Recipes

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!

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Menu Plan

Menu Plan

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Almost forgot to post this for the week! This will carry us through to the 31st, when I will shop again (though I may need to run out for bananas and avocados before then). Lots of simple but filling dinners planned, which will make for a lot of yummy leftovers for lunches! Love when that happens!

Breakfast

Eggs x 3

Cereal x 3

Oatmeal (cooked on stove top with toppings added in)

Baked Oatmeal x 2

Energy Balls and yogurt

Granola bars and fruit

Lunch

Leftovers x 5

Ham Sandwiches 2

PB&J x 3

Snacky

Dinner

Family Dinner at Relative’s House

Frozen Pizza

Chicken Rice Casserole, Applesauce, Bread

Broccoli Cheese Soup, Rolls, raw veggies

Turkey Brats, Chips, Salad

Bacon Mac and Cheese, raw veggies, applesauce

Creamy Potato Soup, biscuits, salad

BBQ Meatballs, Brown Rice, Salad

Homemade Pizza (Yum!)

Scrambled Eggs and Toast

Snacks To Make:

Apples and Honey or PB

Frozen Banana Bites (banana chunks dipped in chocolate and then frozen)

Snack Mix (recipe to come soon)

 

Kitchen · Recipes

Recipe: Bean and Bacon Soup

I love Campbell’s soups. Like, A LOT. Tomato, Chicken Noodle, Cream of Potato, and especially BEAN and BACON! My mom always had Campbell’s on hand when I was younger, and I can remember shopping on my own in college and getting a TON of Campbell’s soups (especially the ones with the drinkable lids on them! how handy!) for the week.

So, we all know they have a TON of salt in them, right? They are not very healthy at all…no matter how much my taste buds say they are. 🙂 I keep the tomato soup cans in our emergency food supply (and sneak a can out now and then to enjoy during nap time as my late lunch, until the big girls see me and beg for some!), but other than that I don’t use them in the kitchen regularly. The “cream of…” soups can easily be made from scratch. No, they don’t taste exactly the same, but it is most likely because I don’t dump 4 tablespoons of salt into mine!

Anywho, I am getting off-track. While those soups are convenient and delicious, they really don’t do anything for our bodies. So, last week I decided to try something. I had bean and barley soup on the menu but decided to change it a bit to make Bean and Bacon Soup. I love barley, but I really had a craving for bacon and couldn’t find a way to eat a bunch and still get a healthy meal put together…until I changed the soup!

I was nervous about it. My husband questioned my decision…quite a bit. BUT, it turned out so good. It tasted super salty, but I didn’t even salt it! It was just the saltiness of the bacon that flavored it! I am so happy with it, that I am considering changing our bean and barley soup scheduled for this week. 🙂 My husband had 2 bowls of it, the kids all ate it up, and we had leftovers for lunches! That is success on all accounts!

So, here it is…my BEAN AND BACON SOUP: (this makes quite a bit of soup, fed all 7 of us – some had two helpings – and we had leftovers. Adjust to meet your needs)

1 package bacon (i think mine was 12 ounces, but it was a nitrate-free kind, so just go with whatever size package you regularly buy…unless you want to get healthy about it…then buy a nitrate-free kind or buy local. Mmmm.)

1/2 onion, chopped

Beans (I used what I had on the shelf in cans. One 28 ounce can of pinto beans and Two 15 ounce cans of cannellini. Next time, I think I would do dry beans and make it an all-day-cooking soup!) – we like beans a lot, but if you want less, then don’t put in 58 ounces of beans like I did!!

1/2 cup finely diced carrots

1/4 cup finely diced celery

Black Pepper, to taste

1 tsp minced garlic – more or less, depending on your preference

8-10 cups low sodium chicken broth – I used the Aldi Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth because I didn’t feel like defrosting my homemade broth…because I didn’t take it out in time and would have to do it in the microwave, blah, blah, blah. I was lazy. Also, if you are using less beans, you won’t need as much broth.

1. Chop bacon into small pieces (like 1″). Cook in large stockpot until as crispy as desired. I left ours a little chewy because some of our family members like it a little fatty/chewy.

2. Add onion and cook with bacon until very tender. Add in carrots and celery and cook until tender (onion might caramelize a little here. it’s ok, so delicious!). I added in the veggies at different times because the bottom of the pot didn’t let me have a single layer of the veggies, and I didn’t feel like stirring constantly to make sure they all got evenly cooked. Again, lazy.

3. Add in garlic and cook for another minute or two. Then slowly pour in broth, less is better here, and bring to boil. Add in beans and more broth, if needed. Bring back to boil. Then turn heat to medium-low and simmer until dinner time. Ours simmered for about 45 minutes after this last step. I think I will do an all-day simmer next time! Add pepper here, too. Or don’t. It doesn’t change the flavor that much.

I made iron skillet cornbread to go with this. SO good!

Recipes

Recipe: Ham, Tato Corn Chowder

I have a lot of soup cookbooks. I love them all. Most of them have a chowder recipe that includes corn. I don’t always keep cans of creamed corn on hand, so I get bummed when a chowder recipe calls for it.

Last week, I REALLY wanted a corn chowder and, of course, didn’t have the creamed corn. So, I improvised to create a Ham, Tato, Corn Chowder. “Tato” is how most of my kids refer to potatoes. 🙂 So, I named it appropriately for our household.

2 cups diced ham (I used leftover from a large ham we had earlier in the week)

3 large potatoes, small diced (I used Russet, I think. Whatever I had in the pantry.)

1 1/2 – 15 oz cans corn, drained (Save the leftover 1/2 can to throw in another soup! Or use 2 full cans in this recipe.)

6 cups chicken broth

2 1/4 cups milk

4 TBSP butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced onion

1/4 cup finely diced carrots

Cheddar Cheese

1. Melt butter in stockpot. Add in celery, onion, and carrots. Cook on medium heat until veggies are tender (maybe 7 minutes or so).

2. Add in flour and mix to coat veggies. Cook about 2 more minutes. Slowly stir in broth one cup at a time, making sure it mixes well and thickens before each addition.

3. Add in potatoes and bring to boil. Lower heat and cook until potatoes are tender and can be mashed. Mash slightly to thicken soup. Then stir in milk. Mix well.

4. Add in corn and ham and heat through. Serve topped with cheese!

This was so delicious. I did not salt it at all because the butter had salt, as well as the broth and ham. It was perfect, unsalted. We ate this with homemade biscuits and salad.

Recipes

Recipe: Bean and Barley Soup

Brrr, it is COLD here! A Polar Vortex already…and it is only November! I planned a lot of warm comfort foods for the next two weeks, which we love in cold weather. A new one I created and works for a meatless meal is Bean and Barley Soup. This soup is simple and quick. Yes, it does simmer for an hour, but the hands-on time is pretty short. Enjoy!

Bean and Barley Soup

8 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup diced onion

1 stalk celery, diced

2 large carrots, diced

1 cup hulled barley, rinsed

salt and pepper

garlic powder, to taste

1 can (15 oz) white beans, rinsed and drained (I used Great Northern this time, but we have used cannellini as well. Both work great.)

1. Heat broth and veggies in large pot to a boil. Add in seasonings and barley. Return to boil and then reduce to simmer for about 60 minutes or more.

2. Once veggies are very tender and barley is cooked, add in beans. Heat through and then serve!

We love this with homemade bread and salad or applesauce! A great warm meal for a cold night!!

Menu Plan

Menu Plan Monday

Breakfast

Cooked Oatmeal, fruit

Cereal x 2, fruit

Scrambled eggs, bacon

Egg sandwiches, fruit

Cinnamon Rolls

Baked oatmeal

Lunch

PB & honey/jelly, fruit, chips x 2

Leftovers x 3

Cream cheese on crackers, yogurt, fruit, carrot sticks

Mac n cheese, fruit

Dinner

BBQ Beef Chili, bread, carrot sticks

Creamy Veggie Bake

Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

Veggie Couscous, Salad, bread

Pasta Bake, corn, breadsticks

Salsa Chicken, black beans and rice

Frozen pizza, chips, fruit

Snacks/Homemade

Granola Bars

Oatmeal Bars

Cookies

Bread x 2

Menu Plan

Menu Plan November 15 – 25

With Thanksgiving on a day I’d normally be shopping, I am stretching this shopping trip until the following Monday. Here’s what I’m hoping to make:

BREAKFAST

Waffles, fruit x 2

Cinnamon Rolls, fruit

Coffee Cake, fruit x 2

Oatmeal and/or Eggs x 3

Pancakes, fruit

LUNCH

Leftovers x 3

PB & Honey, fruit, crackers x 3

Buttered Noodles, fruit, bread x 2

Grilled Cheese, fruit, carrot sticks

DINNER

Veggies and Noodles w/Gravy, Bread, Fruit

Ham and Bean Soup, Salad, Cornbread

Risotto, Carrots, Green Beans

Lemon Rice Soup, Bread, Carrot Sticks

Scalloped Potatoes, Salad, Fruit

Meatballs, Rice Pilaf, Green Beans

Chicken Barley Soup, Bread, Carrot Sticks

Sat. night – pizza with in-laws

Wed., Thurs., and Fri – Thanksgiving festivities or driving (snacky foods for dinner)