Lentil Soup with honey ham

1 Med- Large Yellow Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
1/8 (1/2 stick) butter
2 Bay Leaves
2 carrots, diced small
3 stalks of celery, diced small
1/4 pound of honey ham, diced in small pieces
1-2 Quarts of water depending on amount of lentils
Vege-Buillon, dissolved into water
1 Package of Lentils
Cayenne, Italian Seasonings, Salt and Pepper

Add the onion and garlic to butter, sautee and add carrots and celery.
Add Bay Leaves for flavor
Throw in the ham to flavor the vegetables.
Add Water/Stock/Bullion
Add Lentils
Let cook for at least 30-40 minutes and once the lentils are soft, add the seasonings.
Let cook until Lentils are completely soft.

Tis the season of cold weather and soups. I made this soup on the fly and probably spent about $4-5.00 for all of the ingredients used. Serves 10-12.

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Savory Lentil Soup with Pancetta

* 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
* 1 cup of pancetta, diced into small pieces
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 3 large celery stalks, chopped
* 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 6 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
* 8 cups of water
* 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
* 1 package of lentils, rinsed
* 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Directions
Heat the oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Start with diced pancetta and olive oil. Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, rosemary, and oregano to the pot. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes, add the lentils. Cover and continue simmering until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Season the soup, to taste, with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Chicken Noodle Soup

I think I’m turning this into a soup blog. No, I really need to switch it up a bit. 🙂 I’m not sure how I started making Chicken Noodle soup, which recipe I started with and how it tasted. I know what I like now and make up my own recipes as I go along.

I made some the other night and it went a little something like this:

* 1 medium onion, diced
* 2 stalks celery, diced
* 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
* 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
* 2 bay leaves
* 1/2 tablespoon of dried rosemary
* 1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano
* 2 pats of butter
* 4 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
* 3 cup water
* Kosher salt, cayenne and freshly ground black pepper (all optional)
* 1/2 box of noodles, your choice. I chose rotini and shells.
* 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken ( 4 Breast tenders or 2 breasts) seasoned.
* 1 large regular or Meyer lemon

Let’s get started….

Put the onion, celery, garlic, parsley and sautee in butter, cooking vegetables slightly. Add bay leaves and dried herbs to season them. Once those have a head start, add the chicken broth, and water in a medium to large pot. Season with salt, cayenne (if you choose) and pepper, to taste, and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Simmer until the vegetables are almost tender, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the noodles and cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes (depending upon the size of the noodles).

Meanwhile I usually season the chicken breasts with lemon pepper and cayenne and fry those whole. Once they are cooked yet tender – I shred the chicken into bit size pieces. Making sure they pull all the seasoning in and are cooked.

Add the chicken and turn off the heat. Let the broth, chicken and noodles combine together. I add in the juice and pulp of one large lemon. I prefer Meyer Lemons, sweet and tangy.

This was one of my favorite soups. Usually I share a couple bottles with family and friends, but I ate this one myself.

Corn and Crab Chowder

When I made citrus crab last night, I thought about making this soup. I’ve never made it before, but had it several times. I looked up several recipes and decided to try it out.

I wanted to make a lighter dairy free soup, so I used potatoes ans mashed them in the pot with the corn to thicken it up. I’m not even sure it is technically considered a chowder, but it’s fantastic. I know I may be a little bacon crazy these days, but I think bacon would make this one even more amazing.

White Corn and Crab Chowder

  • 1/2 stick of butter, diced
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 2 cups diced Celery
  • 2 tbsp minced Garlic
  • 6-8 Small Red Potatoes, Diced
  • 4-5 cups of water
  • 1- 16 oz package of Frozen White Corn
  • 1 cup or more of crab meat

Heat a deep pot over moderate heat. Add butter and garlic. As you chop your veggies, add them to the pot: potatoes, celery, onion, and red bell pepper. Season vegetables with salt and pepper, cayenne and Italian Seasonings. Saute veggies 5 minutes, then sprinkle in flour. Cook flour 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and combine. Add corn and let boil down, mash soup with a potato masher to thicken.

It’s really tasty and non-creamy. it’s hearty but still has that sweet corn flavor with bits of crab. It’s one of my new favorite soups and I’m glad I made enough to go around.

Citrus Crab

I tend to mold my recipes after what I have in my fridge. This is how my Grandma taught me to cook and the basis for a lot of my ideas and experimentation with food. You make what you have and try not to waste your resources. I also get inspiration from fresh, local produce from farmers markets or backyards when available.

I came up with this crab dish last night. I purchased a live crab, which I had quartered and cleaned. I usually use white wine as a base, it helps cook the crab and gives it a great flavor. But I was out of wine, so I made Citrus Crab.

1 whole crab, quartered and cleaned
2 lemons – juiced and thrown in
2 oranges – juiced and thrown in
1/3 cup water
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup of butter, cut into small pieces
Lemon Pepper, Cayenne, Italian Seasons

Mix all ingredients and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, flipping once 3/4 of the way through. Dungeness Crabs turn from a dark blueish purple to a bright pink. The juices are usually boiling and once cooled, delicious for dipping the crab in.

Yellow Split Pea with Black Forest Bacon

One of my favorite soups has always been Split Pea. It’s cold out, the holiday season and I’ve been home nursing a cough and making soups. I had some leftover Black Forest Bacon and decided to experiment with the traditional recipe for Split Pea.

Yellow Split Pea with Black Forest Bacon

  • 2 pats of butter
  • 3 slices of Black Forest Bacon, chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups of diced carrots
  • 2 cups of diced celery
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 package of yellow split peas
  • 4-5 cups of water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Italian Season, Salt Pepper, Cayenne to taste

Place bacon in a large pot, sautee with butter. Stir in onion, garlic, carrots, and celery; cook until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Pour in vegetable broth. Stir in split peas, bay leaves, water, cayenne and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover, and simmer until peas are cooked, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

It makes quite a lot of soup and is filling. Despite the bacon and butter, it’s pretty low fat overall. I made a pot and had a few jars left over.

xoxo, Bekah

Bekah’s Black Forest Bacon and Beef Vegetable Stew

Oh baby it’s cold outside. This past weekend, I didn’t want to leave my house and didn’t except for a few errands to run. I was talking about the soups I like to make and was reminded of a nice hot beef stew.

Shopping around Whole foods, I came up with a spin on a traditional beef stew recipe because they had this smokey black forest ham. It came out really good and somewhat healthy, so I thought I would share it.

Bekah’s Black Forest Bacon & Beef Vegetable Stew

Here’s my recipe:

  • 3 slices of Black Forest Bacon
  • 1/4 cup of butter (4-6 pats, ½ a stick)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 shallot cloves
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 ½ cups of chopped carrots
  • 6 red potatoes sliced into small cubes
  • 2 cups of broth (I used vegetable broth, but you can use beef)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian Spices
  • 5 cups of water (adjust as needed)
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped white mushrooms
  • 1 ½ pounds of good quality beef stew meat, cut in chunks.
  • 2-3 tablespoons of flour to thicken it up (adjust as needed)
  • Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, Lemon Pepper to taste.

I purchased a few slices of Black Forest Bacon from the butcher, cut them in small pieces and sauteed them in the butter. This adds in a smokey flavor while the fats cook the veggies. Add onion, garlic, shallots, celery, potatoes and carrots. Let the veggies cook up and then add the broth to mix, add bay leaves and Italian spices. Once that has mixed together well, I add in water to allow everything to cook through, add less water for a thicker stew. Add in the can of tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes.

Meanwhile on the next burner, I am sauteing chopped mushrooms in a little olive oil and Italian spices. Once those are nice and browned, I add them to the pot and throw the steak stew meat onto the same pot. I brown the meat on the outside, but keep the temperature low since it will be added to the hot pot of stew already cooking.

You want to make sure the vegetables are cooking well, once they are getting soft, reduce the heat overall and add in the stew meat. Timing is everything, if the heat is too high – you can overcook your meat which will get tough. Slow cook the stew the rest of the time.

Add in the flour to thicken it up, stir thoroughly and cool some for tasting. This is where I add in the Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, Lemon Pepper to taste. All can be added or none at all, depends on your preference.

Overall took me less than an hour to make this stew. It tastes best when removed from heat and cooled a bit. The flavors settle and give it a savory smokey flavor. Perfect for the Holidays.

I ended up with a whole pot, which filled 5 Mason jars, my tummy and another container. I’m going to freeze a couple, share with family and have soup to keep me warm through the cold winter holiday.