Dessert Delight

Dessert Delight

Campfire Bean & Ham Soup

This is the best bean and ham soup you'll ever taste! Friends rave about the smoky soup that I serve hot off the grill.

1 lb. dried navy beans
2 small onions
8 cups water
4 cups fully cooked lean ham (1 1/2 lbs)
2 smoked ham hocks
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Place the beans in an ovenproof Dutch oven; add enough water to cover by 2 inc. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1-4 hours or until the beans are softened.

2. Chop one onion, slice the second onion and separate into rights. Set onions aside. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid. Return beans to the pan. Add reserved onions, stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover pan and place on grill rack over indirect medium heat.

Cover grill; cook for 1 hour or until beans are almost tender. Uncover dutch oven then cover grill and cook 30 minutes longer or until beans are tender. Discard ham hocks.

Layered Salad for a Crowd

Every time I make this salad it is such a crowd pleasure. I like to make the dressing the day before so the flavors can enhance.

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. seasoning blend
1 bunch romaine, torn
2 medium carrots, grated
1 cup chopped red onion
1 medium cucumbers, sliced
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen peas, thawed)
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1. For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, milk dill and seasoning blend.

2. In a 4 qt. clear glass serving bowl, layer the romaine, carrots, onion and cucumber (do not toss). Pour dressing over the top; sprinkle with peas, cheese and bacon. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTE: This recipe was tested with Nature's seasons Seasoning Blend by Morton., Look for it in the spice aisle.

Macaroni Salad

I fix this classic pasta salad for every summer get together. It serves a big crowd, but you can easily scale down the recipe.

2 lbs. uncooked elbow macaroni
12 hard cooked large eggs, chopped
2 1/2 fully cooked ham, cubed
1 pkg. (16.oz) frozen peas, thawed
3 cups sliced celery
1 large green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 jar (4 oz) diced pimientos, drained
4 cups mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Rinse in cold water, drain and cool completely.

2. Place in a large bowl, stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at lease 3 hours.

Summer Orzo

I'm always looking for fun ways to use the fresh veggies that are at the farmers market or grocery store. Salad is one of my favorite options, try to improvise with whatever you have on hand, so feel free to do it; you can't go wrong.

1 pkg. orzo pasta
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
24 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups (8 oz) crumbled feta cheese
1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
2 tbsp. capers, drained and chopped, optional
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. grated lemon peel
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1. Cook orzo according to package directions for al dente. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat water over medium heat. Add corn; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Add to orzo; stir in tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumber, onion, mint and if desired, capers.

In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt and pepper until blended. Pour over orzo mixture; toss. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. Just before serving, stir in almonds.

Pasta Fagioli Salad

Pasta and beans - they're classic combination in Italian cooking; savory and sweet all together. This quick pasta salad is based on that pairing. The dressing uses a basil-infused oil; look for it among the flavored and nut oils at your supper market. Best of all, the salad can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to four days; ready when you are.

8 ounces uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoon basil flavored olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (12 ounce) package frozen green beans, thawed and cut into 1 inch pieces (or you can use fresh)
1 1/4 cups diced tomato
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoon minced red onion

1. Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain

2. Combine vinegar and next 5 ingredients (through Worcestershire sauce) in a large bowl stirring with a whisk. Add pasta, beans, and remaining ingredients, Toss until coated.

Oatmeal Crusted Baked Chicken Tenders

Oatmeal crusted chicken tenders are delightfully crunchy and sure to be a hit with adults and children alike. Serve them with Roasted Red Bell pepper Aioli or commercial honey mustard or light ranch dressing for dipping.

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry thyme
1 pound chicken breast tenders
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Place oats in a food processor, and process 20 seconds or until coarsely ground. Add cheese, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pulse to combine, and place in a shallow bowl.

3. Place each chicken breast tender between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap or baggie and pound to 1/4 inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Coat both sides of tenders with cooking spray; and dredge tenders in oat mixture.  Place tenders on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake 450 degrees fro 15 minutes or until browned.


Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi with Orzo

Shrimp are a quick dinner any night of the week. They're done when they're pink and firm, in a few minutes at most. Don't overcook them, or they'll turn rubbery. Serve with roasted asparagus to round out your meal.

1 cup uncooked orzo (rice shaped pasta)
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
7 teaspoon unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
2 teaspoon bottled minced or chopped garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.

2. While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; saute 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; saute 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, lemon juice and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

Serve over Orzo with a side vegetable.

Gazpacho Panzanella Salad

This colorful salad combines the best of the classic Spanish soup, gazpacho, and the Italian bread salad, panzanella. Chop the vegetables, and toast the bread cubes ahead of time, but assemble the salad right before serving because the bread will soak up the juices and become soggy if it sits too long. If you prefer a drier panzanella, add less dressing.


4 ounces French bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Olive oil flavored cooking spray
3 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
2 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped thinly red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 3/4 cup chopped seeded cucumber


1/2 cup low sodium vegetable juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/ tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree

2. To prepare salad, arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly coat bread cubes with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once set aside.

3. Place tomatoes, chicken, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion and parsley in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.

4. To prepare dressing, combine juice and next 6 ingredients, stirring with a wish add pepper. Drizzle over salad, tossing gently to coat. Stir in bread cubes, let stand 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Roasted Tomato, Bacon & Spinach Quiche

Here is your recipe of the month created by our own executive chef, Susan Dederen.
Roasted Tomato, Bacon and Spinach Quiche
Step 1 ~ Prepare Roasted Tomatoes
Roasted Tomato Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 1/8th cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of garlic powder
Directions for Roasted Tomatoes 
  • Wash grape & yellow cherry tomatoes & place in a bowl
  • Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper & garlic powder
  • Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick foil
  • Roast in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for 15 minutes
Step 2 ~ Prep, Assemble & Bake Quiche
Quiche Ingredients
  • Ready made pie crust for 9" pie plate
  • 3/4 Cup of la Madeleine Tomato Basil Soupe
  • 3/4 Cup of half and half cream
  • 3 large beaten eggs
  • 3/4 Cup of Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • Roasted tomatoes from recipe above (cooled)
  • 2 Cups of sautéed spinach
  • 6 slices of cooked bacon crumbled
  • 1 tbsp. of fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
Directions for Quiche 
  • Thaw pie crust
  • Cover pie crust with the grated Gruyere cheese, crumbled bacon and roasted tomatoes
  • With a whisk mix together the la Madeleine Tomato Basil Soupe, half & half cream, eggs, chopped basil, salt and pepper
  • Pour custard mixture into pie shell
  • Bake 325° for 40 to 50 minutes
Finished quiche should be light golden color with the egg custard fully set.

Cobb Scramble

Healthy and delicious breakfast


6 eggs or 1 1/2 cups egg substitute
1 Hass Avocado, rinsed, pitted and peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped cooked turkey or chicken
2 slices crumbled turkey bacon, cooked crisp
1/4 cup blue cheese or feta
1/4 cup chopped green onions

In a medium bowl, beat eggs, Stir in avocado, turkey or chicke, bacon blue cheese and onions.

Coat a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium high heat. Add egg avocado mixture and scramble, stirring occasionally, until eggs are set but still moist.

Plate and top with salsa

Grilled Scallops with Asparagus and Chili-Lime Cream Sauce


1 1/2 pound large sea scallops
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper


1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 large shallot, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 6 chunks

1/ 1/2 pounds asparagus trimmed
flat leaf parsley (chopped, for garnish)

Preheat grill to medium high


In a medium blwo, combine scallops, t tablespoons olive oil, chili flakes and garlic. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir well. Marinate 30 minutes.

Sauce: in a small saucepan, combine lime juice, wine ginger and shallot.

Cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add cream and again reduce liquid by half, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat. Stir in chili sauce. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Season t taste with salt and pepper. Set aside


Drizzle 2 tablespoon olive oil over asparagus and season with salt and pepper grill until beginning to blister but still crisp. Remove to a serving pan and set aside.

Grill Scallops 2 -3 minutes per side, until golden and flesh is opaque. Do not over cook. Place scallops on asparagus and spoon sauce over. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Oven Blackened Catfish and Creamy Cheese Grits

You can use any type of fish that you like but the catfish hold up well. I've often used redfish and trout too.


4 US farm raised catfish fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil


1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup half and half
3/4 cup quick grits
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Spice Rub:

3 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spice rub: in a small bowl, combine all rub ingredients. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly brush with olive oil. Pat catfish fillets dry. Brush with olive oil. Rub both sides of fillets with spice rub. Place fillets serving side up on oiled sheet and bake 15-20 minutes or until well browned.


In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth, water and half and half to a boil over medium high heat. Gradually wish in grits. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook 5-7 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Add remaining ingredients, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly. Serve with catfish.

Lemon Chicken Francaise

I love lemons; but the funny thing is that I don't like lemon pie or lemon bars...Go figure.

This is one of my favor chicken dishes and it's so easy to make. Serve over noodles or rice.


6 fat free boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup all purpose flour
Salt and pepper
6 eggs
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
2 tablespoon grape-seed oil
1/2 cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon capers, drained (optional)
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Place chicken breast on a cutting board between sheets of plastic wrap. pound the chicken with a flat mallet until 1/4 inch thick. Place flour in a shallow pan and season with salt and ppper. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with Parmesan cheese and chives.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Dredge chicken breast in seasoned flour and then dip into the egg mixture. Add chicken to the skillet and saute 2-3 minutes on both sides, until golden brown. Continue cooking until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken from the skillet and keep warm.

Add wine and lemon juice ot the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce, scraping up any brown bits. Roll the butter in some flour and add to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium low and stir butter into the sauce.

When butter has melted and the sauce thickened slightly, add capers and parsley. Return the chicken to the skillet and gently spoon sauce over the chicken. Transfer chicken to a platter and pour the sauce over it. Serve immediately.

Tortilla Pie with Chorizo

This is a popular Mexican Breakfast dish, known as Chilaquiles, The fried tortilla strips stay crisp in the tomatillo, cream and cheese sauce.

Serves six


2 tablespoon lard or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds ground pork
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 corn tortillas, freshly made or a few days old
oil, for frying
3 cups grated Monterrey Jack or Mild Cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups creme fraiche

For the tomatillo sauce:

scant 2 cups drained canned tomatillos
4 tablespoons stock or water
2 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
small bunch of cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. heat the shortening or oil in a large pan. Add the pork and crushed garlic. Stir over medium heat until the meat has browned, then stir in the oregano, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper. Cook for 3-4 more minutes stirring constantly, then add the sherry, sugar and salt. Stir for 3-4 more minutes, until all the flavors are blended, then remove the pan from heat.

2. Cut the tortillas into 3/4 inch strips. Pour oil into frying pan to a dept of 3/4 inch and heat to 375 degree. Fry the tortilla strips in batches until crisp and golden brown all over.

3. Spread half the pork mixture in a baking dish. Top with half the tortilla strips and grated cheese, then add dollops of creme freche. Repeat the layers. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbling.

4. To make the sauce, put all the ingredients except the sour cream in the food processor or blender. Reserve a little cilantro for sprinkling. Process until smooth. Scrape into a pan, bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Stir the sour cream into the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture on top and serve immediately, sprinkle with cilantro.

Eggs Rancheros

There are many variations of this popular dish, which is great for breakfast or brunch. The Combination of creamy eggs with onions, chiles, and tomatoes work wonderfully well.

Serves four for breakfast


2 corn tortillas, served days old
oil for frying
2 fresh green jalapeno chiles
1 garlic clove
4 scallions
1 large tomato
8 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup light cream
small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut the tortillas into long strips. Pour oil into frying pan to a dept of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil until it is very hot, watching it closely.

2. Try the tortilla strips in batches for a minute or two until they are crisp and golden, turning them occasionally, then drain on paper towels.

3. Spear the chiles on a long handle metal skewer and roast them over the flame of a gas burner (or in oven) until the skin blisters and darkens. Do not let the flesh burn. Alternatively, dry fry them in a pan  until the skins are scorched. Place them in a strong plastic bag and tie the top to keep the steam in. Set aside for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, crush the garlic and shop the scallions finely. Cut a cross int he bottom of the tomato. Place it in a heatproof bowl and pour on boiling water to cover. After 3 minutes, lift the tomato out using a slotted spoon and plunge it into a bowl of cold water. Let sit for a few minutes to cool.

5. Drain the tomato, remove the skin, and cut into four pieces. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds and the core, then dice the flesh finely.

6. Remove the chiles from the bag and peel off the skin. Cut off the stems, then slit the chiles and scrape out the seeds.  Chop the flesh finely. Put the eggs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and beat lightly.

7. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and scallions and saute gently for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Stir in the diced tomato and cook for 3-4 more minutes, then stir in the chiles and cook for 1 minute.

8. Pour the eggs into the pan and stir until they start to set. When only a small amount of uncooked eggs remains visible, stir in the cream so taht the cooking process is slowed down and the misture cooks into a creamy mixture rather than a solid mass.

9. Stir in the chopped cilantro into the scrambled eggs. Arranging the tortilla strips on the four serving plates and spoon on the eggs. Serve immediately.