Tag Archive | recipe

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!

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!

Recipe: Baking Powder Biscuits

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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

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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!!

Recipe: Energy Balls

 

My boys love these snacks any time of the day! First thing in the morning, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack….all the time. And since they are pretty healthy and easy to make, I don’t mind accommodating their requests for them. These whip up in about 10 minutes and then chill for a bit before storing them together (so they don’t stick), but they can be eaten as soon as they are made into balls.

 

Energy Balls

2 cups quick oats
1 cup chocolate chips (sometimes we do half peanut butter chips)
1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 cup ground flax
2/3 cup honey (or agave or maple syrup)
2 tsp vanilla

Mix well and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheet in fridge or freezer for a bit to firm them up (not a necessity but helps keep them from sticking to each other) then store in container in fridge.

We most often eat these for breakfast and have yogurt or fruit with it. I tend to grab one or two when we are headed out the door because they are an easy snack for me!

Recipe: Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

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I love easy dinners. Like, I would marry them if I could. It just makes for an easy evening when the meal is simple but still delicious. So, a while back I saw this recipe on A Farmhouse Full‘s blog (you should check out that family!) for Philly Cheesesteaks. Having never had an actual Philly Cheesesteak, I decided to wait on trying it out.

Fast forward to this past week, when I was desperate for simple but filling meals, and I remembered her recipe! So fast to whip up, and everyone here gave it two thumbs up!! The fast part comes from the fact that the meat is lunchmeat! Genius! Of course, it isn’t an original Cheesesteak, but it was still yummy.

Here’s our version:

 

  • pre-sliced roast beef lunchmeat (totally unhealthy I am sure, but I didn’t even care…it was delicious!)
  • Provolone cheese slices
  • deli rolls
  • green pepper, sliced
  • onion, sliced

I heated the pepper and onion in a little oil on the electric griddle (talk about easy! I didn’t even have to dirty up pans on the stove top), sauteing til they were tender but still crunchy. Once they were set, I added the lunch meat onto the griddle to warm it through. Because the boys and Dad don’t like big pieces of cooked peppers and onions, I split the meat in half and only mixed half with the peppers and onions. We opened up the deli rolls on a baking sheet, topped with some meat, and then placed an obnoxious amount of provolone cheese over the top of the bread openings. I broiled them for a few minutes to melt the cheese and toast the bread a bit (watch out! I burned the very edge of a few of the rolls. Still yummy.).

We had the sandwiches with some chips and applesauce. So fast – start to finish, the meal probably took me 15 minutes! And my only regret is not making more. Everyone wanted seconds, so there were none left for the following day’s lunch. We cried. 😉

Easy dinners are great in the midst of busy weeks! Have you tried Philly Cheesesteaks with lunchmeat before??