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Soups & Salads

My husband was really happy whenever I made this dressing.  It is the first time I have made it but when we go out to restaurants, he orders it often.  He loved this recipe. It was so funny.  I stopped and bought some peppercorns and then stopped by my husband’s office to ask him what to use to grind them. We usually use a coffee grinder, which we use just for herbs and it does work well.  I said I wish I had a mortar and pestle.  He said, “I have one in my truck!”  I couldn’t believe it.  He said he just bought it at a yard sale, new in the box.  It was an awesome day.  It’s funny how you try to bless someone with something good and they bless you right back.  It makes my heart smile.  This dressing made my husband smile!  Hopefully, it will make your family smile too!


2 cups Hellmann’s mayo

1 cup sour cream

1 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. ground peppercorns

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. hot sauce

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 cup buttermilk


Combine all the ingredients together.  Chill and serve.  This makes a large amount of dressing.  You can easily half the recipe.  I served it over lettuce wedges topped with cheese.  It was delicious!

Peppercorn Ranch Dressing on a Lettuce Wedge


This is a great recipe for pasta salad.  It is just as good the next day, if not better!


1 box of pasta

1/2 -2/3 bottle Zesty Italian dressing

1 can black olives, drained and sliced

3 celery stalks and leaves, chopped

1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1-8 ounce block of cheese, diced

1/3 pound pepperoni, chopped

1 Tbsp. basil

1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning


-Cook pasta according to package, drain and rinse with cold water.

-In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients.

-Mix and serve.

Pasta Salad

Adam loves hot German potato salad and I have not made it in years. He was happy.

12 medium potatoes, cubed and boiled
6 hard boiled eggs
1 onion, diced
chopped parsley (optional)
1 pound of bacon
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 cups water

-In a large bowl, add potatoes.
-Slice hard boiled eggs. Add to potatoes.
-For the dressing:

      Fry the bacon in a skillet. Crumble and place on potatoes.
      To the bacon grease, add onion and saute.
      Add sugar with salt and cornstarch to onion mixture.
      Add beaten egg, vinegar and water to onion mixture.
      Cook to desired thickness.
      Pour over potato mixture.
      Stir gently.
      Serve warm.

    Hot German Potatoe Salad

    I love cold chicken salad and that is what I usually make, but this winter I tried making a warm chicken salad and my family loved it.

    2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
    2 cups celery, diced
    1 tsp. onion powder
    1 cup mayo
    1/2 tsp. lemon juice
    2 cups shredded cheddar or cheddar jack cheese, divided
    1 cup potato chips, crushed

    -Spray nonstick cooking spray in a 9 x 13 pan.
    -Mix chicken, celery, onion, mayo, lemon juice and 1 cup of cheese in a greased 9 x 13 pan.
    -Top with remaining cheese and chips.
    -Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly.

    Warm Chicken Salad

    We found this recipe online and of course completely changed it to our tastes. I think the leftovers were better the next day. This dish is very different in different parts of Italy. It was considered a poor person’s meal because you added what you had on hand and cheap beans were a great substitute for meat. Feel free to add different ingredients or remove the ones you don’t like from this hearty Italian dish.

    2 Tbsp. olive oil
    1 chicken breast, diced
    2 celery stalks, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    2 Tbsp. minced garlic
    1 Tbsp. dried parsley
    2 tsp. Italian seasoning
    1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
    32 oz. water
    3 Tbsp. chicken base
    2 – 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
    1 – 8 oz can tomato paste
    1/2 lb. short cut pasta
    2 – 15 oz cans of white beans
    Aged Parmesan cheese

    Over medium heat cook chicken in olive oil. Add onions and celery and saute for a few minutes. Add parsley, garlic, cayenne, and Italian seasoning and continue to saute until onions become translucent. Add water, tomatoes, chicken base, tomato paste, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes. Add pasta and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Drain and rinse beans and add them to the soup. Ladle into bowls and add grated Parmesan to the top and serve with garlic bread. Enjoy!

    Pasta Fagioli

    This is a great salad! The recipe comes from Holly’s cookbook.

    1 medium onion, diced (If you don’t like onion, you can omit.)
    1 head broccoli, chopped
    1 head cauliflower, chopped
    1 cup shredded cheese (I used more because we love cheese.)
    1/2 pound bacon, crumbled

    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup Hellmann’s mayo
    1/2 cup Miracle Whip
    2 Tbsp. vinegar

    Mix dressing together and pour over salad. Serve.

    Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad

    This is an excellent recipe for Irish soup.  It uses lots of potatoes (of course), onions, chicken and bacon.  It is a meal in itself.  The boys love Irish tea cake so I made them one for dessert.  Yum!  I made some soup and cake for my neighbors and they really enjoyed it.  As the Irish say, “It’ll be grand!”


    12 ounces bacon, uncooked, chopped

    2 pounds chicken breasts (about 3 breasts), uncooked, diced

    1/4 cup butter

    5 cups onions, diced

    5 cups potatoes, diced

    4 cups whole milk

    4 cups chicken stock

    1 cup heavy cream

    salt and pepper to taste

    2 Tbsp. parsley



    In a heavy stockpot, fry bacon and chicken for 10-15 minutes.  It will produce quite a bit of liquid from the chicken.  I cooked it until most of it was gone.  Add butter, onions and potatoes.  Cook for 15 minutes, stirring fairly constantly.  Add chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Don’t add much salt because the bacon is salty.  Blend in cream and simmer for 5 more minutes.  Stir in parsley and serve.


    Warm and Hearty Irish Soup

    This is a delicious and hearty meal and makes enough for several meals.  I froze a batch to have again soon!  I love the combinations of different meats (chicken, pork, and beef) in this stew.  I can’t wait to have it again.  It is a traditional Southern dish but I had never made it before.  I will be making this again soon!


    1 Tbsp. olive oil

    1 cup onions, chopped

    2 stalks celery, chopped

    1 1/2 pounds ground pork

    1 1/2 pounds ground beef

    1 (3  pound) whole cooked chicken, deboned and shredded

    3 cans (14.5 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped

    1 cup ketchup

    1/2 cup hickory flavored barbecue sauce

    salt and pepper to taste

    hot sauce to taste (optional)

    1 green bell pepper (You will remove this at the end of cooking)

    3 (14.75 ounce) cans corn  (Most traditional recipes use cream style corn, but my husband doesn’t like it so I used regular.)



    Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute onions and celery until soft.  Mix in the pork and beef and cook until browned.  DO NOT drain. Transfer this mixture to a large stockpot over low heat.  Stir in the shredded chicken, tomatoes and their liquid, ketchup and barbecue sauce.  Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce.  Place a whole green pepper into the mixture (you will remove this at the end).  Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 hours, or until thickened.  Stir the corn into the stew mixture.  Continue cooking for 1 hour or until desired consistency.  Remove the green pepper and discard.  Serve stew.

    Brunswick Stew

    I have made chicken salad many times, but I have never made it using smoked chicken.  It turned out great!  We smoked the chicken in the smoker and finished it in the oven.  If you do not have a smoker, you can still use this recipe for chicken salad.


    10 cups chicken, smoked and cubed

    2 cups celery, diced

    2 cups miracle whip

    1 cup Hellmann’s mayo

    2 cups grapes, halved



    Mix ingredients together and serve.


    Smoked Chicken Salad over a bed of spinach and tomatoes

    My boys are always asking for Asian food.  This is a great new recipe that the boys really like.


    2 celery stalks, chopped

    1 onion, chopped

    1 Tbsp. minced garlic

    1 Tbsp. olive oil

    10 cups water

    2 cups chopped cabbage (or coleslaw mix)

    10 cups water

    2 tsp. parsley

    dash of cayenne pepper

    3 packages pork ramen noodles (or whatever you prefer)

    2 cups cubed pork

    1 Tbsp. soy sauce

    1 Tbsp. chicken bouillon



    In a large saucepan, sauté onion, celery, pork and garlic in olive oil until pork is cooked.   Stir in water, cabbage, parsley, cayenne, soy sauce and bouillon.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Coarsely crush the noodles.  Add the noodles with the contents of the seasoning packets to the soup.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 3 minutes.

    Asian Pork Noodle Soup