Hoppin’ John with Ham

Easter is just around the corner an I’m already planning the menu.  I love holiday food and Easter dinner is just as significant as Thanksgiving dinner, in my opinion.  The dishes are different but just as delicious and often more colorful.  Green salads, fruity desserts, Mom’s Cheese Potatoes with ham.  Sidenote: we plan to share Mom’s cheese potatoes recipe with you as soon as we can get her to be more precise with the ingredients than “enough flour to make a roux.”  Ha!  Her cheese potatoes are amazing but I digress. 

I love the leftovers as much as the actual meal.  One food item we always have leftover (aside from oodles of boiled eggs) is ham.  That’s fine by me because it provides me the opportunity to make delicious dishes with this leftover ham.  Hoppin’ John is one of my favorite “leftover meals.”  Not that you have to wait until you have leftovers… this Hoppin’ John is on permanent dinner rotation at my house.  With a little veggie chopping and a quick simmer, this fast version of the Southern classic uses canned black-eyed peas, so no need to soak and slow-cook for hours.  I love a meal that tastes like it took all day when it really only took mere minutes.  ~Erin


  • 1 c. finely chopped celery
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 lb. smoked ham, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 (10 oz.) can mild Ro-Tel
  • 4 cans (15.5 oz. each) black eyed peas, undrained
  • 1 T. Creole seasoning (I used Tony Chachere’s)
  • Cooked rice, for serving (optional)

In large stock pot, sauté first four ingredients over medium heat until onions and peppers begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for another minute or two, until fragrant.

Add all other ingredients except rice and simmer on low to medium heat for approximately 15 minutes.

WW Freestyle Info.:  This recipe makes 10, 1 cup servings.  Each 1 cup serving is only 1 WW  Freestyle point (for both blue and purple plans; for green, it’s 7 points per cup).

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

If you are anything like me you are always on the lookout for shortcuts in the kitchen.  In college, I used to religiously watch Sandra Lee on the Food Network show “Semi-Homemade.”  I loved that show!  Did anyone else watch that?  Her recipes seemed doable for the novice cook I was in my college days.  Frankly, I’m still not a pro, though I do know my away around the kitchen much more so than I did back then.  What I loved about Sandra’s cooking was that she uses some tips and tricks to make her recipes faster and with fewer ingredients.  Ain’t nobody got time to make everything from scratch.  Well, sometimes I do, but not on a school night.  “From scratch” recipes are for weekends.

Speaking of school nights, my kids started back to school recently.  Aren’t they cute?  I just love first day of school pictures!


Coincidentally, I also started working full time at a new job the same week.  I haven’t worked full time in 10 years so this is going to be a big adjustment for our family.  One such adjustment is going to be with my meal-prep and weekday supper planning.

This is one of the recipes I have adapted to be semi-homemade.  Plus, it can be pre-prepped and thrown in the oven in minutes.  That’s my kind of week day supper!  Pop it in the oven and help the kids with homework while it cooks.  Meals like this are a life saver, I tell ya.  In the words of Sandra Lee, “Keep it simple, keep it smart, keep it semi-homemade.”   Couldn’t have said it better myself.  ~Erin

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole from Four Sisters Dish

  • 5-6 cups (about 6 breasts) cooked and chopped boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I boiled them.)
  • 2 cups (12 oz.) smoked or baked ham, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) jar Classico Light Alfredo
  • 3 T. Dijon mustard
  • 12 slices (about 4.25 oz) Sargento Ultra Thin Swiss cheese
  • 2 c. Progresso Garlic & Herb breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1/3 c. shredded (not grated) parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • 2 T. Land o’ Lakes Light butter, melted
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a 9”x13” casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the chopped cooked chicken and ham with the alfredo sauce and mustard; stir well.
  4. Pour half the mixture into the casserole dish; spread into an even layer.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the garlic salt and melted butter; continue to work the butter into the crumbs until it resembles wet sand.
  6. Sprinkle a ½ cup of the breadcrumb mixture over the chicken/ham mixture.
  7. Top with the remaining chicken/ham mixture, a single layer of Swiss cheese slices, and the rest of the breadcrumbs.
  8. Spray the top of the breadcrumbs lightly with cooking spray to ensure even browning.
  9. Bake until bubbly and hot, about 40-45 minutes.

WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes 8 servings. Each serving is 9 points.

Ham Salad

As much as I am in love with Walmart’s new online grocery ordering and pickup system, I have to admit that it does seem a little impersonal.  I mean, how am I going to know what’s going on in the lives of the check-out folks without that grocery line banter?  I’ve talked before about my memories of our small-town grocery store, Bay’s Grocery.  I remember our mom chatting with the butcher as he wrapped up her selections, of which one of my favorites was the ham salad.  I wish I could remember exactly what was in that ham salad, but I’ve created my own version here that is the perfect use for that left-over Easter ham.   ~Tracy

  • 2 c. finely chopped ham (trimmed of fat before chopping)
  • ¼ c. finely chopped celery
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • ¼ c. finely chopped kosher dill pickle
  • ¼ c. light miracle whip
  • 1/8 c. + 2 tsp. fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Dash salt
  • Dash pepper


    1. The best method to finely chop your ham is to use your food processor (as shown in photos), but you can easily chop by hand, it’s just a little more time consuming.
    2. After chopping your ham, celery, egg, and dill pickles, combine all ingredients and gently stir together.
    3. Cover and refrigerate to chill all ingredients together.
    4. Serve on your favorite crackers or some of your favorite toasted bread.

WW Freestyle Info: This recipe makes about 3 cups of prepared ham salad. Each 1/4 cup serving is 2 points.

Ham & Pepperoni Stromboli

This is something I make a lot on weeknights. It literally takes 5 minutes of prep, and my family devours it!  I also like to throw this together to take to get-togethers. I took it to Bunco with my teacher friends quite a bit, and everyone asked for the recipe. Make this next time you need a quick dinner or appetizer.  It’s family-friendly and always a crowd-pleaser!  ͂ Erin



  • Refrigerated pizza crust (I use Pillsbury Thin Crust)
  • 12 slices thin deli ham
  • 25 slices turkey pepperoni
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (I use Kraft 2%)
  • 1 T. Italian Seasoning (plus more for the outside of the crust)
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder, optional
  • 1 egg white
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Pizza sauce or Ranch dressing, for dipping


Preheat oven to 425°F.  Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Unroll the pizza dough on the sheet pan.  Arrange the ham in a single layer across the crust, then spread the pepperoni over the ham.  Top with shredded mozzarella and sprinkle the Italian seasoning across the cheese.

Roll the stromboli and place, seam side down, in the center of the pan, tucking the ends of the roll under.  Brush the outside of the dough with egg whites and sprinkle lightly with Italian seasoning.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Slice into 6 pieces and serve with pizza sauce and/or Ranch dressing.

WW Freestyle Info.:  6 servings at 7 points per serving, not counting dipping sauces.

Hawaiian Ham Kabobs


Mom gets all the credit for this recipe.  These Hawaiian Ham Kabobs are a great quick, weeknight meal.  With a little rough chopping, you can have these all skewered and thrown on the grill in no time.  The glaze is the same glaze Mom has put on our holiday ham for as long as I can remember.  It’s the perfect sweet & tangy addition to the ham, onions, peppers, and pineapple combo.  Mmmm, grilled pineapple…need I say more?!



  • 1 lb. fully cooked ham (ham steak or a half ham works – not the spiral sliced kind)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 med. white onion
  • 2 c. fresh pineapple
  • 3 T. packed brown sugar
  • 3 T. yellow mustard
  • 1 T. water
  • 8 grill-safe skewers
  • One basting brush


Spray your outdoor grill with cooking spray and bring to medium heat.

Cut the ham into 1 inch cubes; set aside.

Cube pineapple into approximately one-inch pieces.  Peppers and onions should be cut into about one-inch squares as well.  Grilling tip: Avoid making onion chunks too thin – no thinner than a half inch or so, as they’ll cook too fast.

Build your kabobs by layering the veggies, pineapple, and 2 oz. of ham on each skewer.

Place the kabobs on the preheated grill and close the lid.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until veggies start to get brown marks, flip and grill the other side about 5 more minutes.  Meanwhile, make the glaze.

To make the glaze, stir together brown sugar, mustard, and water until well combined.

Brush all sides of the kabobs and cook for a few more minutes on each side to caramelize the glaze.

Serve immediately.

WW Freestyle Info: This recipe makes 8 kabobs.  Each kabob is 4 points.