Simply Homemade Ham and Bean Soup

Ham Soup

Good morning!

If you notice on the homepage – I have a new Twitter account!  It is @ThisIsMaryEllen and will include more Educational items that I am learning in my graduate classes and using in my classroom.  Graduate school was SO much easier before kids, house and a full-time job!!!  If you are thinking of going after college and can figure something out financially, just DO it because it is ten times harder later to take those classes.  Mizzou is pretty rigorous though and there are easier programs out there.  But if they are so much easier, do you learn as much?  Probably not.

Lesson Learned this week:  So, I spent $36 to have my transcript reviewed by the Missouri Department of Education.  I am enrolled in 9 credit hours now and planned to do 6 hours in the summer.  But!  The transcript review says I only need THREE more hours this summer instead of SIX to be certified Gifted K-12!!!  Happy Dance!!!  Because that $36 saved me over $1000 this summer!  And the moral of the story is: sometimes it pays to spend a little money up front.

Recipe

This past week I was making ham and bean soups to find something simple and delicious.  Most of us will have some leftover ham next weekend, right?  And sometimes there isn’t enough for everyone to get a second meal out of it.  Or, you are just tired of plain ham.  So, make this soup instead!  It is filling, healthy and delicious.

Freezer friendly if you want to make a big batch, too!  So if you are worried about buying too big of a ham this week – don’t worry, this recipe has got you covered!

Simply Homemade Ham and Bean Soup
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 and 1/3 cups dried Northern Beans (soaked overnight) or 2 cans (15oz.) or 4 cups cooked
  • water if using dried beans
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery (or 1/2 cup; I like a lot of celery)
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 2 teaspoons or cloves of minced garlic
  • 5 cups chicken broth (low sodium is what we use)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 cups chopped ham, 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon white or black ground pepper
Instructions
  1. First, if you are using dried beans, I soak them overnight. Then, I add them to my Instant pot and cover with water until the water just barely covers all of the beans. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes and let sit for 10 minutes before releasing the pressure. Drain and use. If you are using canned beans, then simply drain and rinse them. Set aside.
  2. Into a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the chopped carrots, celery and onion. I like to chop these in my mini electric chopper – so must faster!
  3. Once the vegetables are soft and onion starting to become translucent, add the garlic. Cook 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken broth. I do not like my soup too soupy. Feel free to adjust the amount of broth to how thick or thin you want your soup.
  5. Add mustard powder, ham, beans and pepper.
  6. Cook about 30 minutes on medium heat or until it has simmered for at least 15 minutes. You can let your soup simmer for much longer if you like. I would advise putting the beans in 15 minutes or so before serving because the beans are already cooked and you don’t want to cook them again.

 

Crockpot Lentil Soup

Detox Lentil Soup

What’s so awesome about lentils?

Lentils are cheap.

Lentils can be stored a long time because they are dried.

Lentils are a great source of potassium, calcium, niacin, zinc and Vitamin K.

Lentils are rich in fiber and lean protein.

Lentils are a super food!  We love our super foods here on Whisk Together!  🙂

Lentils are like chicken… they take on the flavor of whatever ingredients they are cooked with.

Detox Lentil Soup 3

 

This soup is great for those of you trying to lose weight!  Lots of protein, fiber and veggies.  Or trying to maintain weight.  Or just need a nice warm bowl of soup.  It is a nice blank canvas for anything you would like to add to it.  Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, lemon infused grapeseed or olive oil, red wine vinegar, etc. all taste great as a finishing touch.  If you are trying to add a “Meatless Monday” to the dinner menu, this soup would definitely fit the bill!  Simply add a side salad or whole grain bread.

Detox Lentil Soup 2

To keep the week going smoothly, I try to get a few things done on Sunday.  One of those is making a big batch of soup and one large bowl of salad.  That way I always have something to grab for lunch or a back up for dinner.  Especially since these soups and most of my salads don’t contain meat or dairy mixed in, then I don’t feel like it is going to turn bad in 6-7 days.

Crockpot Lentil Soup
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chopped butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (peeled and cut into 1/2″ silces)
  • 2 cups chopped potatoes (Yukon Gold works well) or sweet potatoes (peel if you prefer and chop into 1/2″ cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced (more garlic for more garlic flavor)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup dried green lentils
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach or kale chopped into 1″ pieces, optional
  • 1 lemon, squeeze the juice into the soup
  • Optional garnishes: fresh parsley, dried parsley, Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Into a large slow cooker, add all of the ingredients from butternut squash through ground pepper.
  2. Cook on high 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
  3. Add baby spinach and squeeze lemon juice into soup. Allow to wilt about 5 minutes.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste! I added quite a bit of salt and pepper. I also added Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute because it tastes great on everything.
  5. Add 1-2 cups of additional broth for a thinner soup. I like my soups on the thick side.
  6. Serve warm and enjoy.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Grace and Salt[br]http://graceandsalt.net/lentil-vegetable-crockpot-soup/

 

 

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup & Thanksgiving Menu

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup on Whisk Together-5457

 

Thanksgiving is here! Here is the Menu:

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Gravy-4501 on Whisk Together

One, We will be making this turkey again.  It is the best and we just can’t change it.  I have started roasting it in an oven bag, too.  It doesn’t get the skin as crispy, but no one here eats the skin that much anyway.  Make this turkey!  Need help with the gravy?  Here’s a great recipe that will ease your mind.  You can even make it and store it in the fridge the night before!  Just use the gravy portion of the recipe on the stovetop and do not use as much broth.

Two, we will have mashed potatoes.  A bag of russets, milk, butter, salt and pepper… there really is no recipe.

sweet potato casseroleCR

Three, my favorite side dish of all time:  Sweet Potato Casserole with Apple Cinnamon Topping.

Honey Wheat Rolls

Four, Honey Wheat Rolls.  You can substitute all purpose flour for bread flour.  Yes, you can bake them, cool them and freeze them for Thanksgiving.  Just set them out the night before to thaw on the counter.  Easier than going to the store!  (And tastier… and fewer ingredients…)

Apple Butter_2 on Whisk Together

Five:  To go on the rolls — Whole Apple Butter.  This is a new one I have not posted.  It is my Slow Cooker Apple Butter.  Instead of chopping the apples and discarding the core, I kept most of the core in the slow cooker for the apple butter.  Then, everything was pureed in the vitamix blender and turned into apple butter.  (I took some seeds out first because we don’t want to give anyone cyanide poisoning, do we?)

Dutch Apple Pie_1

Six:  Pie!!  Spicy Pumpkin, Dutch Apple and Cherry Blueberry Pie are our favorites.  Because you have to have pie.  Or pi.  Don’t want pie?  Make Caramel Apple Pie Bars instead!

Cranberry Orange Bread_3CR

Seven:  Cranberry Orange Bread – a quick yummy sweet bread that can also be frozen.

Bacon Wrapped Crackers_2 on Whisk Together

Eight:  BEST APPETIZER EVER: Bacon Wrapper Crackers.  We make these every holiday.  They take little prep time.  Taste amazing.  And you can keep them hot in the oven for quite a while as the guests arrive.  Just pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes or so.  Turn down the heat to 250 degrees to keep warm.  We kept them warm for about 20-30 minutes or so.
I know apps are served first, however I always make these last and always if I am the host.  I don’t want to use up someone else’s oven.  They can’t be prepped much ahead of time.  That’s okay.  They are sooo worth it.
Also, I have noticed a lot of Aldi’s crackers are not anything like the name brand.  The club crackers that I purchased don’t look, taste or snap like the Keebler brand.  I would recommend spending the extra 50 cents on the Keebler ones for this recipe because they won’t crumble in your hands when you wrap the bacon around them.  I never had this problem until I used the Aldi brand.  The same thing happened with the Aldi “Triscuits” too.

Apple Raisin Dressing_3 on Whisk Together

Nine, Apple Raisin Dressing.  Everyday ingredients.  And I use up whatever bread ends from loaves or loaves of bread that are accidentally squished in the deep freeze.  My favorite I have found so far that didn’t the chemicals from the box.

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup on Whisk Together-5460

 

Recipe:  But until that Thanksgiving Thursday comes, I still have to feed my family!  So here is a super simple and easy recipe that required little to prep and clean up.  The soup is ready in 10 minutes if made in the Vitamex blender.  It will take about 20-30 minutes in the pot on the stovetop.

Have too little time?  Have everything prepped in the fridge ready to go!  Or make and freeze for later.

I liked this soup because it was easy and delicious.  Everything is wholesome and fresh.

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup on Whisk Together-5464

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup & Thanksgiving Menu
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1/4 onion, peeled
  • 1/2 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 sweet potato, baked
  • 1/2 apple, seeds or no seeds
  • 1 carrot, cut into four pieces (or 5 baby carrots)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. For a Blender: In the microwave, cook the onion and oil together for about five minutes. Stir once or twice.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients into the blender.
  3. Turn the machine on 1. Work the blender up to maximum 10 and blend for 5-6 minutes. The soup will steam when finished. Salt and pepper to taste
  4. For No Blender: in a medium pot or Dutch oven, cook the onion and oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add a diced apple and carrots. Saute another 8-10 minutes.
  6. Add the baked sweet potato (or add one raw with the apple and carrots finely diced). Add the broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Blend in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Vitamix

 

 

Beef and Vegetable Stew

Beef and Vegetable Stew on Whisk Together

 

Book:  I started reading “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr.  It is one of those books on Amazon with 5000 reviews.  Scratch that – it now has over 8,000 reviews with almost 5 stars!

Beef and Vegetable Stew-1 on Whisk Together

Recipe:  This recipe is a healthier version of beef stew from America’s Test Kitchen.  Adding a lot of extra vegetables to the recipe decreases the calories by 300 and 16 grams of fat for a typical beef stew recipe.  Nobody turns down vegetables simmering in meat and broth!  It almost makes vegetables actually taste good 🙂  Kidding.  This was very tasty and delicious comfort food.  Of course leftovers were really good, too.  I like how America’s Test Kitchen builds the flavors one on top of the other and adds them at the right time so that your potatoes and carrots do not turn to mush from overcooking.

This recipe could be created in the slow cooker if you choose.   I find the oven and Dutch Oven  are easier for me right now, but feel free to cook it on Low for 7-8 hours or on High for 3-4 hours.

One big deal about this recipe I must add:  I do NOT like mushrooms.  I cannot stand the texture or taste of mushrooms in any form.  BUT, I do like them in this dish.  Nobody, not even the kids, noticed that I substituted some mushrooms for beef. The mushrooms really take on a nice beefy flavor.

Beef and Vegetable Stew
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. beef stew meat, or beef chuck roast in 1.5″ chunks
  • salt and epper
  • 5 tsp. olive or canola oil
  • 1 (6 oz.) medium portobello cap or baby bella mushrooms, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tb. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3 Tb. flour
  • 1 Tb. tomato paste
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dry red wine (or beef broth)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium)
  • 2 cups beef broth (I use low sodium)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 oz. (2-3) red potatoes, 1″ pieces
  • 4 carrots, peeled, halved and 1″ thick
  • 4 parsnips, peeled, halved and 1″ thick (or substitute carrots)
  • 1 lb. kale, remove stems and cut 1/2″ thick
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the dutch oven to medium- high with some oil. Brown the stew meat for about 5-10 minutes. You need to do this in batches. Add oil as needed. Set aside.
  4. Once all the meat is browned (not necessarily cooked through) and removed, add mushrooms. Cover with lid. Turn heat down to medium and cook 5 minutes. Take the lid off and cook another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Add onions with 1 Tb. oil. Cook 5 minutes.
  6. Add garlic. Cook 30 seconds.
  7. Add flour and tomato paste. Cook 1 minute.
  8. Add wine slowly. Whisk to combine and scrape the bottom of the Dutch oven while adding.
  9. Add broths slowly.
  10. Put the lid on and the whole thing in the oven for 90 minutes.
  11. Remove lid and add potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Cook 60 minutes.
  12. Remove lid and add kale. Cook 10 minutes.
  13. Remove Dutch oven from the oven and add peas and parsley. Add lid back on for 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.
Notes
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen “Healthy Family Cookbook”

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen “Healthy Family Cookbook”

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice on Whisk Together

TED Talks “Math Class Needs a Makeover”:  I always find these TED talks sooooo mind-bendingly interesting.  This one is my new latest favorite.  Dan Meyer speaks to the audience about the backwards way students are presented with problems.  His premise is that the math problems in textbooks are nothing like real life.  No one in real life asks you a series of small questions to get the real answer they want.  No one in real life is going to label your items neatly “A”, “B”, and “C”.  Instead, he proposes that students receive only the basic picture and the last question – what the person really wants to know.  From that information, students need to work to figure out what steps they need to take in order to formulate the final answer.  (It sounds more complicated than it really is.)  Here is the link if you are interested. 

Recipe:  I made this recipe to go with the Steak and Broccoli Stir Fry posted yesterday.  If only cauliflower was as cheap as rice and spaghetti squash as cheap as pasta!  Oh what a wonderful world that would be 🙂  I should just get off my butt and grow my own I guess….

Well, anyway, this recipe was awesome and no one really cared or noticed that cauliflower was substituted for rice.  The soy sauce pretty much covers up all flavor profiles anyway.  Due to running out of soy sauce, I used Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki sauce instead.  The main ingredient is soy sauce, so it does make a great substitute if you have that instead.  Someone asked at the dinner table, “What’s it really called?”  They still didn’t believe me.  Of course, we were also joking around and I kept calling it Island “So-Yucky” sauce.

flyer-islandsoyaki(photo credit:  Trader Joe’s)

Anything related to the bathroom or yuck brings forth immense giggling in the under age 10 set.  Sigh.

Cauliflower Fried Rice_2 on Whisk Together

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower or 24 oz. bag of fresh or frozen cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 Tb. sesame oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 scallions, chopped and keep the greens separate from the white
  • 3 Tb. soy sauce (use less or more to your tastes)

Instructions

  1. In your food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it is the size of grains of rice. Do not simply turn it on and let it run, or the cauliflower will be mush. You will need to do this in 2-3 batches and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 Tb. sesame oil on medium heat. Add egg and scramble. Cook until cooked through (firm). Set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the sesame oil (1/2 Tb) to the skillet. Cook the onion for 2 minutes. Add the peas and carrots and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic and white scallion and cook 30 seconds.
  4. Turn up the heat to medium high and add the cauliflower and cook with the lid on for about 7-8 minutes. You will need to stir it quite often.
  5. Add the egg back in and add the soy sauce. Stir until heated through. Take the skillet off the stove and sprinkle the top with the green scallions. Serve warm with extra soy sauce.
  6. Recipe from Skinnytaste
http://www.whisktogether.com/2015/02/10/cauliflower-fried-rice/

Cauliflower Fried Rice
serves 4-6

1 head of cauliflower or 24 oz. bag of fresh or frozen cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tb. sesame oil
2 eggs
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-5 scallions, chopped and keep the greens separate from the white
3 Tb. soy sauce (use less or more to your tastes)

In your food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it is the size of grains of rice.  Do not simply turn it on and let it run, or the cauliflower will be mush.  You will need to do this in 2-3 batches and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 1/2 Tb. sesame oil on medium heat.  Add egg and scramble.  Cook until cooked through (firm).  Set aside.
Add the rest of the sesame oil (1/2 Tb) to the skillet.  Cook the onion for 2 minutes.  Add the peas and carrots and cook 5 minutes.  Add garlic and white scallion and cook 30 seconds.
Turn up the heat to medium high and add the cauliflower and cook with the lid on for about 7-8 minutes.  You will need to stir it quite often.
Add the egg back in and add the soy sauce.  Stir until heated through.  Take the skillet off the stove and sprinkle the top with the green scallions.

Recipe from Skinnytaste

White Bean Soup

White Bean Soup 2 on Whisk Together

**Recipe Update on Bacon Wrapped Crackers**  After a thorough study of these addictive things, I have found a few ways to make them good and bad.  One, use a thin cut bacon.  The thick cut gets mushy instead of crispy and turns the appetizer to mush.  Two, use center cut bacon if possible.  Again, the excess fat around the crackers turns the appetizer to mush.  The center cut did the best!

I hope everyone had a fabulous and Merry Christmas!  Since we bought the new house this year, we didn’t get much for each other.  So, no new startling news in regards to presents.  I’m sorry we missed services because the kids had a fever the day before.  It broke before Christmas Eve…. but they say to keep kids away for 24 hours and we stayed home with the “Muppets’ Christmas Carol.”

Recipe:    The hubby wasn’t a big fan of Alton Brown’s “Christmas Eve Soup” aka “Sausage and Bean Soup”  that I made a few years ago.  This year I tried America’s Test Kitchen’s Recipe and EVERYone loved it.  So, here is the recipe!  Plus I got to use up all that kale I received in the produce co-op box.  Always a plus and handy to have a recipe since kale comes in such large bunches.  Kale – as we have been all told – is the king of super foods with a whole host of vitamins and nutrients.  Ironically, uncooked is better in cancer studies, but cooked is better in cholesterol studies.

Well, the main thing is eat it how you like it and like many vegetables packed with nutrients don’t use too much water.  The water-soluble nutrients will leach out into the water.  Since I learned that 7 years ago, I have been steaming or roasting almost everything.  Except for soup – because you are drinking the vitamin packed water anyway in the soup, you are getting the nutrients.  So, go and make some nutrient packed soup!

White Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. pancetta or bacon, chopped fine
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped fine
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lb. dry cannelini or Great Northern beans, have been soaked overnight for 8-12 hours
  • 2 bay leavse
  • 1 (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 bunch kale or collard greens, 1" pieces and trimmed of stems (I used a little more than 1/2)
  • 2 carrots, 1/2" pieces
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Put the rack on low to -middle.
  2. In a dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat about 8 minutes.
  3. Add onion and celery and cook 12-15 minutes.
  4. Add minced garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  5. Add broth, water, beans and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and put into the oven for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven. Add tomatoes, kale and carrots. Cover with a lid and put into the oven another 30-45 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven. Add the sprig of rosemary. Cover again and just let it sit out. Serve with garlic toast or some beer bread.
  8. Recipe slightly adapted from America's Test Kitchen "Soups and Stews"
http://www.whisktogether.com/2014/12/26/white-bean-soup/

White Bean Soup
serves 8-10
**USES BEANS SOAKED OVERNIGHT**

6 oz. pancetta or bacon, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
8 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 lb. dry cannelini or Great Northern beans, have been soaked overnight for 8-12 hours
2 bay leavse
1 (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1/2 bunch kale or collard greens, 1″ pieces and trimmed of stems (I used a little more than 1/2)
2 carrots, 1/2″ pieces
1 sprig rosemary

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Put the rack on low to -middle.
In a dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat about 8 minutes.
Add onion and celery and cook 12-15 minutes.
Add minced garlic and cook 30 seconds.
Add broth, water, beans and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Cover with a lid and put into the oven for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven.  Add tomatoes, kale and carrots.  Cover with a lid and put into the oven another 30-45 minutes.
Remove from the oven.  Add the sprig of rosemary.  Cover again and just let it sit out.  Serve with garlic toast or some beer bread.

Recipe slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “Soups and Stews”

 

 

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