Lentil Soup with Ham

Lentil Soup with Ham2

I cooked a ham for Christmas dinner this year. When I cook ham, I usually buy a very small boneless ham because only two of us will eat it. This year I bought a bigger, semi-boneless ham. It was actually less expensive than a smaller ham, but now I have tons of leftover ham. I’ll freeze some and then get creative with the rest. This should be interesting. : )

Lentil Soup with Ham

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
8 cups chicken(or vegetable) broth
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup of ham, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the dried lentils and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the diced ham and zucchini and cook until the lentils have reached the desired level of  tenderness, 10 to 20 minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

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Minestrone Soup with Ravioletti

Minestrone Soup with Ravioletti

This is a riff on my Minestrone recipe. I bought some ravioletti (mini ravioli) on clearance at Aldi for 74¢ and thought it would be a nice, hearty substitution for pasta. I adore it. I have also made this soup using tortellini.

Ravioletti

If you want a brothier soup, feel free to add some additional vegetable broth or water.

Minestrone Soup with Ravioletti

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
8 cups vegetable stock
1 can (15.5 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 – 3 tsp. dried basil
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes and their juices
2 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 package ravioletti (mini ravioli), your choice of filling
salt and black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they start to soften 3 to 4 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook until tender, another 4 to 5 minutes.  Add garlic, sauté for a minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook yet another minute. Add veggie stock, kidney beans, basil, and diced tomatoes. Raise heat and bring the soup to a boil. Add the zucchini and ravioletti; return the soup to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until the zucchini and ravioletti are tender. Stir in the spinach and season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Take off the heat and serve.


Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili

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This is a nice change from a heavier, spicier beef chili. I like this dish a little more on the soupy side. If you like a thicker chili, add less chicken broth and definitely add the masa harina to help thicken. Serve the Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili with cornbread or fresh tortillas.

I think this could easily be made into a crockpot freezer meal. Add all of the ingredients except for the canned beans and masa harina to a gallon-sized freezer bag. Freeze flat. You could make several at one time and have them on hand for easy crockpot meals. The day before cooking, place the frozen bag in the refrigerator to defrost. Place the defrosted contents of the bag in the crockpot with the drained canned white beans and cook 6 – 8 hours on low or 3 – 4 hours on high. Stir in the masa harina/water slurry 30 minutes before serving.

chicken-and-white-bean-chili

Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large breasts)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed and finely chopped
1 4 ounce can roasted chopped green chiles, drained (or the equivalent of chiles you roasted yourself)
2 15.5 ounce cans white beans (Great Northern, Cannellini, Navy), drained
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons Masa Harina mixed with enough water to make a slurry

Possible toppings:
fresh cilantro, chopped
cheese, shredded (Monterrey jack, pepper jack are great options)
avocado, sliced
lime wedges
serranos, sliced

Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle the cumin, coriander, paprika, Mexican oregano, cayenne, and salt over the chicken. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, jalapenos, roasted chiles, white beans, corn, and chicken broth. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high 3 -4 hours.

30 minutes before serving, remove the chicken breasts and shred with a fork. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot. Stir in the masa harina/water slurry and continue to cook 30 minutes until the chili is thickened.

Serve and let each person customize their toppings.


Vegetable Jambalaya with Black Eyed Peas

vegetable-jambalaya-with-black-eyed-peas

Happy New Year!!

I’m not feeling too hopeful as 2017 starts. I am trying to counteract my bleak outlook with a New Year’s tradition for good luck, eating black eyed peas. This Vegetable Jambalaya is a delicious delivery system for black eyed peas. This recipe makes a big batch so there will be plenty to share with family and friends or to have for leftovers. I don’t recommend freezing leftovers, though. Upon reheating, the rice gets really mushy.

Serve the Vegetable Jambalaya with Blacked Eyed Peas with crusty bread and a salad for a complete meal.

Vegetable Jambalaya with Black Eyed Peas

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 14.5 ounce can black-eyed peas, drained
1 15.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices
3 1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1 bay leaf
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, and carrots.  Cook, stirring, 1 minute longer.

Add the bell peppers, black-eyed peas, tomatoes with juices, vegetable broth, dried thyme, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.  Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes for flavors to blend.

Add the zucchini, turn heat back up to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil again. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes. Do not lift the lid or stir the jambalaya. After 20 minutes, check to make sure all of the liquid has cooked out. If some liquid remains, replace lid and cook a few more minutes or until all the liquid is gone. Be careful not to burn the bottom of the jambalaya. Remove bay leaf, fluff jambalaya with a fork, and mix in the chopped parsley, if using. 


Southwestern Split Pea Soup

spicy-split-pea-soup

I haven’t blogged in so long. Life has been really busy. I’m not getting into the kitchen much. Plus, it’s been so hot this summer, I don’t even want to cook to avoid heating up the house. To make things worse, the hard drive on my computer died and I lost so many pictures, including food pics for future posts. I thought I had backed up my computer this past spring, but that appears to not be the case. I lost a year and a half worth of pictures and documents. Stop what you are doing and back up your hard drive right now. I’ve been spending my extra time trying to compile my pictures from various sources and organize them. I’m not sure if I will ever finish this daunting task.

It is finally starting to cool down here in South Carolina. It was only in the low 80’s today. My hubby is out of town and my youngest son didn’t have a soccer game today so I got to spend some time cooking. I baked some brownies and then started working on this soup.

Southwestern Split Pea Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel)
7 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup green split peas
1 large Russet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 zucchini, chopped
fresh cilantro, chopped

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and jalapeno. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander, Rotel (including the juices), dried split peas, and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the potato, corn, and zucchini. Cook until the split peas and potato are tender, about another 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.


Lentil Hummus

Lentil Hummus

Lentils are a great protein source. They are inexpensive and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Their creamy texture makes them an excellent alternative to chickpeas when making hummus.

There are many different types of lentils, so you can use your favorite for this recipe. I almost always have brown lentils on hand, so that is what I use. Red lentils would be perfect too.

Lentil hummus is great as a dip with pita bread or chips and/or fresh veggies. It is also wonderful as a spread for veggie wraps or sandwiches. I like it on a flour tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and black olives.

Lentil Hummus

1 cup dried lentils (your favorite kind), picked over and rinsed
at least 2 cups water
salt
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Cook lentils (according to package directions) in the water until they are very tender, almost mushy. The cooking times will vary depending on the type of lentil you are using. The brown lentils I used took about 35 minutes. You may need to add water to the lentils as they cook. Keep an eye of them. Towards the end of cooking, season the lentils to taste with salt. Once done, take the lentils off the heat and drain off excess cooking liquid. Let the lentils cool.

In a food processor, blend the cooked lentils, garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne until very smooth. You may need to add a little water, about 1 tablespoon at time, to help blend the mixture. I let the food processor run for several (4 – 5) minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and check the consistency of the lentil hummus. Blend in the desired amount of salt. Taste the hummus and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.


Bamia (Okra with Tomatoes and Chickpeas)

Bamia

This is a quick and flavorful vegetarian/vegan meal. It is a favorite of ours. It tastes even better the next day. Serve it with Basmati rice.

Bamia (Okra with Tomatoes and Chickpeas)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas, drained
1 pound frozen whole okra (or fresh), ends trimmed
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and black pepper, to taste
fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, okra, tomatoes, cumin, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature to medium-low. Cook until the okra is soft, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with warm rice (I like Basmati) and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.