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.


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
  • 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
  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.


Mini Meatball Sandwiches

Awww, Maddox won 3rd place in the Mario Kart Tournament!!!  He beat out his age group and then advanced to the final round with all age groups.  So proud of him!!


Book Update:  Sitting in the “new books” section of the library was “Raising the Curve: A Year Inside One of America’s 45,000 Failing Schools” by Ron Berler.  The author is a journalist and did a great job telling the story of an elementary school in Connecticut that was failing per No Child Left Behind standards and despite raising the lowest level children up 10% was still considered “failing” by NCLB.  I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone and even I skipped some of the narrative story parts, but it did highlight a large educational problem:  that “mastery” was dumbed down to “proficient” and instead of challenging most kids, it focused on raising the bottom 10% up to meet standards that they may or may not be physically capable of achieving.

mini meatball sandwiches_5 on Whisk Together

Recipe Update:  I saw the Pioneer Woman make these on her show that I try not to watch.  It all seems too scripted which is funny because Lovely was just kicked off “The Next Food Network Star” because she sounded too scripted.   But I digress.  Or as my English teacher would yell:  “DIGRESSION!!!”  But anyway, these were pretty fast and yummy.  I don’t think the cooking time is right because most of my meatballs were still raw after 20 minutes.  The kids loved them.

mini meatball sandwiches_3 on Whisk Together

Mini Meatball Sandwiches
serves 6-8

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup panko or regular breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
ground pepper
1 Tb. olive oil or grapeseed oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 – 18 oz. jar of marinara sauce or your favorite spaghetti sauce
12 dollar rolls, dinner rolls or slider rolls, (I used my honey wheat rolls recipe)
1 cup mozzarella or provolone, grated

1.  In a great big bowl:  mix your meat, bread, milk, garlic, salt and pepper.
2.  I used my small tablespoon size cookie scoop to make little balls.  Or use your hands and a spoon.
3.  In a very large skillet:  heat the oil over medium heat.  When it is hot and simmering, add your onion.  Stir that around a couple minutes.
4.  Next, add in your meatballs.  Give them a turn and brown on both sides.
5.  Dump in your marinara sauce.  Cover the skillet and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Check the balls with a thermometer or fork – mine were not done after 20 minutes.
6.  Split open your rolls while those are cooking.
7.  During the last minute of cooking, add the cheese on top.  Cover and melt for a minute.  Place meatballs in rolls and serve hot.

mini meatball sandwiches_6 on Whisk Together

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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