One Pot Ham & Veggie Pasta

Today’s recipe, Ham & Veggie Pasta, is a hearty meal but easy to make for busy weeknights. What makes it superb for summer is all the cooking is in one stove top pot. For summer, I suggest you buy a center cut ham steak of about 1 to 2 pounds. 2 cups of chopped ham is approximately 1 pound; you’ll need 2 1/2 cups for 6 servings. When fall and winter comes, use leftovers from your baked ham. I used a defrosted frozen green peas and carrot mix for my veggies, but you could just use just green peas or another vegetable.

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Crock Pot Peach Cobbler

If you’ve read many of my recipes, you know how much I love a slow cooker. Put food on to cook while you do something else. Today’s recipe is for the summer favorite, peach cobbler, made in a crock pot. On hot summer days, you don’t need to turn on the oven to enjoy a fresh homemade dessert. I love peach season, but you can eat peach cobbler year round. Fresh or frozen sliced peaches, a little sugar, spices, and biscuit dough makes a traditional southern peach cobbler. There is no cake mix in this recipe. I prefer to know all the ingredients used and avoid chemicals. For gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free flour. For vegan, use Earth Balance margarine sticks.

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Asian Pasta Salad

This is an easy salad to put together and perfect for a warm day. Asian Pasta Salad works well as a side at a cookout too. I’m using fresh grated ginger and broccoli that I blanched a few minutes. Water chestnuts, sesame seeds, and red bell pepper add crunch. You can easily substitute snow peas for the broccoli. If you don’t have fresh, you can try dried ground ginger, but it isn’t as tasty. Ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sweet chili sauce add a sweet and sour zing. I serve it cold, but you can serve it warm if it suits you. For a main dish, add cooked protein (like grilled chicken or shrimp) at the end and toss.

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Lentil Bolognese Sauce

You know I like to cook with lower fat  for a healthier diet. Today I’m offering a vegetarian Bolognese sauce when you sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on it. If you need a vegan version, drop the cheese. Bolognese sauce is traditionally a meat sauce with tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Today’s pantry recipe replaces the meat with lentils and mushrooms. It requires lentils, mushrooms, herbs, and crushed tomatoes to make a go-to-sauce for pasta, stuffed peppers, and even lasagna.  Add a little dry red wine (or white) to the simmering sauce; the alcohol will burn off. Wine adds another note of deeper, richer flavor. This is a great inexpensive week night meal that’s ready in less than 50 minutes.

Broader pastas have been used in Italy with Bolognese sauce, but you can use the pasta of your choice. Use whole wheat pasta, gluten-free pasta, or even zucchini spirals or spaghetti squash. Feel free to adapt the recipe to meet your family’s taste. 

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My Favorite Leftover Ham Recipe: Ham Quiche

Many families will be celebrating Easter on 3/31/24 with a ham dinner. That is one of my favorite childhood memories with my mother’s baked ham on the lace tablecloth with her good china and silverware. If you like using a slow cooker, check out my Slow Cooker Ham for an easy meal which also leaves the oven available for other dishes.

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Kalamata Olive Tapenade

Today’s recipe is Kalamata Olive Tapenade with earthy, robust Kalamata olives. Tapenade is simple, quick to make, delicious and addictive. Kalamata olives are the Mediterranean diet’s best-kept secret superstar. Not only are they bursting with flavor, but they also pack a powerful punch of health benefits.

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Easter Bean & Ham Bone Soup

When I was growing up, Easter usually meant a ham dinner. Of course, I love the memories of my mother’s cooking and being with my family. I must admit most of the time when I was older and cooked Easter dinner for family, I bought a spiral sliced ham. If you are having ham on Easter or any other occasion, don’t just throw away the bone from your ham. It’s great for soup and ham broth. It’s also wonderful to add to a pot of collard greens or cabbage. You can keep the ham bone in the fridge for 5 days or freeze it for at least a few months.

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Spinach Mushroom Quiche For A Meatless Meal

Lent will be observed from February 22 to April 8 this year. It is a period of religious observance in many Christian churches marking the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert, enduring temptation by Satan. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later with the celebration of Easter. Fasting before Easter can be traced back as far as the 2nd century.

Whether you are trying to eat less meat for your health or you are looking for meatless meals for Lent, a vegetable quiche is a great meal to add to the menu. Quiches may be served hot, warm or cold. I shared an asparagus & tomato quiche several years ago with fresh spring asparagus. Then that summer I offered summer squash quiche. Today I’m sharing spinach quiche which can be made year round with frozen spinach. If using fresh baby spinach, sauté it with the onion and garlic. Frozen spinach works well. Defrost it, and then squeeze all the water out with your hands. Then press it between paper towels. If you leave any water in the spinach, your quiche can be soggy. You can also add and delete ingredients in the filling to meet your family’s needs or what’s in the pantry. I am using feta cheese and cheddar. This quiche is easy to make and is perfect for breakfast, brunch or dinner.

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