Tag Archives: ham

Spicy Ham and Bean Soup

Here is the perfect dish for a cold winter day.

creative noshing

Today, it is a rainy, cold day across much of the United States.  It is definitely one of those days where you want to snuggle up on the couch, under a blanket, and watch a really good movie. Personally, Ferris Bueller is my go to rainy, day movie, but to each their own.

More than watching a movie, I LOVE having something warm to put in my tummy. This kicked up soup, layered with spicy flavor, will definitely warm your belly on these lingering cold, gray winter days. I used leftover black eyed peas, but you could use any cooked bean hanging out in your kitchen. Get creative and make it your own!

Spicy Ham and Bean Soup

Spicy Ham and Bean Soup Spicy Ham and Bean Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp thyme and 1 bay leaf

1 ½ cups celery, chopped

1 ½ cups carrot chopped

1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

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New Year’s Day Soup

Well it’s been a while, there is no denying that. I could give a million and one excuses why I have let the blog sit since last Fall, new job, longer hours, new friendships, on top of…well life in general. The truth is, I just haven’t made the time.

Nothing against coming on here and typing away my thoughts and musings for the day. I love it, it is quite cathartic for me, but my focus last year was on finding happiness. And not just any sort of happiness, but trying to answer the “what are you going to do with the rest of your life” question. While trying to answer this question, I can’t help but look to the past.

One tradition that my family did have was eating black eyed peas, collard greens and pork on New Years. As I have always stated, we had good food and this tradition was supposed to bring good luck and lots of money. Who would want to break a tradition like that? This year, I continued the tradition, but I made it my own by making a delicious soup that would include everything in it.

If you need to break out the ordinary or a great way to use up left overs, this is it.

New Year’s Day Soup

New Year's Day Soup
New Year’s Day Soup

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Ham and Broccoli Hash Brown Casserole

Casseroles are one of the best ways to use up leftovers from the week. Last week, I had some ham and broccoli lingering in my refrigerator, waiting to be used. Adding these ingredients to my basic hash brown casserole recipe made for a delicious mid week meal. The ham and broccoli really mixed well with the cheesy potato mixture. Because I love ham and broccoli, these would be items in my refrigerator this time of year. However, this recipe is so versatile, you could omit the ham and broccoli and have a wonderful vegetarian main dish or delicious side, or you could substitute the ham and broccoli for other items in your refrigerator. The possibilities really are endless.

Ham and Broccoli Hash Brown Casserole

Ham and Broccoli Hash Brown Casserole
Ham and Broccoli Hash Brown Casserole

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Cuban Sandwich

Today I bring you a recipe for the Cuban sandwich. One of my favorite sandwiches of all time that is readily found all over Florida. If you have taken a vacation there, you have likely tried it. Perfect to use up the last of my Cuban style pork and beer basted ham in the freezer. Packed full of flavor, truly a beautiful sandwich.

Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich
Cuban Sandwich

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Ham and Broccoli Ring

After I cook a large piece of meat, such as a ham, I normally freeze leftovers in 1 pound airtight packages for later use. I mean, I love ham, but there is only so much that one can stand before becoming “hammed out” for a bit. This way, I can spread it out more evenly over months of use, such as this lovely ham and broccoli ring.

A mixture of ham, veggies and cheese are spiraled in a puff pastry to create a yummy, bready concoction, perfect for an appetizer, lunch or light dinner. An excellent use for leftover ham and a great way to introduce new veggies into a discerning palate. Serve by itself or with a light side salad as an accompaniment to round out the meal.

Ham and Broccoli Ring

Ham and Broccoli Ring
Ham and Broccoli Ring

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Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bake

Using leftover ham, I made a breakfast themed casserole. A mix of vegetables, cheese, eggs and potatoes meld with the saltiness of ham to create a wonderful reincarnation of leftovers that your family will look forward to.  Of course, as always, get creative, use your favorite vegetables and make a new tradition that will last in your family’s memories for years to come.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bake

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bake
Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bake

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Honey Beer Basted Ham

During the week, I record “The Chew” and have it going in the background when I am settling down at night doing chores or whatever else, you know like checking WordPress. Normally, I am a bit preoccupied and glance up occasionally to see what is going on.

However, this past week they had on a guest named Luke Mangan, a chef from Australia, I believe. Anyway, he was making a ham with a beer glaze  that looked quite interesting. Seeing as we have never made a baked ham that we were quite happy with and we also have a fascination with cooking with beer, why not? At the end of it all, the flavor was great. There were quite a few changes that I would make next time to tweak it to our taste and so I revamped the recipe with these changes. If you are making a ham, this would be a great twist on an old favorite. We will definitely be making this again.

Honey Beer Basted Ham

Honey Beer Basted Ham
Honey Beer Basted Ham

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Basil Ham and Cheese Sandwich

On the weekends, my husband and I like to do activities with our pups. One of our pups loves swimming, so we drove out to the coast yesterday to a dog friendly beach. It was much busier than expected. Not only dogs galore, but hang gliders and people horse back riding. Though it was busy with a little nip to the air, it was quite pleasant, because there was a backdrop of the ocean and its beautiful rhythm making perfect balance. The yin and yang.

In art school, I learned that negative space was as important as the positive for our perception. Each balances out the other. Negative space in art is the space around and between the subject of an image. Negative space and not the subject itself may become the “real” subject of an image. Sculptors, more than any other artist, have to work with the concept of negative space, as they work in three dimisions, chipping material away to their final product. Keeping this idea in mind, everything around us can shape who we are. The forces of nature bear down upon us knocking the big chips away, while the good times smooth out the edges. This is why balance is so important. Just like a pendulum, every up has a down, and every effect has a cause, it is the balance of life. In our deepest hours, we need the memory of happier times to provide us  with hope and in our happiest times, our experiences of melancholy ground us. From ALL of my life experiences, good and bad, I am provided with a foundation for strength and fervor, because without one, I couldn’t experience the other. It is the natural ebb and flow.

Part of trying to keep balance, I recognize my surroundings and the upcoming events. Pretty soon my cousin will be visiting and I am very excited. However, I know I will be cooking a lot of traditional southern foods that aren’t so healthy. That is my choice and I have accepted that I will have it no other way. Right now, however, I can work on a diet of moderation. Still needing big flavor, the following sandwich, is something that is a favorite because it tastes sinful without being too terribly bad for you. There is no mayonnaise or mustard to bridge the gap between bread and meat. Each flavor component holds its own and melds together. Sometimes when I am in a saucy mood, I will dip it into the Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette and when I feel like putting on heirs, I throw down for some nice prosciutto to sub out for the ham. This week, I was in a ham mood, so that’s what I had and it was every bit as delicious as ever.

Basil Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Basil Ham and Cheese Sandwich
Basil Ham and Cheese Sandwich

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Spicy Ham and Bean Soup

Today, it is a rainy, cold day across much of the United States.  It is definitely one of those days where you want to snuggle up on the couch, under a blanket, and watch a really good movie. Personally, Ferris Bueller is my go to rainy, day movie, but to each their own.

More than watching a movie, I LOVE having something warm to put in my tummy. This kicked up soup, layered with spicy flavor, will definitely warm your belly on these lingering cold, gray winter days. I used leftover black eyed peas, but you could use any cooked bean hanging out in your kitchen. Get creative and make it your own!

Spicy Ham and Bean Soup

Spicy Ham and Bean Soup
Spicy Ham and Bean Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp thyme and 1 bay leaf

1 ½ cups celery, chopped

1 ½ cups carrot chopped

1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

7 cups ham stock

16 oz. black eyed peas, cooked (or your preferred bean)

1-2 cups, ham, chopped

1 tbsp garlic

½ tsp oregano

1 ½ cups onion, chopped

3 tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 cup scallions, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onion, celery, carrots, and red pepper in olive oil for five minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and cumin. Cook 5 minutes. Add stock, beans, meat and parsley, and scallions. Cook for 30 – 40 minutes. Add cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring back to heat.  Serves 4 – 6. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.

Stock

I know this is a seemingly boring post, but every cook worth their salt should have a stock recipe. In my freezer I have two bags, one for odds and ends vegetables and one for any bones. Once a month I make a stock out of whatever is available up there. Of course, if you are vegetarian, you could substitute more vegetables in place of the bones/meat to make a wonderful vegetable stock.

As with all recipes, this is just a beginning point. Every stock I make is different, because I add whatever veggies and herbs are sitting around in my kitchen. As with everything in life, food can only be as strong as its foundation. A great stock can transform ordinary run of the mill dishes to something extremely nosh-worthy.

Ideas for use: Soup, Rice, Stuffing/Dressing, Gravy, Stew, and so much more….

Master Stock Recipe

Stock
Stock

4-5 lbs bones

2-4 quarts water, approximately

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

1 bay leaf

6 sprigs fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary

2 medium celery ribs, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Salt to taste

Place ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 2 hours. (Try not to let the stock boil, this will make it cloudier in the end.) Remove from heat. Remove any meat pieces to use in another recipe. Strain broth, using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Taste broth and salt to taste. The broth can now be used  or refrigerated. Stock can also be frozen.