January 14, 2012

Ham and Bean Soup

This is something I do with a lot of different crock pot roasts. The flavor of the soup will change based on what meat you started with, but I find them all tasty.

I'm in the middle of a freezer cleanout month, trying to use up things that have been in there way too long. It's a good money saver and it also is less wasteful.  When I was in Target last week, they had whole bone in spiral cut hams for only $1.50 per pound.  Since $2.99 is generally a decent deal, I bought the biggest two hams I could find.  I cooked the ham, and we ate two meals with meat from it.  After that, I packaged and froze the rest of the meat.  I didn't have time to make a lot of freezer meals right then, but I will get to them later.  For some other things I do with ham, check out these two posts:
Since the first time I posted, I have discovered that the beans are so much more flavorful if you soak them in the broth from the meat.  It also made it a whole lot easier.  I dumped the bone and the juices from the ham into my crock pot with the rinsed beans, put the lid on it, and left it all in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, I put the liner into the crock pot and started it out on low.  I love these beans:

Around noon, I dump in whatever leftover veggies I have on hand.  We had some leftover broccoli from the previous night's dinner, a partial bag of frozen mixed veggies, and a whole bag of frozen peas. When you are ready to serve, here's my last helpful hint.  You can thicken up the broth and make it more stew-like by just taking your spoon and mashing some of the beans and veggies.  No need to add a heavy cream or roux, so it might even be a bit healthier for you. 

We've had several meals from this soup, and I just froze the rest of the leftover in freezer bags.  Remember, if you lay them flat before they freeze, they take up much less space.

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