Tag Archives: ham

Ham and White Bean Soup

 

As the days grow colder and shorter, sometimes there is nothing quite so amazing as a steaming bowl of soup.  Soup is wonderful for so many reasons.  You can easily sneak all kinds of healthy veggies and ingredients into soup.  Soups are generally very kind to the budget, with frugal ingredients like beans and grains, and the ability to save about-to-expire produce.  Soup feels good on a sore throat, and is mostly healthy (if broth based, not fatty/creamy).

And soup just tastes great.

This ham soup starts with a rich & nutritious broth made from the ham bones, but if you don’t have the time (or the bones) you can use pre-made stock as well.  You can also substitute in any type of veggie you prefer, though I recommend sticking to about 2 cups of some sort of leafy green, and 1 cup of another harder veg for contrast.

Ham and white bean soup simmering

Ingredients:

  • 1 ham bone + 6-8 oz meat
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1 large can white beans, or 2 small cans
  • Optional: 2 tbsp chicken bouillon

Scoop of ham and white bean soup

Step 1: In a crock pot or stock pot, simmer the ham bone in enough water to cover for 8-12 hours, during the day or overnight.  Strain the liquid, pull any remaining meat off the bone and shred it, and return it to the pot.  Discard the bones.

Scoop of ham and white bean soup with veggies

Step 2: Bring the stock to a boil, and add the kale and carrots.  Drain and rinse the beans to get rid of excess sodium and add to the pot.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until carrots soften.

Ham and white bean soup in bowl

Step 3: If needed, add in the bouillon.  This soup seems simple, but the base is so flavorful from being stewed so long.

Ham and white bean soup with cheese and bread

I suggest serving this with thick, soft Italian or multi-grain bread, and you may or may not want to shred some cheese over top.  I added just a touch of Vermont white cheddar, and it was absolutely scrumptious!  Even the fiancee, who just kind of tolerates soups, loved it and had seconds.  If you’d like your soup a little thicker, add less water and mash up one of the cans of beans before adding it.

 

Ham & Bacon Melt with Sriracha Mayo

 

Sandwiches are always amazing. But you know what makes them even better? When they are hot. With melty cheese. And something spicy. Kind of like this one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large roll
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/4-1/2 lb ham
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 2 slices white American cheese

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Step 1: Fry the bacon 5-7 minutes, until crisp, and place on a paper towel to drain. Wipe or pour most of the grease out, leaving a thin layer. Place the roll in the pan cut-side down to toast. Or, you could use a toaster. Or not toast the bread at all, your call.

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Step 2: In a small bowl, or right on top of the bread, mix the sriracha and mayonnaise, and spread it around. Add cooked bacon on top. On the other slice of bread, layer on the ham and cheese.

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Step 3: Smush the whole thing together, and toast in the frying pan another minute or two, until the cheese gets melty.

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This sandwich would also work great with turkey or chicken, and you could use whatever type of cheese you prefer. I think softer breads are better for use here, because they have a chewy interior that contrasts so well with the crunchy toasted exterior while the white American cheese is creamy enough to tame the spicy sriracha.

 

Turkey Bacon Club on Italian

 

Hot on the heels of my light, ultra-healthy, vegan Avocado Beet Wrap post Tuesday, I bring you this trifecta of meat-wich! Hey, that’s the definition of omnivore I guess. That and the significant other might walk out if all I ever fed him was veggies. Though I try…

This was of course his brain-child, since a craving for a giant dagwood-like club had hit a few days ago. So a quick trip to ALDI’s and about $20 later, I brought home enough goodies to make about 5-6 of these bad boys, rather than pay someone else the same amount for two.

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These are delightful, not going to lie, and would certainly please the crowd at a picnic or BBQ. Unless of course, it’s the Vegans United of America BBQ.  (I just made that group up, and if it’s a real thing I in no way intend to mock or upset anyone. Maybe someday I’ll even join)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large roll Italian bread, cut in thirds (or several smaller individual rolls)
  • 1/2 pound turkey
  • 1/2 pound ham
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 6 slices white American cheese (or whatever kind you like)
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/4 red onion, slivered
  • 3 large Romaine leaves
  • 1 cup sprouts
  • 1 avocado
  • Handful of peppers
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • Other toppings: parmesan cheese, mustard, mayo, balsamic vinegar, pickles, etc.

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Step 1: Fry the bacon in a frying pan, let drip dry on some paper towels. Cut up any veggies you are using.

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Step 2: Cut open the rolls if they aren’t already cut. Pro-move: Heat in a buttered pan until slightly crispy, or microwave 30 seconds. Layer the turkey, ham, and bacon, top with oodles of toppings and cheese. Trust me, this last part is the key. Drizzle on 2 tbsp olive oil and red wine vinegar, and sprinkle on salt & pepper to taste.

Now laugh & take pictures of your friends and family as they try to fit their mouth around this monstrous delicacy you’ve created!

 

Ham & Barley Soup

 

I don’t know about wherever you were in the world for April 20th, but happy first day of Spring! FINALLY! And… we got snow. About four inches of fluffy, wet snow. Eff you too Connecticut.

So rumor has it some big holiday thing is happening next week. As in, Easter is one week from today. WHO SAID IT COULD BE APRIL? Time needs to calm itself down, have a cup of tea, and stay awhile. Moving and starting new jobs doesn’t help, because you are insanely busy non-stop. Or so it feels like.

And once the weather remembers that it’s Spring now, it will just be crazier. Because I’ve got a window-full of happy sprouts just waiting for fresh tilled Earth! And so many new farmers markets to explore, restaurants to try, and seafood to enjoy!

Whether you celebrate the religious meanings behind Easter or just get excited about peeps and edible bunnies, it is just around the corner. And that means you are likely going to have the typical Easter ham. Even if not, you can take advantage of post-Easter sales and snap one up.

Ham & Barley Soup is a classic “dad recipe”. My dad is the expert, and has been making this for as far back as I can remember. As a kid I didn’t like it very much, but now that my tastes have matured it is one of my absolute favorite cold-weather dishes. Or anytime really. It’s so easy, and so flavorful! It is the perfect use for leftover ham and ham bones, will keep money in your wallet, and fill you up.

Ingredients:

  • Bones from one large ham shank
  • 12 oz pearled barley
  • 4-5 large carrots, cut into coins
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 gallons water or stock
  • Optional: bunch fresh kale, torn, extra ham meat
  • Salt & pepper

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Step 1: For this simple dish, the magic is in the time. Simmering the ham bones in the water all day long brings out the depth of flavor. Put the water or stock in a large soup pot with any bones, and simmer for at least 1 hour, up to 12.

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Step 2: Add the carrots, celery, and barley. Simmer for another 30-40 minutes or longer, until everything is softened.

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Step 3: Season to your liking, add extra meat if you have it, or some spinach or kale.

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This soup is deceptively simple but addicting. It makes an awful lot, so be sure you will eat it over several days, are feeding a lot of people, or have some extra freezer space.

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This is the batch I added some kale to once it was cooked. I liked the extra greens, it gave some great color, extra nutrients, and tasted awesome all together. Give it a try, maybe next week!

 

Ham & Barley Soup

Ingredients

  • Bones from one large ham shank
  • 12 oz pearled barley
  • 4-5 large carrots, cut into coins
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 gallons water or stock
  • Optional: bunch fresh kale, extra ham meat
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. For this simple dish, the magic is in the time. Simmering the ham bones in the water all day long brings out the depth of flavor. Put the water or stock in a large pot with any bones, and simmer for at least 1 hour, up to 12.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, and barley. Simmer for another 30-40 minutes or longer, until everything is softened.
  3. Season to your liking, add extra meat if you have it, or some spinach or kale. If using greens, simmer an extra 5-10 minutes to soften them. Serve hot with some fresh bread or biscuits.
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Make your own pizza, male and female style

You may think I’m weird for saying this, but I don’t like pizza that much. I know, how un-American of me. I will eat it if it’s around, and I get an occasional craving for a weird one like chicken bacon ranch, but in general if asked what I want for dinner, the answer will not be Little Caesars.
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My current S.O. could literally live off pizza and burritos. So we found a compromise, making our own pizza. That way I can have the things I want on it (veggies) and control the sauce, and he can have what he wants (as much meat as possible) at the same time. This is our version of men are from Mars, women are from Venus, in the kitchen.
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Ingredients:
1 tube pizza dough (about $2 at grocery store)
1 jar pizza sauce (~$2)
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Toppings of choice: Female half
Spinach & mixed greens
Onions & peppers julienned
Zucchini
Mozzarella cheese
Pineapple
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Toppings of choice: Male half
Deli ham
Ground beef (pre-cooked, left over from burritos actually)
Bacon
Mozzarella cheese
Pineapple
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Step 1: Cook the meat if needed, spray a 9×13 oven safe pan. Roll the pizza dough out flat and press to the sides of the pan.
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Step 2: Spread on as much sauce as you like. I don’t like most pizzas because I end up scraping a cup of sauce off my slices, so I put it on thin.
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Step 3: Layer the toppings.

Step 4: Cover in as much cheese as you can handle. Because cheese is sent from heaven to make all foods taste better. Some calories are just worth it.

Step 5: Bake at 425 for ~20 minutes or until crust is brown and crispy and cheese is bubbling.

This recipe is as varied as your imagination, nearly any meat or vegetable can be a pizza topping, so if you like it then go crazy! You can use veggies left over from other meals. It’s easy to make a vegetarian (or even vegan without the cheese) pizza.

You can fold the dough in half to make a smaller deep-dish pizza. Try a bunch of variations and find what you like best.  No matter what you put on yours, its likely to still be much cheaper and healthier than a purchased one.

Planned leftovers and getting creative

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One of the best techniques I know to save money and time on food is to plan your leftovers and get creative. There are so many dishes which are perfect for using up extra food, like casseroles, tacos, stir fry and pasta dishes.

If you have the time to plan a whole week of meals, I recommend it because that way you can make a whole chicken one day, then use it later in the week for soup, sandwiches, salads, and many other dishes. This saves you money by using one item in several meals.

For example, after Easter ham goes on sale becuase stores want to get rid of all the hams that didn’t sell. So I bought a 9-pound ham and cooked it in my crockpot with some brown sugar and pineapple juice. I had sliced ham and mashed potatoes and green beans the first day, and I also saved some cubes and slices in zip-loc bags and the bone and some slices went into the freezer.
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I ate the cubes as a snack, and made ham sandwiches later in the week. The frozen ham bone went into ham and barley soup several weeks later, and the slices I made into ham and scalloped potatoes last night. It is always a good idea to have grains and potatoes around because they are so versatile.
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Depending upon how many people you plan to feed with it, your ingredient amounts will vary. I planned to serve 3 from this.
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Leftover ham and scalloped potatoes:
6 medium potatoes
1 cup flour
2 cups diced ham
1 cup milk
1 cup cheese
Step 1: Thinly slice 6 medium potatoes with skins on and spread in the bottom of a sprayed 9×13 pan.

Step 2: Sprinkle about 1/2 cup to a cup of flour over top, and add about 2 cups diced ham. I added 1 cup of cheddar cheese on top becuase cheese makes everything better! Then pour in 1 cup milk and cover with tin foil.

I also sprinkled some salt and pepper over top before baking, it’s to your own taste preference.

Step 3: Bake at 375 for about 1 hour, or until potatoes are soft but not falling apart.

Assuming you buy a 5-lb bag of potatoes for about $3, and had the ham on hand, the whole meal costs maybe $5 total.3 of us had 2 helpings each, with a small amount left over for someone’s lunch later! Feel free to doctor it up with different cheeses, adding some kind of vegetables, using chicken broth instead of milk… get creative and have fun with the process.