I have made this quite a few times and it has been great every time. I never use the ham, but we don't miss it. It's good if you add a little more hot sauce to it. The last time I made it I put in the whole can of beans instead of just a cup. It was still good, but there was less sauce (from the tomato liquid), which I normally enjoy. The chicken always takes longer to cook than the recipe says, but I've found that the stuff can stay on the stove for quite some time and still turn out great.