Tag Archive | homemade

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

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I am a little behind on posting my menu plan, but we have been sticking to it! Menu planning has literally saved my behind some days….when life gets a little crazy. 🙂 This week we are sticking to some simpler meals because of our schedule. We have a couple out-of-the-normal events this week, and I didn’t want to plan any meals that required a lot of thinking!

When the weather is nice, I plan to be over at our local historical farm/park with a picnic lunch as much as possible. It gets the kids outside and running around….AND the other schools are not out yet, so the lines for the attractions are super short. 😉 The kids will be doing one class each this Summer, and our chances to be over at the historical farm/park will go down. So, the more days we can get over there now and get our money’s worth for the season passes the better!

Here is our lineup for the week:

Breakfast

Cereal

Bagels/Toast

Eggs

Oatmeal

Lunch

Snack/Picnic

Leftovers

Sandwiches, salads, hardboiled eggs

Dinner

Ham and Bean Soup, cornbread

Spaghetti and homemade meat sauce, salads

Chicken Tacos, Salad, Corn

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Pizza/Salad

BBQ Shredded Pork Sandwiches (or over rice/quinoa), salad, green beans

Chicken Chowder, salad, bread

Snack Options

Yogurt

Fruit

Energy Balls

Flourless PB & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brownies

Menu Plan

Consistency. Still my word for 2017. And I have definitely had consistency with menu planning. It has been a real lifesaver some days. We are finishing up our school year, cramming tons of things in to finish up strong. Lots of fables and myths and history and math. Such a conglomeration of subjects to finish the year. Some days are a struggle, with the warmer weather, but we keep talking about how we can be outside even more each day if we can finish up our stories and lessons. 😉

This week’s menu has no new items/recipes. Trying to keep it simple, as my husband will be working nine days straight! Hoping to just keep my sanity. Everything but the pizza is gluten-free, so I am just planning a big salad with some leftover chicken for myself that night. Avoiding gluten right now has been great for me. I don’t know if I will continue like this forever, but for now i just really like how my stomach feels each day, so I am sticking with it. I miss bread….a lot. But making it for the kids has been nice. Typically now I have been making both versions of bread items – regular and gluten-free. Most of the time, all five kids want to try the gluten-free; often they all like that version. So, if I did decide to go gluten-free for them, too, it wouldn’t be that hard, I suppose. But, without necessarily needing to, I don’t know that we would. Plus, when they eat elsewhere – friends’ homes, church, extended family’s homes – it might mess up their tummies to be off of gluten and then indulge. We’ll see how it goes. For now, experimenting is fun. Trying new gluten-free recipes has been great. And I haven’t had to increase our food budget, so all is well. 🙂

Breakfast

Pancakes (regular and a gluten-free) x 2

Crustless Quiche w/bacon

Cereal or Eggs

Banana chocolate chip muffins (regular and gluten-free)

Scrambled Eggs, bacon

Quiche with sausage

Lunch

Leftovers

Mac and Salad OR Salad

Snack-type lunch (possibly park picnic, depending on weather)

Mexican Tuna Boats

Dinner

Grain-Free Chicken Parmesan, zucchini coins, carrots

Pizza OR Salad

Ranch Chicken Stuffed Peppers (or just the filling over rice, for my pepper hating family members), salad, veggies

Super Simple Crockpot Roast, Green Beans, Salad

Ham, Potatoes with gravy (sweet potatoes for me), Zucchini, applesauce

Breakfast for Dinner

Bolognese over pasta (spaghetti squash for me), salads, applesauce

 

Snacks

Energy Balls

Fruit (grapes, apples, bananas, strawberries)

Trail Mix

Granola Bars

What’s your menu plan look like? Trying anything new this week? Just hoping to get by? Feel free to share!

Menu Plan

 

I just cannot believe we are almost done with our school year! The last few months have been packed with schoolwork, church, family time, and even a Spring Break vacation with friends! It really has been a great year so far. School will be wrapping up for us in less than 3 weeks! That is one week ahead of schedule….because I am just ready to be done. 😉

We have been really good about menu planning (and sticking to it!) lately. I had these tummy issues somewhat under control, until we went away for Spring Break. We were able to eat a lot of homemade meals, but I did eat a lot of things I had been avoiding to help my stomach. So, by the time we got home I was back to being bloated, constipated (or the very other side of that spectrum!), and my skin being broken out. I am now a full week back to being gluten-free and starting to feel much better. My skin still looks awful, but my bloating has gone down. I am blaming this all on age – I did not have these issues when I was younger!

This week’s menu has some new meals from some of my favorite paleo cookbooks. It had been a while since I used them for meal planning, but I needed to look up a recipe and found some others that I had meant to try a while back and never did! We are sticking to a gluten-free menu for almost the whole family this week; I found several recipes I could double inexpensively to feed us all, without anyone complaining there was no bread item. 🙂

Breakfast

Cereal (kids), Eggs

Swirly Crustless Quiche

Pumpkin Pancakes (dad will have just eggs), bacon

Blueberry Lemon Muffins, Cereal (kids)

Bacon and Egg Salad

@ my parents’ house for Easter

Eggs and sausage, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (kids)

Lunch

Mexican Tuna Boats

@ my parents’ for Easter lunch

Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps (pb&j for the kids who won’t eat that. lol)

Leftovers x 2

Salad (me), PB&J  x 2

Dinner

Citrus & Herb Roasted chicken with carrots, quinoa (basmati rice for kids), roasted sweet potatoes (leftover from lunch), green beans

Broc-Cauli chowder with bacon and cheese, gluten-free biscuits(trying out Aldi’s GF baking mix), salad

Turkey Meatballs, Cauliflower Mash, Green Beans

Cumin spiced pork tenderloin, cilantro cali-rice, salad

@ my parent’s house

Pizza (dad and kids), Salad with chicken and other toppings (me)

Banger Sausage Patties, sweet potato mash w/onions,  salad

Snacks

Herbal tea gelatin (ok, only Lily and I like it, but it is a super yummy snack!)

Vanilla Almond Sponge bread (gluten-free, new recipe I want to try out)

Yogurt and fruit

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies (THIS recipe I got from a friend….it is AMAZING.)

Energy Balls

Homemade granola bars

 

 

Menu Plan

 

We are finishing up schoolwork, so we can enjoy our Spring Break coming up! We have a vacation planned, but it is a surprise for the kids. They know we are going somewhere but do not know where or with whom. 🙂 I am pretty excited to surprise them.

This week’s menu is a simple one. With packing and getting the dog boarding stuff situated (always a joy – NOT) and my husband being super busy at work, I needed to plan some simpler meals. I am still pretty selective with my gluten intake. I have steered clear from some of the more major problem-causing sources, which include store-bought breads. This includes restaurant bread, too….so it was a bummer when my husband wanted Jimmy John’s last week! I am finding it easier when the gluten items are made here at home, so I wonder if it is more the preservatives or fillers or whatever added for the extended shelf life of the store-bought stuff. Not really sure, but I will continue to avoid for now.

With that in mind, I planned out a few alternatives items for myself in a few of the meals. The kids and husband can still have their pasta and breads, but I swapped out a few things for my plate. Not too hard to do, just a few more minutes of prep at dinner time.

Breakfast

Oatmeal

Scrambled Eggs

Pancakes (eggs for me)

Coffee Cake (eggs and bacon for me)

Cereal

Oatmeal muffins and yogurt

Lunch

PB& J for the kids, leftovers or salads for me

Egg Salad

Tuna Salad

Snacky

Dinner

Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Chicken, Potatoes and Carrots

Tomato Soup with Chicken, salad

Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans

Sloppy Joe in a Bowl (rice), Salad, Raw veggies and ranch

All-Day Chicken Soup, salad, fruit

Honey Mustard Chicken, Green beans, carrots

Baked Pasta Casserole (salmon cakes for me), salad

Breakfast for Dinner

Honey Shrimp and Veggies, Salad

Menu Plan 3/15-3/21

 

Our menu this week consists of several new recipes. I am trying to exclude gluten and a lot of dairy from our meals for right now. After almost 3 months of belly issues (bloating, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach, blah, blah, blah), I think I have figured out the main problem: an overload of gluten and dairy in my diet. So, I have been gluten-free for about 10 days now, and my bloating has come down. I cut out dairy, except for yogurt and small amounts of milk cooked into meals. Not to be too graphic on a food post :), but my regularity is back….and I could seriously not be happier.

Anywho, I have a whole lot to say on how changing my food intake has helped, but that will be another post at some point. Here’s what we have lined up for this week’s meals:

Breakfast

Eggs, Sausage

Eggs, Bacon

Overnight oats (using almond milk)

Cereal (kids), Eggs (dad and me)

Banana pancakes (paleo, so gluten and dairy-free….the recipe looks so good!)

Lunches

Leftovers

Tuna Salad

Egg Salad

Snacky

Dinners

Slow Cooker Chicken Fiesta Soup, tortilla chips, salad

Fire Roasted Paleo Chili, corn cakes, salad

Ranch Stuffed Peppers (me), BBQ Chicken Rice (others), green beans, apple slices

Honey Mustard Chicken, asparagus, roasted carrots

Sneaky Burgers w/guacamole, salad, sweet potato fries

Pizza (others), Salad (me)

Meat “Cupcakes” with cheese, sweet potato chips, salad and veggies

 

Menu Plan

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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