Part Two: Waste Not, Want Not – A Week of No-Shop, Quick Comfort Meals!

Posted on Jan 9 2015 - 6:23pm by Brenda Meehan

Ham and Potatoes are a classic combo and family favorite featured throughout the holidays. When served in big batches for Christmas or New Years, leftovers are likely! What to do? Whip up warm Potato Soup with a secret ingredient…and prep a must-have pasta with asparagus and a hint of mustard dill cream sauce! Both of these recipes are personal heart-warmers that have been in our family for years.

You’ll never guess the easy to find favorite that makes up the secret ingredient to this tasty comforting soup. It’s easy to make a big pot for the week, and is a comforting meal for the winter. The kids would eat bowls of it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when Gramma would come for the holidays!



– 10 to 15 “older” potatoes (we find they taste better)…peeled and quartered
– 16 oz chicken broth
– water
– 1 large white onion, quartered
– two cups or so of milk, depending on the consistency you prefer
 8 oz of french onion chip dip (The “secret” ingredient)
– 12 oz container of sour cream
– garlic powder, salt & pepper, to taste

**Optional garnishes: bacon crumbles, cheddar cheese, green onions or chives


1. Peel and quarter potatoes and onion.
2. Place potatoes & onion into large stockpot, and pour in chicken broth.
3. Add water (with additional salt) until mixture is just covered.
4. Bring to a boil, stirring often…then reduce heat to simmer.
5. When potatoes are cooked thru, and the cooking liquid has been absorbed…carefully mash mixture in pot, or use hand held blender to mix gently.
6. Add onion chip dip, sour cream, and milk slowly until it’s as thick, creamy, etc as desired. Gramma used more chip dip, you can use less…but it is crucial to use SOME to get it to taste right. Warm back up on low heat, as to not curdle.
** I use a little salt & pepper to taste…you can add bacon crumbles, some chopped green onion, and cheddar cheese…and it’s absolutely delicious.


Have a plan for all that ham? A few behind the scenes details: When moving here to marry Chris in 1994, my mother started a mother-daughter tradition by mailing me my cherished “Milk Calendar” that I could no longer receive while living in the states. When she passed on, my father took over the yearly task, and when we lost him a few years later…my sister Bev stepped up to the plate. When I got my Milk calendar package from my sister this year, it brought me to tears of joy. I’m so thankful that she has carried on this thoughtful tradition for me. Back in 1995…this recipe was featured and immediately became a beloved recipe that our entire crew adores. Check out decades of delicious dairy recipes from the Canadian Milk Calendar HERE!

Milk Calendar “Inspired”  Pasta with Ham and Asparagus:


1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup  unsalted butter, or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of hot red chili flakes
1 cup low-fat or fat free half and half
1 tsp grated lemon zest (or a touch of white wine for tang)
3/4 lb cooked ham, cut into strips
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb spaghetti or fettuccine
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill, or dried dill you have on hand
Shredded parmesan cheese
**For a “saucier” option…we like to add a cup of chicken broth with a tablespoon of flour to thicken. 



Cut asparagus into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces. Reserve. For the sauce, melt butter or add olive oil to a large skillet. Add garlic and hot chili flakes. Cook gently, without browning, for 3 to 5 min until garlic is tender and fragrant. Add cream and lemon or wine. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce cream mixture until slightly thickened.

Add ham and asparagus, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir well and remove from heat. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until just tender but firm (al dente). Drain pasta well. Toss with sauce , parmesan, and dill.

 Leftovers get a makeover, and the family gets much loved meals for the week. Simple and savory solutions that can’t be beat. BE sure to share how you’re giving your leftovers a facelift, so we can all add to our recipe boxes!