Italian Ham, Potato, and Spinach Soup

I enjoyed a delightful lunch with two friends the other day in one of their homes. It was a crisp fall day, and the host decided soup was in order. She was right.

I’d been mulling what to fix for supper, and had come up with an idea using items I already had in my freezer, refrigerator, and kitchen. Mostly I was thinking of a ham potato soup. I loved the seasonings in the soup my hostess served, so I came home and concocted my own recipe using some of the same seasonings but different ingredients.

Start by sauteeing your onion and garlic in a little bit of chicken stock or some butter, then add the rest of the stock and the potatoes. Season with sea salt and pepper, and cook until the potatoes are tender.

I highly recommend making your own stock. Cook up a chicken, debone it, and save the broth for later. For this recipe, I had several containers of broth/stock in my freezer because I had purchased chicken on sale. I cooked up a huge pot of chicken pieces, deboned and put the meat and the brother in the freezer in separate containers. This beats any broth, chicken stock, or chicken bouillion you buy in the store. No preservatives and no sodium.  It’s a win-win!

Add spinach (frozen or fresh) OR Kale, chopped, cooked (real) ham, and then add cream and more seasoning as desired.

Simmer until the vegetables are completely heated through, add some parmesan cheese on top (optional)  and serve.

There’s something about the aroma of onion and garlic mingled with chicken and ham that speaks of comfort and home. I’ve never been a fan of spinach or kale, but this soup welcomes you to the table with a delightful flair, and you won’t even know the spinach is there! Mostly it will seem like a ham potato soup.

I served it up to my man for supper. After we came home from church that evening he finished it up (an entire quart full). This one was a hit and I will be making it again.

Italian Ham, Potato, and Spinach Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 quart
Using ingredients you have in your kitchen, this soup comes together easily and quickly. It's a great way to use leftover ham after the holidays, and delightful because it will warm your bones on cold winter days.
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups diced potatoes
  • ¾ tsp. Sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ - 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1-2 cups spinach or kale (more as desired)
  • 2 cups chopped ham
  • 1-2 cups heavy cream
  • Parmasean cheese (optional)
  1. Melt butter and saute onion and garlic
  2. Add chicken stock and potatoes, and cook until the potatoes are tender
  3. Add ham and seasonings
  4. Add spinach (or kale)
  5. Add heavy cream and heat until warm
  6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top

Ham potato soup


Pumpkin Torte



It’s that time of year: pumpkins and mums, apples and spices. Time for pumpkin desserts! Dave and I were served this delightful pumpkin dessert when we visited folks in Eureka, Nevada. Marian brought it to her sister’s house for lunch, and I had to have the recipe.

It came from her family cookbook, so I don’t know who really gets the credit. She graciously gave me the recipe.

Then, of course, I had to make it.  I started by just doing the first two layers, and then put it in the refrigerator.  I was going to be out of town, so I needed to have less to do when I got back. A few days later, I did the additional top layers. It worked well for me and for my schedule.

. Both old and young alike enjoyed the dessert. I’m sure you will, too!


I forgot to take a picture before half of it was eaten!


Pumpkin Torte
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16
A pumpkin torte made in four layers - well worth the time and effort. You can make the first two layers one day and finish the rest when you're ready to serve.
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 (3.4 oz.) boxes instant vanilla pudding
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup cool whip
  • 2 cups cool whip
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp. cloves
  1. Mix Layer ONE and put into a 9 x 13-inch pan
  2. Mix Layer TWO and pour over the crust.
  3. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool
  4. Mix together Layer THREE and chill for a few minutes
  5. Then put layer three on top of baked layer
  6. Mix Layer FOUR together and spread over the top.
  7. Chill until ready to serve.

pumpkin torte

Apple Cake with Butter Sauce


photo credit:  Dori Zook

Autumn is here, and it is apple time! This recipe for apple cake brings a new flair for an apple dessert. I was introduced to this recipe when we visited in Eureka, Nevada and were invited for dinner at the home of Marian Byler. She served up this dessert and I had to have the recipe. The sauce was absolutely to die for!

apple cake

It was a hit recently when I made it and served it to friends at a cookout.

The recipe is easy to make and it appears dry before you add the apples. Never fear – once those apples are added, the moisture seeps right through. Serve it with or without the sauce – and add a dollop of ice cream if you are not counting calories.

Apple Cake with Butter Sauce
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12+
A simple, moist apple cake with a delectable butter/cream sauce for on top. Good any time of year, of course! But just what you need for an autumn dessert.
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups apples, peeled and diced
  • ½ cups chopped nuts
  • SAUCE: ½ cup butter, ½ cup cream, ¾-1 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Cream shortening and sugar
  2. Sift dry ingredients and all to the creamed mixture.
  3. Add beaten eggs, apples, and nuts.
  4. Beat until well blended.
  5. Put into a 9 x 13 pan
  6. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes
  7. SAUCE: Mix ingredients and boil for 1½ minutes. Serve over cake.

apple cake

Vegetable Pizza

vegetable pizza

Vegetable pizza is a snazzy appetizer, snack, or side dish for any event or meal. You can make your crust ahead of time or fix it that day. This recipe makes two large cookie trays, so if you don’t need that large a serving, put the rest into the freezer for a later time.

If you’re pushed for time, you can use crescent rolls or dough sheets. I like to make my own crust because I know exactly what is in it, so I am sharing this crust recipe, which comes from my sister Alice.

vegetable pizza

The vegetable pizza crust

For the toppings, you can add whatever you prefer. I use a food chopper for the cauliflower and broccoli, and a shredder for carrots. You can add onions, bacon, cucumbers, tomatoes, and/or celery. Top with shredded cheddar cheese or you can use a mozzarella cheese.

vegetable pizza

Vegetable Toppings

After the crust is baked and cooled, spread the filling over the crust. Then add your vegetables and your cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

vegetable pizza

Ready to Serve

Vegetable Pizza
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
An easy addition to a festivity or an outdoor event. Fix ahead and add your vegetables and cheese as the last, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • DOUGH:
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup margarine or butter
  • 4½ cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp. warm water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 8 oz. package softened cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. dill weed
  • ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp. onion powder (optional)
  • Toppings:
  • Chopped or shredded vegetables: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, tomato, onion
  • Shredded cheese
  1. DOUGH:
  2. Dissolve yeast and sugar in water.
  3. Beat eggs and add the rest of the ingredients to make a soft dough.
  4. Let rise for 45 minutes (if you have the time).
  5. spread or roll out onto two cookie sheets.
  6. Prick the dough.
  7. Let rise for 10 minutes, then bake
  8. Bake at 375 until light brown (about 10 minutes). Do not overbake.
  9. When cool, spread the FILLING over the crust
  10. Sprinkle vegetables - in layers- over the crust, salting cucumbers and tomatoes if you prefer
  11. Sprinkle shredded cheese over all
  12. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


vegetable pizza