Archives

Recipe: Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

 

I have said it many times before but I LOVE my slow cooker (or crock pot, whichever you call it). It is a huge help on busy days, tired days, or days I just don’t want to think about prepping dinner at 4:00 PM. As a home school mom, the slow cooker really helps me be able to focus my efforts on school and not feel rushed to plan out work in the afternoon and fit in dinner prep. I often find myself searching online for a slow cooker version of a favorite meal; it is pretty safe to say there is always someone who has attempted the slow cooker for any and every meal.

One of my favorite meals growing up was ham and bean soup. My mom’s ham and bean soup was so delicious, and, paired with some cornbread, it was a super filling and the best on a cool day. Honestly, I could say that about any of my mom’s soups, but ham and bean was my absolute favorite.

I realize Spring is here and the weather is (or SHOULD BE) warming up soon, but I am still in soup season here. With chilly days or chilly evenings, soups just hit the spot for me. So, I found and have used a slow cooker version of the soup. And it is delicious!

I should mention that online people always say not to use the water that dry beans soak/cook in because that is was causes gas. For me, I live with 6 other people and (not to be gross) but someone always has gas here. Ha! 😉 So, the increase in gas potential doesn’t bother me. If you want to avoid the gaseous broth, use canned beans or soak and cook your dry beans separate and add them to the slow cooker later in the day. Either way, this is a delicious soup that everyone should make….often.

Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup

  • 1 pound dry cannellini or great northern beans (or, really, any beans you like…i just prefer a white bean for this soup)
  • 1 ham bone with meat on it or 2 cups chopped ham off the bone (I typically freeze a ham bone with meat left on it after a meal, so we have it for use in this soup later. The meat falls off the bone in the slow cooker and the bone adds tremendous flavor.)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 chopped sweet onion (or onion powder)
  • 1 clove minced garlic (or some garlic powder)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed (or chopped celery pieces)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt….I wait until the end to salt this. Between the chicken broth and the ham bone/meat, it can be salty enough already. If I taste it around 3PM and it needs more, I add it then. If it is TOO salty, take the ham bone out for the remaining cook time. Sometimes I do that.

Add the beans to the bottom of the slow cooker. Set the ham and other dry ingredients on top. Pour in the liquids, making sure all beans are in the liquid and not on top of the ham bone uncovered. Cook on low 7-8 hours, tasting the salt flavoring about 5-6 hrs in. If short on time, cook on high for 4 hours, making sure the beans are tender.

You could also add some chopped carrots to this for more flavor. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Just depends on how much time I have to get it all in the slow cooker before the kids get restless here.

Serve with a giant piece of cornbread. 🙂 We like to sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top of the soup, too. But we have a cheese obsession, so it gets included in every dinner!

Enjoy!

Menu Plan

img_2450

I am trying a few new recipes this week to kind of change things up a bit. We have a semi-busy week ahead, so I included a couple of crockpot meals and a couple of easy-to-put-together meals. (In case you missed my Facebook announcement, I am taking a break from regular posting on the blog. We are in a busy season of homeschool and my husband’s schooling and church commitments, I need to stay focused on those priorities right now. So, I will post from time to time on here but I am not committing to any regularity.)

 

Breakfast

Wakeup Breakfast Casserole

Egg Sandwiches (mom and dad), waffles (kids)

Eggs (mom and dad), cereal (kids)

Pancakes

cheesy Bacon Potato Frittata

Slow Cooker French Toast Bake (without the raisins and rum) 🙂

Bagels/English Muffins

 

Lunch

Salads

Leftovers x 3

Lunch Drawers

Mac and cheese

Egg salad or pb&j

 

Dinner

Creamy Chicken Parmesan Pasta, salad

Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder, biscuits, salad

Irish Shepherd’s Pie, salad

Pizza, salad

BBQ meatballs, green beans, corn

Creamy Chicken Tacos, rice

Crock Pot Roast, potatoes, carrots

Recipe: Griddle-Baked Pitas

I have only attempted pita bread once before, and it did not turn out so well. I attempted it again this past weekend, and the pitas turned out beautifully. My pitas are not perfectly round….but neither are my pancakes. I just am too impatient to make a nice circle! I just want to eat the foods. 😉

Having a few years of bread making under my belt helped with making better pitas this time, I think. I understand a little more the science behind yeast and the other ingredients. When I made it this time, it seemed so easy. So, maybe I was just too new to the whole making my own breads thing the first time I made pitas. Who knows. Regardless, they were yummy!

This recipe uses the bread machine. I suppose you could do the dough step by hand, I just haven’t tried it with this recipe. I like putting the bread machine to work for the dough making. Also, this recipe doubles very well (and easily). The original recipe here only  make 6 pitas, so if you have more than a couple of people in your family, you may want to double it.

Griddle-Baked Pitas

3/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup warm water

4 tsp oil

1 cup bread flour

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp yeast

Olive Oil

Add the items in the order recommended by your bread machine and run the dough cycle. When finished, punch down and dump onto a floured surface. Divide dough into 6 balls then flatten by hand into 6-inch rounds (or whatever shape you happen to make!). Place on floured parchment or a baking sheet and cover to rise for 30-45 minutes, until puffy.

Heat griddle (I did my electric griddle between 300 and 350 degrees) to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of pitas with oil. Cook on griddle, 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned (my griddle took more like 6-7 minutes to brown them) and puffy.

Makes 6 pitas.

These pitas would be good for pita pizzas, if you like making individual pizzas. I know my kids do!

 

Recipe: Blueberry Oat Cake

Blueberries. Yum!

While the kids were away at the movies with my in-laws on Saturday, I had a few hours to bake…all by myself. 😉 I love having my kids help with cooking and baking, but some days I really love to just make some things without having to stop 100 times.

I whipped up a Blueberry Oat Cake for this morning’s breakfast….and for me to have a yummy snack, while I waited for the kids to return. It was a simple recipe, but it also has 2 cups of blueberries, which makes it extra delicious.

Blueberry Oat Cake

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup oil

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups quick oats

2 cups blueberries

1 cup walnuts (optional)

Powdered Sugar

Beat eggs, buttermilk, brown sugar and oil until mixed well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to egg mixture and beat on low (or by hand) for 2 minutes. Fold in oats, blueberries and nuts.

Pour into greased and floured tube/bundt pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until knife/toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a plate.

After it cools, you can dust on some powdered sugar to make it look pretty. 🙂 You could also make a little lemon glaze or a plain powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over it.

Enjoy!

Honey Pizza Dough


There is just something about homemade pizza that makes it so much yummier than frozen. We have been using frozen pizza or the Aldi Take & Bake pizzas for our pizza nights lately. I have just not been motivated to make our dough. This week, though, I had a taste for homemade, so we are back at it!

I LOVE this recipe for honey pizza dough. I don’t remember where I pulled it from, but it is the only one I have been using for a few years now. I think the honey in it gives it a unique sweetness! 

Honey Pizza Dough

1/2 cup warm water

2 TBSP yeast

5 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cups cool water (i use room temp)

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil

2 TBSP honey

Mix yeast into warm water in a largw bowl. Let sit about 10 minutes or until bubbly. Add in cool water, salt, oul and honey. Then add in flour and combine well. 


Dump onto lightly floured surface and hand knead for about 7 minutes. Place jnto a grease bowl, cover and let rise for 30 minutes. 



*I cover with a warm wet towel, like how I cover my bread dough. The humidity creates seems to always be perfect for rising. And I have cute tea towels to use that my in-laws brought back from Australia for me. 🙂

Punch down the dough and divide into the sizes you want (several smalll to make individual pizzas or two larger for big pizzas). Shape into balls and cover to rise. Once doubled, roll out the balls to use for your pizzas!

We did two large pizzas. My helpers did the sauce and cheese. Addy made a pepperoni smiley. Lily made one with a ham heart. 




We baked ours at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. Yum!

Recipe: Baking Powder Biscuits

img_2567

We love bread. Can’t say it is the healthiest food to love, but we do. We especially love homemade breads. They are just so dang tasty. I prefer yeast rolls with dinners, but I don’t always have the time to make them for soup nights. As a runner-up, baking powder biscuits are super yummy. And if you make enough, you can enjoy them the next day for breakfast with butter and jam or as biscuits and gravy (my fave!).

I had been using a recipe from an old cookbook for biscuits, which were okay, but they seemed kind of dry, even with increasing the milk to make them drop biscuits. This newer-to-me recipe results in the perfect wet/dry ratio and consistency. I really like this one much better. I tweaked it just slightly to suit us, and I roll and cut out the biscuits instead of doing drop biscuits. That helps to keep their shape better.

Baking Powder Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 TBSP baking powder

1 tsp salt

6 tsp cold butter

1.5 cups milk

Combine flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut in butter (in chunks), until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in milk until completely moistened. Dump onto floured surface and press/roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut whatever diameter you want for biscuits (I just use the ring from my canning supplies…perfectly big biscuit size!). Place on slightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes (maybe a little more or less, depending on your oven).

I think this recipe makes about 12 or more biscuits (judging by the picture above), but now I can’t remember if I doubled it last time and ended up with 24 or even more than that. Regardless, it makes a lot. 🙂 And these biscuits are a great pair with a bowl of soup!

Enjoy!!

Recipe: Cranberry-Lemon Crumb Muffins

img_2450

I discovered a blog with many yummy baking recipes. After trying this recipe of her for Cranberry-Lemon Crumb Muffins, I am determined to go back and try more!

I love cranberries and I love lemon, so to have them together in a muffin was delicious. I did not tweak her recipe at all! These are perfect, to me, as they are. So, if you still have some cranberries in your fridge or freezer from all the holiday parties, this is the best way to use them.

 

Here is her recipe:

Cranberry-Lemon Crumb Muffins

  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, warmed to room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.; line a 12- cup muffin pan with paper cups.
  2. In a small bowl, blend together the sugar and the lemon peel. Set aside 1/2 cup.
  3. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon-sugar and 1/4 cup flour. With a fork, cut in 2 tablespoons of cold butter until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, the remaining 1/2 cup lemon-sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla.
  6. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour. Stir until just combined. Fold in the cranberries.
  7. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.

After you have made these and loved them, check out her blog for more yummy goodness! I don’t know that she is actively blogging anymore, but it is still worth checking out!

Happy Weekend!!