A Standby by any Name

When this was published in the First Baptist Church’s cookbook in 1984, I probably knew the term “quiche”.  But when I developed this recipe, I didn’t have a clue; and so, I kept the original title of Ham and Cheese Pie.


Like most of my favorite recipes, it came about for a reason — mainly to use up leftovers from the refrigerator.  This most forgiving recipe was a family favorite over the years regardless of the assortments of cheeses and the bits and pieces of leftover ham.

More than thirty years later, it is still a favorite standby.  I continue to be amazed at what all you can put in it.  Spinach is, I think, the best addition to the recipe that I’ve made over the years.


Isn’t it bewildering that a huge package of baby spinach sauteed becomes less than a cup?  I’m surprised every time!


Sauteed Shitake mushroom are also a wonderful addition.  Thirty years ago, you wouldn’t have found Shitake mushrooms at the grocery store; probably wouldn’t have found fresh baby spinach either.


And prosciutto instead of ham.  No longer a leftover creation, but you get the idea.  You can add most anything!

pie slice

Serve with fresh fruits or a green salad, and you have a delicious meal whether you call it quiche or Ham and Cheese Pie.

Forty Years of Chicken Creole

There is one thing that my ex-husband was right about and I was wrong.  Chicken Creole.  It was the early 1970’s.  He was a medical student and I was a graduate student.  We lived on my teaching assistantship; we lived on very little.  Chicken was about 25 cents a pound, so we were always looking for recipes.  He found a recipe in my aunt’s “Fairyland Cooking Magic” cookbook, copyright 1955 by Fairyland P.T.A., Lookout Mountain, Tenn.  I love my aunt’s Fairyland cookbook which I still have along with a Watkins Cook Book copyright 1943.

“I may eat the chicken, but that sauce sounds terrible.”  I ate those words along with licking the dish clean.  That began my love affair with chicken creole.

I typed the recipe on my college, portable Smith-Corona typewriter, as I did with all of my favorite recipes.  As the years went by, changes were made to the recipe.  I started using diced boneless chicken.  I wanted that sauce covering as much of the chicken as possible.  When I’m wrong, I’m really wrong.  It became a family staple.  My children were raised on chicken creole, starting with it being ground in my little baby food grinder.

In 1984 I shared the recipe in our church cookbook.  It was probably the only recipe in the Baptist cookbook with alcohol.  The amount which by the way, over the years had doubled from the original recipe.


When my children became adults, I delighted when they called wanting to know how to make chicken creole for a special occasion.  The recipe continues to evolve.  Made with fresh, ripe heirloom tomatoes, green pepper, fresh herbs and a bottle of dry white wine captures a summer garden and is my current choice.

All this talk of chicken creole and I can almost taste it right now.