"I love cooking for my soul-mate husband Scott, our three grown boys and their families, and our wonderful neighbors," says Athena Pogue Nasmyth of Milwaukie, Oregon. "Just as important as feeding family, though, is feeding whomever feels the call to knock on our door.
"It's happened a few times. Older people maybe too proud to say they are down on their luck would ask for cans of food for the church. I understand that. I always keep a good pantry, so I'd say, 'Okay, wait just a minute,' and bring them a few things tucked in a grocery bag.
"It's been kind of tough since both my job and Scott's went overseas. Pantry raiding is a specialty in our house. It's great to use up the odds and ends and still come up with great meals, even some 'yowza' keeper recipes. There's always a silver lining.
"Although times are a little tough for Scott and me right now it's not nearly as tough as it is for so many others in both our own country and abroad. We remember that when we gather around our table with all our blessings. Our oldest son saw three Iraq tours in the Marines and our youngest two Iraq tours in the Army. Both are home safely, thankfully, thankfully.
"Our youngest is now stationed in Colorado and his two older brothers live here in Oregon. They are my heart sons—the boys have their own mom, but they are my boys, too. They are the children of my heart.
"On New Year's Eve it's just Scott and me. We like to go rent a movie and we cook all day, something easy in the oven. I love ham! You can buy an inexpensive cut of ham and it's a way to make a good family dinner and not spend a zillion dollars.
"That was a big part of the household I grew up in. Have a nice big dinner on Sunday like a roast chicken and eat off that for at least three days with nice little soups. Ham Noodles is one of our favorite leftover New Year's Ham recipes."
This is a great recipe to bring new life to leftover roasted chicken or turkey.
Combine all of the dressing ingredients and mix well. This tastes best when made a day ahead of time and then refrigerated. If you don't have time, at least make the dressing and refrigerate it while you prepare the rest of the salad.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, apples and pecans and mix gently. Fold in the cranberries. Add the dressing and mix gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to let the flavors blend.
Nutritional Information: Servings 6;
Serving Size 1 cup (237g); Calories 510; Calories from fat 270; Total fat 30g; Cholesterol 85mg; Sodium 330mg; Carbohydrate 41g; Dietary Fiber 5g.