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.