
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, divided, crumbled
3 tbl. butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 350. Cook broccoli and drain. In casserole dish, add ingredients (except butter), and 3/4 Ritz crackers. Mix well. Sprinkle remaining crackers on top and dot with butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Hints: I prefer flowerets instead of the thick stems. I love onions so you can add more to taste. Also, I love cheese so I've been known to add up to 3 cups total, successfully. Miracle Whip and mayo adds a slight tang to the dish so I recommend not adding more than a 1/4 cup as adding more makes it quite tangy. I like to add 1-2 tbl. more (REAL) butter too.

What I like about making this dish is that you can vary the amounts of the things you like best and "make it your own" special recipe. Any way you make it, it will come out great. Just take it easy with the mayo...

Which recipe was best?
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Friday, April 15, 2011


Pete and I have always enjoyed a bit of sibling rivalry. Particularly in our cooking abilities. We like a lot of the same foods, but our tastes do differ. Even though we are not limited to it, my cooking ranges from Southern and crockpot dishes to quick and easy foods. Pete's cooking ranges from old homestyle comfort to new hot and spicy foods. Both of us are budget minded people who like good food that isn't going to break the bank. We are not interested in using rare and odd ingredients that can't be found in local grocery stores. If our families won't eat it, what's the point?

We have agreed that we will take a "dish challenge" and let others decide who's the winner. We will define the challenge, provide our recipes and step by step pictures. At the end of the post, there will be a poll for you to let us know who won the challenge.

We hope you'll follow along with us as we go from challenge to challenge in search of the best dishes.