Grocery Cart Ambush

I went to my local market today and decided to do one of those Grocery Cart Ambush. You’ve seen and read about  TV personalities or dietitians who come upon regular people shopping and go through their grocery cart and help them make better/healthier choices.  Ok…so I didn’t exactly do that,  but I did ambush some grocery carts! They didn’t have people pushing them, but the wind was doing a pretty nice job of keeping me on my toes chasing after them.  And I didn’t help regular people make better/healthier choices. I did however, choose their grocery lists LEFT in their grocery cart!

Here’s where I’m going with all this.  I thought I would post one of the groceries list I chased down and see what kind of recipes everyone can come up with from the items. Use as many items as you can and try not to add items unless they are pantry/fridge items(oils, butter, milk spices, etc). I will see what I can come up with too! This should be lots of fun!

As always enjoy and happy cooking,                                                                 


Grocery List:



Yellow and Red Peppers


Spring Mix




Parmesan Cheese



Black Eyed Pea and Ham Stew (via Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide)

After reading this post I knew I had to make this wonderful concoction. Only problem, I don’t have any more leftover ham. Solution: going to the market today and getting another ham just so I can make this recipe and savor the goodness! I think this soup, some delicious brown bread and a cold beer sounds like the perfect dinner here in Michigan. Have a good day everyone.

Black Eyed Pea and Ham Stew Here is another great way to use up some of that leftover ham. Much like chili, many different ingredients can be thrown into the pot for a delicious combination. Below are the basic flavor components, after that whatever happens to be in the refrigerator and sounds good can be included. The fresh spices can also be tweaked de … Read More

via Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide

Chicken and Dumpling Soup

This is a soup I make regularly for my Families-on-the-Go.  Everyone of all ages just loves it. It comes together in less than 30 minutes from start to finish so it’s a great meal you can whip up if you are short on time.  The leftovers only get better, so don’t be afraid to make a whole recipe if it’s just one or two you are cooking for or a double batch if you have a large family!

Enjoy and Happy cooking,



1 1/2 pounds chicken breast

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1  large potato, peeled and diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 rib celery, diced

1 bay leaf  fresh or dried

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

2 tablespoons flour,

2 quart chicken broth

1 small box biscuit mix prepared following directions on the box

Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 cup frozen green peas


Cut chicken into bite size pieces and set aside.  Place a large pot on stove over medium high heat. Add oil, butter, vegetables and bay leaf and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Season mixture with salt, pepper and Old Bay Seasoning.  Add flour to the pan and cook 2 minutes. Stir broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken to the broth and stir. Place biscuit mix in a bowl and mix according to directions on box. Drop tablespoonfuls of prepared mix into the pot, spacing dumplings evenly. Cover pot tightly and reduce heat to medium low. Steam dumplings 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in chopped parsley and peas.   Serves 4 to 6

Grilled Ham and Pineapple Sandwiches

So I was faced with real dilemma today.  Usually, I post “Happy Meatless Monday” and Challenge everyone to a meat free dinner.   But, today as I was thinking about which recipe would be perfect, my mind wouldn’t let go of an image of wonderfully grilled sourdough bread that had  graced my dinner table yesterday. It was filled with savory Easter ham that had been marinated in dark ale and glazed with the goodness of apple butter and grainy mustard and topped  with the combination of  sweet cream cheese and pineapple.  When I tell you I tried hard to sift through my many recipes and creations for meatless menus, I did with all my might.  BUT… like a bad habit this sandwich stuck with me.  Once you create this divine concoction it will forever be imbedded in your mind as well!    So forgive me Meat Freers…I promise a Meatless Friday this week.

FYI…..”Challenge” your imagination.  This recipe is only a stepping stone. Take the basics and run with it.  For instance, This is wonderful made as a Panini.

Enjoy and Happy cooking,





8 or more slices cooked ham

8 slices sourdough bread

 1  8oz. block cream cheese, softened

1 can crushed pineapple, drained

4 Tbsp. butter *



In a bowl combine cream cheese and pineapple.  Spread on 4 slices of bread.  Layer  slices of ham on top of cheese mixture and top with remaining slices of bread.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place sandwiches in skillet, and fry on each side until golden brown and cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes per side.   *You may need more butter to fry sandwiches.

Mom’s Pickled beets and eggs

Every Easter my mother makes a large jar of pickled beets and eggs.  I, not being a fan of eggs and especially hard-boiled eggs, NEVER participated in this Easter tradition.  I would however, eat all the beets!  Mark and I married in June and that following spring he was overly excited to see a very large jar of pickled eggs on the table from which he consumed many eggs.  My mother was very excited that her new son-in-law would love her cooking, so for 23 years she makes him his own jar. Thanks Mom….

Enjoy and Happy Cooking, 


12  eggs

2 (15 ounce) cans whole pickled beets, juice reserved

2 onion, sliced thinly

1 cup white sugar

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pinch ground black pepper

12 whole cloves

1 tsp. pickling spice


Place eggs in saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to boil.  Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs sit in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from hot water, cool, and peel.

Place beets, onion, and peeled eggs in a non-reactive glass or plastic container. Set aside.

In a medium-size, non-reactive saucepan, combine sugar, 1 cup reserved beet juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, cloves and pickling spice.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Pour hot liquid over beets and eggs. Cover, and refrigerate 48 hours before using.

Dark Ale Glazed Ham

Don’t loose sleep worrying about cooking your ham this year. Buy a spiral precooked ham, use the glaze packet, add few more ingredients and you are sure to enjoy a fabulous dinner this Easter.

Enjoy and Happy cooking,
Dark ale glazed ham

1 spiral sliced half-ham with glaze packet (3-5 pound)
1 bottle (12-ounce size) Dark ale beer
1 glaze packet (6-ounce size) from spiral ham package
1/4 cup apple butter
2 tablespoon grainy mustard


Remove spiral ham from package and place in a foiled lined baking pan; set glaze packet aside. Pour beer over ham. Cover and marinate ham, in refrigerator, several hours or overnight.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Bake ham until ham reaches an internal temperature of 160- degree on a meat thermometer.  Drain liquid from pan.
For glaze, prepare glaze packet as package directs. Stir apple butter and mustard into glaze. Drizzle glaze over ham and  return to oven for 15- 20 minutes or until glaze is bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Chocolate Eclair Icebox Dessert

I was thinking about what “Challenge” I could blog about today. If you ask my children, they would tell you the challenge of the day for them is the weather here in Michigan. They got tickets to the Detroit Tigers game this evening  and I don’t think Mother Nature realizes most of us would like to move on from the cold weather. If you ask my husband, his challenge is the long “Honey Do” list I keep giving him on his vacation!  As I enjoy a wonderful Hazelnut Latte on Earth Day, I kept thinking about this wonderful dessert and how it would be the perfect ending to my Easter dinner on Sunday. I guess my “Challenge” for you is to copy the ingredient list and give it a try!  The best thing is you make it ahead and simply pull it out of the fridge when you are ready for dessert. Hope you enjoy.  I know we will!!
 Enjoy and Happy Cooking,



22 1/2 sheets (about 1 [14-ounce] box) graham crackers, divided
Cooking spray
3 cups  milk
2 (3.4-ounce) packages  vanilla instant pudding mix
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened 
1 (8-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/4 cup  milk
2 tablespoons stick margarine or butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Preparation :

Arrange 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine 3 cups milk, pudding mix, and cream cheese in a large bowl, and beat at low speed with a mixer 1 minute or until thick. Fold in whipped topping. Spread half of the pudding mixture over graham crackers, and top with 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets. Repeat the procedure with the remaining half of pudding mixture and 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets.

Combine 1/4 cup milk, softened butter, honey, and unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl, and beat well with a mixer. Gradually add powdered sugar to milk mixture, and beat well. Spread chocolate glaze over graham crackers. Cover dessert and tent with foil to prevent sticking.  Chill 4 hours.


Slow Cooker Ham and Split Pea Soup

This is another great recipe to help you with your leftover Easter ham.  I made this hearty soup for a staff  lunch not too long ago and it was a big hit!  It has a really nice taste and texture. Since it cooks on the slow cooker for 8- 10 hours there is no need to emulsify.  Complete the meal with a nice crusty wheat bread or some homemade buttermilk biscuits.

Enjoy and Happy cooking,


3 cups dried split peas

1 ham hock, or leftover ham bone with meat

5 cups chicken broth

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. marjoram

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. basil

Combine: All  ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 6 hours. Stir and remove ham hock or bones. Shred ham into bite size pieces. If soup get too thick after sitting, add a little water or chicken broth to desired consistency.

Baked Leek and Potato Gratin

Potatoes baked in a creamy cheese sauce make the ultimate comfort dish.  This make a great main dish for meatless meals or would be wonderful as an accompaniment to fish or pork dishes. You could also add 2 cups of leftover diced ham from your Easter dinner and make a one-dish wonder!  Make sure when you are preparing the leeks, you separate the leaves and rinse them thoroughly under cold running water, as soil hides and gets caught between the layers. Pat dry before adding them to the dish.
I like to serve this with some homemade applesauce when I make this as a meal.  A simple salad would be nice as well.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking,


Ingredients :
2 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced
2 large leeks, cleaned, trimmed
7 oz. ripe Brie cheese, sliced
2 cups half and half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook sliced potatoes in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain. Cut leeks into 1/2 inch lengths and blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain.
Turn 1/2 the potatoes into a shallow dish and spread potatoes around. Top with 2/3 of leeks, then add the remaining potatoes. Tuck the slices of cheese and the remaining leeks in among the top layers of potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and pour the cream over.
Bake for 1 hour, or until tender and golden. Tent with foil if the top starts to over brown before potatoes are tender.
Serves:4 to 6

Impossible Quiche

This is a wonderful easy Quiche I will be making and serving at my Easter Brunch. I have been making this recipe for 20+ years. I have tried every combination of meat and vegetable there are, and it always tastes fabulous and comes out perfectly. My favorite is vegetarian, but my family likes all the meat choices and peppers and onions. No matter which way you try, you won’t be disappointed.
 Enjoy and Happy Cooking,

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup biscuit/baking mix
2 TBSP. butter
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup bacon, sausage, ham, cooked, drained and diced or crumbled
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups vegetables: green peppers, onions, mushrooms, asparagus,trimmed and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
a combination of all of above!
Nutmeg to taste

In a blender, combine the first five ingredients. Blend for 1 minute. Grease a 9-in. pie plate. Sprinkle with bacon and cheese, or vegetables and cheese or combination. Pour blender mixture over cheese mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes before baking. Sprinkle with nutmeg and bake uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.