Oct 092015

5 Can Bean Soup

This recipe is so easy and so good. You can make it with canned tomatoes, which are cheap and easy to find. Or if you feel very fancy you can add 1 or 2 cans of zucchini and tomatoes. Cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces before adding if desired. However you go, this is a delicious soup.

Be sure to look no-salt-added vegetables when possible. It does a great job of reducing the sodium content of this soup. If you use all low-sodium vegetables then you may add 2 or 3 bouillon cubes for salt and flavor. Additionally, if you must add meat–beef, SPAM, vienna sausages and ham would all be good choices. I leave quantities to your discretion. I prefer it to be vegetarian, as written. Fred likes SPAM in his.

Vegetarian 5-Can Bean Soup


  • 15 ounce can kidney beans
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas OR black beans
  • 15 ounce can white beans
  • 15 ounce can green beans
  • 15 ounce can tomatoes, OR, better yet, 1 or 2-cans of zucchini and tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • Salt & Black Pepper to taste


Get out a nice big pot. Open up all of your cans. Do not drain them. Add their contents to the pot. Stir in the dry onion, garlic, and basil. Heat over medium heat until the mixture simmers. Simmer for about 20 minutes and serve. Add water if the soup seems to thick. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your liking. I also like to add a dash of red pepper flakes, not enough for heat, but enough for a little extra flavor. Makes about 6 big servings. Serve with hoecakes or cornbread on the side. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast before serving for a cheesy flavor boost. Or if you eat dairy then you can sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese.

Oct 072015


A quick skillet dish that can be prepared on a propane stove, this meal gives sweet potatoes their traditional American topping–marshmallows. It’s a good way to use up marshmallows that you brought along on your camping trip to toast over the fire. I usually prepare this dish canned ham, but canned SPAM works equally well.

Ham & Yams


  • 1 pound canned ham, OR 12 ounce can of luncheon meat, sliced
  • 29 ounce can of sweet potatoes
  • Ground Cloves
  • Marshmallows (optional)


Open up the ham or SPAM, and the sweet potatoes. Pour the sweet potatoes, with all of their liquid, into a deep skillet. You may cut the potatoes into smaller chunks if desired. Arrange the sliced ham or SPAM over the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle a little bit of cloves over top of the meat. Cover the pot and simmer it over medium heat for about 15-minutes. This will heat the meat and sweet potatoes all the way through, and mingle the flavors a bit. If desired, you may arrange a few marshmallows over the sweet potatoes at this point. Cover the pot again and let it heat for a couple of minutes to melt the marshmallows.

With or without the marshmallows, this is a good hearty dish. I like to serve it with canned fried apples, and mixed greens. This makes a very nice blend of flavors. Great for Sunday Supper.

Oct 072015


This is an old recipe from the 1950’s when meat and potatoes were king. I suspect it is one of the original fall-out shelter meals. You could stock the ingredients in your bomb-shelter kitchen and cook it in your Coleman oven over an alcohol stove.

It still tastes good today and is an easy family meal to make with pantry-friendly canned goods, plus it’s gluten-free and dairy-free. I don’t know where it got its name. I assume that because of the pineapple and sweet potatoes this dish was considered somewhat exotic back in the fifties. At least if you ever stock your own bomb-shelter, you’ll have a period-appropriate meal to serve to the kiddies.

To make a complete meal, serve with Italian green beans or canned spinach and a hot bread.

South Seas Supper


  • 29 ounce can sweet potatoes, well-drained
  • 20 ounce can pineapple rings or crushed pineapple, well-drained, reserve juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or alternative of your choice
  • 12 ounce can SPAM OR 16 ounce canned ham
  • Mustard


Lightly oil an 8-inch square or round pan. Drain the pineapple juice and reserve it. Place the drained sweet potatoes in the pan and mash them with a fork. Arrange the drained pineapple attractively over the sweet potatoes, lapping as necessary. In a small saucepan combine 2 or 3 tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice, the butter and brown sugar. Heat over a low flame until bubbly. Pour this over the pineapple and sweet potatoes.

Cut the SPAM or ham into 8-thin slices. Spread a little mustard on each slice. Arrange the meat attractively over the sweet potatoes and pineapple. Bake in a hot oven, about 450° for 20 to 25 minutes. The juice should be bubbly and the meat lightly browned. Serve hot. Makes 3 to 4-servings. This one is a real family pleaser.

Note that any leftover pineapple juice may be drunk or mixed with kool-aid, lemonade or iced tea and served as your beverage with the meal.

Oct 072015

Better Lunch

This recipe uses about 1/2 of an 8-ounce jar of mayonnaise. If you don’t have refrigeration, then keep the remaining mayonnaise in a cool spot and use on sandwiches the next day. These are especially good on homemade wheat bread.

To make the sandwich filling gluten-free be sure to use gluten-free chunk ham such as Hormel. SPAM is also gluten free. Serve open-face, on rice cakes. To make the sandwiches dairy-free replace the Velveeta with 1-cup of shredded Daiya cheddar flavored dairy-free cheese. Daiya keeps well in the freezer if you happen upon a sale, or need a way to keep it for an extended period of time.

Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

  • 2 (5-ounce) cans chunk ham, or 12 ounce can SPAM, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces of minced Velveeta-type cheese (mash with a fork) or 1-cup shredded cheese
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Sliced Bread

Flake or chop the meat you are using. SPAM can be shredded on a cheese shredder if it’s well chilled. Sometimes that’s easier than chopping it. Chunk ham is easily flaked with a fork. Next mince the cheese. I cut off a 4-ounce piece of Velveeta and mash it in a bowl with a fork. I find it too tedious to chop.

Get out a medium-sized bowl. In it combine the meat, cheese, mustard and mayonnaise. Stir it up, making a nice moist filling. Spread the filling onto slices of bread. It goes on thickly. Lay the open face sandwiches on a large cookie sheet and bake them for about 15 minutes at 450°, or until the cheese melts. They cook fast so watch them closely. Top each sandwich with another slice of bread or toast and serve. This recipe makes 8 sandwiches, depending on how thickly you spread the filling. Serve with green bean salad and oatmeal cookies.

These sandwiches are good for lunch boxes too, in which case you don’t have to broil them, just pack and eat them like a normal sandwich. If you don’t have access to a broiler then you can fry the sandwiches in a skillet or on a griddle like grilled cheese sandwiches.

Oct 072015


Spaghetti Carbonara is a traditional Italian dish made with Pancetta bacon. It’s very good. This is not Carbonara, it’s Carburetor, or more commonly spelled Carberator, and is the plebeian alternative to Carbonara. My husband Fred, coined the title many years ago, and it has stuck ever since.

To make this recipe gluten-free use GF spaghetti. Hormel brand chunk ham is gluten-free according to their website, and I can attest to the quality.

I have not been successful in making this dish dairy-free. To my taste buds, dairy-free parmesan alternative just doesn’t cut it with Carburetor. Still, you may feel differently, so feel free to sub it in if you want to give it a try.

Spaghetti Carburetor


  • 8 to 12 ounces dry spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup butter or alternative of your choice
  • 5 ounce can chunk ham
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 fresh egg OR 2 tablespoons Ova Easy egg crystals combined with 3-tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, or more to taste


First prepare the spaghetti according to package direction. While it’s cooking make the sauce.

In a small saucepan melt the butter or alternative over medium heat. Flake the ham into small bits and add it to the butter along with any liquid from the can. Also add the garlic powder. Simmer the ham until it absorbs most of the butter.

Meanwhile crack the egg into a small cup and beat it well. Or combine the powdered egg and water in a small cup. Stir until smooth and set aside. Measure the cheese and set it aside too.

When the spaghetti is tender drain it well and return it to the pot. Add the ham and butter, cheese and finally the egg. Toss well with a fork until the spaghetti is evenly coated with the sauce. Add a few sprinkles of black pepper and a little dried parsley if desired. Toss again and serve at once.

Technically speaking, this recipe is supposed to feed 4-people of moderate appetites, as part of a meal. In reality I have seen a hungry mountain man, who had hiked all day in the snow, eat the entire thing in one sitting and then have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dessert. In my experience, when prepared with 12-ounces of pasta, this recipe makes enough for 2-very hungry people, as part of a meal, or 3-people of more moderate appetites. If you are serving a hungry family of 5 or 6 you will have to double it. If you are playing in the snow all day, or doing lots of outside work, it will serve 2 as part of a meal.

Make it a meal by serving garlic bread, canned spinach, pears and chocolate pudding. In this case you might get as many as 4-servings out of the whole meal.

Oct 072015

Fried Sandwich

Soup and sandwiches used to be my go-to lunch when we still ate wheat and dairy. The family always felt like they were getting a complete meal and I felt like I was doing my job by providing it for them. These sandwiches make a good meal when served with canned or homemade vegetable soup. Provide applesauce on the side to hit all of your nutritional bases.

If you are making these with pantry-friendly homemade bread, be sure not to slice the bread too thinly. Fried cheese sandwiches need the bread to be at least 1/2-inch thick so the cheese doesn’t ooze from the bread while it fries.

Grilled Ham or SPAM & Cheese Sandwiches


  • 16 ounce canned ham or 12 ounce can of SPAM
  • 4 ounces Velveeta-type cheese or canned cheese
  • 12 slices bread (approximately)
  • Mustard
  • Butter or alternative of your choice
  • Skillet or Griddle


Cut the ham or luncheon meat into thin slices. Do the same for the cheese. Spread each slice of bread lightly with yellow mustard. You may also spread the bread with a thin layer of mayonnaise if you like. Lay a slice of ham or luncheon meat and a slice of cheese on half of the slices of bread. Patch together the ham and cheese as needed to cover the entire slice of bread. Top the ham and cheese with a second slice of bread.

Heat the butter or alternative in skillet or griddle over a low flame. Butter flavored shortening is actually very good for this. Lay on the sandwiches and fry until golden brown on the underside. Flip and brown the remaining side, adding more fat as needed. Continue until all of the sandwiches have been fried a toasty, golden brown. Cut into triangles and serve. The cheese will be gooey; the ham will be hot and fragrant; the whole sandwich will be delicious.

If desired serve with vegetable or tomato soup. Yummy! Makes at least 6-sandwiches, more if you manage to slice the ham thinly.

Oct 072015

Soup and Sandwich

I buy 5-ounce cans of Hormel chunk ham in 12-pack cases from Amazon. They are cheaper there than they are at my local stores. Be sure to compare prices though. They tend to change quickly. Hormel chunk ham is gluten free, which is important to me. As far as canned ham products go, I think Hormel Chunk Ham tastes the best, hands down. I prefer the flavor and texture to that of DAK hams, but not everyone agrees with me on that point. Either type makes pretty good ham salad. Hormel chunk ham can be mashed with a fork. DAK ham is better chopped with a knife. This recipe makes a lot of ham salad, so it takes 3-cans of Hormel or an entire can of DAK for the recipe. It also requires an 8-ounce jar of mayonnaise or 3/4 to 1-cup of mayonnaise from your jar in the fridge.

Ham Salad


  • 3 (5-ounce) cans of chopped ham OR 1 (16-ounce) canned ham such as DAK
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons prepared mustard, to taste
  • 1 (8-ounce) jar mayonnaise OR 3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles or relish
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder


Open up the ham and drain off the juice. If necessary chop it into small pieces or flake it with a fork. Combine the ham and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well. Spread on rice cakes or crackers or bread. Makes about 8 sandwiches, depending on thickly you spread it. A handful of fresh sprouts makes ham salad sandwiches especially yummy.

Serve with vegetable soup for a satisfying and nutritious lunch.

If you have fresh onion, omit the onion powder and add 1/4 to 1/2-cup finely minced fresh onion instead.

Oct 072015

Canned Ham

Everyone who stores canned ham needs a good recipe for a classic baked ham. This one glazes the ham with mustard and brown sugar and gives you a pretty, golden-glazed ham as a result. The mustard seems like it would be a predominant flavor, but it merges into the background so you really only taste good ham flavor.

That said, I’ll be the first to admit that canned ham is not what it used to be. It used to be a whole piece of dense, real ham, packed in a can for easy use. It isn’t that way anymore. Now canned ham, even “premium” ham, is chunks of ham pressed together with a bit of ham-mush, all stuck together with gelatin. It tastes like real ham, but the texture is different from what it used to be. Still it’s not the worst thing in the world to eat, and my Fred, who likes every type of canned meat ever invented, loves it like a cat loves a mouse. So I buy it. I prepare it. I eat it. But to be honest (whispers) I like SPAM better. That probably says more about me than it does about canned ham.

I buy DAK canned hams at my local warehouse store. Three packs are pretty affordable. Each can weighs 16-ounces or 1-pound. One of the easiest ways to turn it into real food is to glaze it and bake it until it’s golden brown and nicely canalized. This recipe does just that.

Baked Ham


  • 1 pound can ham
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


Open the ham and drain any juices into a small baking pan or iron skillet that has been lightly greased. If desired you can score the outside of the ham in a diamond pattern. Just carve into it, about 1/4-inch deep, to make it pretty. You can even poke a few whole cloves into the center of the diamonds if you want to be really fancy. Rub the ham all over with mustard. Then press the brown sugar into the mustard with your hands. You may have to press very firmly to get it all to stick.

Bake the ham at 400° for 20 to 30 minutes. After 15-minutes remove the ham from the oven Use a spoon to scoop the pan drippings from the pan and pour them over the ham. Return the ham to the oven and continue cooking until done. Feel free to baste the ham with the pan drippings several additional times if you like. When the ham is as brown as you want it to be, it is done.

After removing the ham from the oven you may arrange a few pineapple rings attractively on top if desired. An 8-ounce can of pineapple holds 4 rings, perfect for this size ham. Makes 4 servings. Cook 2 hams together if you need to feed more people.

After baking, allow the ham to cool a little bit, to firm up enough to slice. Serve it with mashed sweet potatoes, hot green beans, cold pickled beets and spoon bread. Makes a good meal.

%d bloggers like this: