Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Easter Ham

Oh, how we love a good Easter Ham in our family. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that we’re big on traditions in our family. Maybe my kids get it from me, because I think I’ve always been that way. They’re the worst when it comes to tradition – we have to do the same things EVERY year for holidays. They’ve always been that way, too. One tradition that stays the same is the movies we watch for each holiday, and the other main traditional thing that stays the same is food. Each holiday has its own decorations, movies, and food and there is no exception. Additions are rare, and deletions are even more rare, and Easter is no exception. This photo show just where the tradition thing originally comes from. This is Grandma, me (at about 6 years old), my mom, and Grandma’s oldest sister at Easter.

These women were heavy into tradition, and frankly, I’m very grateful for that. We all need traditions – that’s what makes a holiday, a holiday.

My family demands the same food – every year – for every holiday and occasion. I make this Easter Ham every year for our Easter dinner, but the exact recipe for the glaze does change from time to time. Sometimes I use honey or orange marmalade or crushed pineapple. Sometimes I use regular yellow mustard, but this is the basic glaze recipe that I use almost every year. This is also a money-saving meal because you can save the ham bone to make Split Pea Soup later.

Here is the recipe as I made it (this time):

Easter Ham

Glaze:

1 cup real maple syrup

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons grainy mustard

4 ounces pineapple juice (1 of the small individual cans you can buy in a 6-pack)

Ham:

Pre-cooked, smoked 16.5 pound ham. (We get ours double-smoked from a local store that does their own meats and smoking.)

Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes per pound.

I put the ham in a 9″ x 13″ pan, added 2 cups water, and covered with foil for first hour.

Then it’s time to uncover, baste with glaze and bake another hour. Baste with the glaze again until done. Let  it sit for 10 minutes or so before carving.

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I put the pineapple juice in mixing up the ingredients and I knew that I would need a bit more glaze. Double it or make another half batch if you need more for the basting.

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This is the ham after the first hour – and after the basting and second hour of baking.

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When cutting this ham, try to get a little of the deliciously basted outside crust on every piece.

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This has a nice caramelized crust and it’s moist and tender on the inside. Tender isn’t quite the word for it – I think I’d say it melts in your mouth.

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Easter Ham is one of those “must have” and traditional food items at Easter dinner. Don’t forget to save the ham bone for a batch of Split Pea Soup! Try this glaze and ham it up! Ha! Ok, ok. I know – that’s enough. What are some of your Easter food traditions? I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

 

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Lemon Pasta with Shrimp

The recipe for today is one continuing our sun-shiny lemon recipes, but today we’re not making dessert – we’re making a pasta dish.

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Lemon Pasta with Shrimp is a main dish that’s also going under the heading of Money-Saving Meals. If you find a good deal on shrimp (frozen in this case), this is a very economical meal. This one is loosely based on Ina Garten’s recipe for Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp, but as usual, I had to put my own spin on it. It’s easy, it’s lemony, and it’s delicious – sounds like it fits all the criteria for letting the sun shine in.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Pasta with Shrimp

Thaw:

2 pounds frozen cooked shrimp (you can roast raw shrimp, like Ina does, but this was what I had on hand)

If using cooked shrimp, remove tails once the shrimp is thawed.

Meanwhile, cook according to package instructions:

1 pound thin spaghetti, angel hair pasta, or other pasta – whatever you like

Drain pasta and reserve a cup or so of the pasta water to add to the sauce, if needed.

Melt in a large skillet:

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

zest and juice of 2 lemons

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 green onions, greens only, thinly sliced

Add the shrimp just long enough to warm through.

Add cooked pasta to the sauce in the skillet.

Combine.

Add some reserved pasta water, if needed.

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It helps to zest your lemon rind and juice the lemon before starting.

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I had cooked frozen shrimp on hand, so that’s what I used.

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My skillet isn’t big enough to put the pasta into, so I combined the pasta and the sauce right in the bowl.

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I made a mistake and didn’t notice before starting, that the recipe calls for 2 pounds of shrimp and 1 pound of pasta. I only had 1 pound of shrimp and should have used only 1/2 pound of pasta. I used the whole pound, but because of the amount of juice in the lemons from California (they were incredibly juicy), the amount of sauce was just fine.

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This is a delicious and lemony pasta dish, and you’re going to love it! Make this one tonight! It’s faster to make than fast food!

 

 

 

 

 

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Cabbage Salad

I was incredibly lucky to have 2 sets of amazing and very loving grandparents. My Gramp was the first to leave us, but not until I was in college, so I was able to enjoy all of my grandparents most of my growing up years. This photo is of my other grandparents and me when I was about 3 months old. We lived next door to them until we moved to the lake when I was 8, and I was at their house almost every day.

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The recipe for today is from this grandma. She made Cabbage Salad every time the whole family was all at their house for dinner. There were 12-16 of us when all of my aunts and uncles and cousins were there, and I’m sure this was just an economical thing. Also, this salad goes with absolutely everything. There isn’t really a card for this – I watched and helped her make this my whole life, so I just always knew how to do it. I’m going to try and write down what I do, but I have to admit that this changes a little bit from time to time, depending on what I have on hand and how I’m feeling on the day I make it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cabbage Salad

Shred :

1 head of cabbage.

Dressing:

(All of these measurements are approximate depending on how big the head of cabbage is. Feel free to taste and adjust the sugar and vinegar to your liking.)

1 cup mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons sugar

3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Blend.

Add to the shredded cabbage and combine.

Add:

2 sliced bananas

or

pineapple chunks.

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You can use a food processor to shred the cabbage, or hone your shredding skills with a knife.

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I used bananas for this salad, but grandma did occasionally use pineapple. Pineapple was probably for really special occasions.

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This is definitely an unusual flavor combination. Not everyone in my family liked this made with bananas.

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This salad is economical, it’s tasty, and it goes with any main dish. It brings back a lot of memories for me of dinners at Gramp and Grandma’s with the family around the dining room table laughing, telling stories, and being together. It was so much fun. Those are memories I’ll always cherish.

 

 

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Tater Tot Hotdish

The recipe for today is an old stand-by in our family. Believe it or not, it’s another one that came from my 7th grade Home Ec class!! It’s such an easy thing to start with when you’re first learning to cook. Maybe that has something to do with it being everyone’s favorite. Tater Tot Hotdish is a recipe that everyone HAS to have, and I’m sure most people do, but I just had to share this one for this oh so important comfort food. I don’t know how people can get by without it. It’s tasty, it’s comforting, it’s easy to do, it’s just the BEST!!!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Tater Tot Hotdish

Brown in skillet:

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 small onion, chopped

Add:

1 can of cream soup (mushroom or celery)

Place in bottom of casserole dish:

1 can vegetables (corn, beans, mixed – I sometimes like to add a 1/2 cup of frozen peas)

Place on top of that:

ground beef mixture

Top with:

2-3 cups Tater Tots

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

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This recipe is all about layering starting with the ground beef, onion, and soup mixture. Oops! I put the meat in first on this one! Any way you layer it, it will still be delicious!

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Next is the can of vegetables. I just HAVE to add frozen peas – it’s all about the color for me.

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Last, but definitely not least, the tots – baked until they’re golden brown and crispy.

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OMG. Now that’s a thing of beauty.

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Everybody just HAS to have this recipe, so I just HAD to have it on the blog. You just can’t beat those old Home Ec recipes – they’re just so good. This is one of my all time favorites and I just love it, whether I need comforting or not. What’s your favorite comfort food?

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicken-Noodle Soup with Vegetables

The recipe for today is from my old Betty Crocker Cookbook, copyright 1978, and is one of the stand-by recipes that I have used many times over the years. It’s amazing that something with such simple ingredients can be so darn tasty. My husband was recently sick with what sure sounded like pneumonia to me (although the Dr. didn’t say so), and it was time to try out the scientifically proven fact that chicken soup can, indeed, help you feel better when you’re sick.

Before I finish my story, I have to share this adorable photo of my adorable husband who is already running to get his golf ball after whacking it with that club! He looks like he’s about 2 years old here – what a cutie!

Paul running with golf club

Love the fuzzy hair and the baby buggy in the background! It looks like whoever took the photo was interrupting his game, and that’s a no-no (as we all we all well know from playing games with him now)! Ok – back to the chicken soup story . . .

While sitting across the room from my husband when he was sick, I was able to hear what sounded like a very loud crackle coming from him when he breathed. He was miserable and had already been on 3 medications for a couple of days, but this didn’t sound good to me and it was time to take action. Off to the kitchen to make a pot of this Chicken-Noodle Soup with Vegetables. He needed all the help he could get!

Here is recipe as I made it:

Chicken-Noodle  Soup with Vegetables

2 1/2 pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up (for this batch I used 3 chicken breasts)

1 quart water

4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices (about 2 cups)

4 medium stalks celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices (about 2 cups)

1 small onion, sliced (this isn’t in the original recipe, but I always put it in, along with, sometimes, 1/2 cup of frozen peas)

1 Tablespoon salt

1 Tablespoon monosodium glutamate, optional (I never use this)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 chicken bouillon cubes (if using these, omit the above mentioned 1 Tablespoon of salt – it is plenty salty)

2 cups uncooked thin egg noodles (I couldn’t find thin noodles, so I used medium)

Heat all ingredients except noodles to boiling in a 4 quart Dutch oven; reduce heat.

Cover and simmer until chicken is done about 45 minutes.

Skim fat if necessary.

Cook noodles as directed (I don’t cook the noodles first – I just put them into the broth when the chicken is removed).

Remove chicken from broth and cool slightly.

Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.

Add chicken and noodles to broth; heat until hot, about 5 minutes.

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Here are the very simple ingredients.

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Here’s the chicken – into the pot – and out of the pot and cut up.

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This soup is incredibly easy and incredibly good!

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It worked! It helped! My husband is finally on the mend and I’m going to take credit for it. Never mind that he had to take those 3 medications. My prescription for colds, flu, pneumonia, and any other ailments (physical or mental) – a big pot of this soup. It will make you feel so much better, in so many ways.

 

 

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Garbage Can Frittata

I know this isn’t the most appetizing name for a dish, but that’s what the boys in my house (my husband and my son) have named it. They usually take care of any leftovers we have by taking it the next day for their lunches, but once in a while, things accumulate in the refrigerator and I get a chance to do this. I made a Garbage Can Frittata a few weeks ago, and the boys went so crazy over it, they made me do it again to be able to post about it. That frittata included pepperoni, cream cheese left from another recipe, spaghetti left from dinner a few nights earlier, peppers and onions leftover from fajitas, and frozen peas. For some reason, they just thought it was so good and we decided that maybe we should start making this every Saturday for lunch! Now this is NOT for those things that are beyond hope and have “gone bad”, as they say. This is using things that you’ve had and accumulated during the current week. I bet both of my grandmas would love this one (they both survived the Great Depression) since it uses up leftovers and is VERY economical. There really isn’t a recipe – you just use what you have in the frig.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Garbage Can Frittata

Put in pie plate or Quiche dish that is sprayed with non-stick spray:

Anything leftover in your refrigerator, such as:

Cooked potatoes or pasta

Cooked veggies and/or sliced onions (you could cook the onions in the pie plate a few minutes before putting the other ingredients in)

A cooked meat of some kind

Any type of cheese, shredded or cubed, about a half cup or so

Add:

6-8 eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper and/or herbs if desired

Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes or until set.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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I used 6 eggs for this one, but if you have a lot of ingredients, you could add 1 or 2 more. Then bake it 5-10 minutes longer.

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This one has shredded chicken, onions, and peppers from fajitas, sliced black olives, last nights sliced chicken sausage, a bit of shredded cheddar, and frozen peas. Remember – this is whatever you have leftover from dinner this week.

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It ended up being a pretty colorful frittata. The eggs don’t seem to cover everything, but they do in the end.

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After baking, it’s golden and puffed and beautiful – all from leftovers.

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This makes a great lunch or dinner  – maybe with a green salad.

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These frittatas change every time I make them, and yours will, too. It’s a delicious way to use up those leftovers and change them up. If  you’re sneaky about it, no one will ever know!

 

 

 

 

 

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Bread Pudding

Today I’m sharing a photo of my dad, and it’s a great one! It looks like he’s about 10 or 12 years old here, and does he look like he’s full of the dickens or what?!!!

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He looks great because he’s so cleaned up and dressed up, but there’s something about that look in his eye. I don’t know . . . I wouldn’t trust that kid! He looks like trouble with a capital “T”! Ha! Love it! So cute!

The recipe for today was one of my dad’s favorites, and I would make it for him a lot. I think he actually taught me how to make it, but I’m sure it originally came from my other grandma because I do remember her making it also. It probably comes from living through the Great Depression when they didn’t have a lot of money and you just DIDN’T throw anything away. This has to go under Money Saving Meals even though it’s a dessert. Bread Pudding is made from saving the crusts of your loaves of bread. Every time you open a new loaf, just take the end right out, put it into a zip top freezer bag, and pop it back into the freezer until you need it. Keep adding it to it every time you start or end a loaf of bread, or have stale French bread, or whatever. In this batch, I also had some crusts that I cut off of some slices of bread from an appetizer we had at Christmas time. You can also use nice bread and let it sit out to get dry or stale if you want to, but when I make it, I like to use the crusts. It’s more economical that way. Of course, there is no recipe for this, so I’ll just type it out again here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bread Pudding

Put into large bowl:

Crusts or slices of dry bread to equal about 4-6 cups, broken up into chunks

1/2 cup raisins

Mix together for custard:

4 eggs

2 cups milk

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all together and put into ungreased casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min or until custard is set.

Top with cream, whipped cream, ice cream, toasted nuts, or chocolate chips.

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The ingredients are so simple and inexpensive.

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Mix the custard together first and then mix them all up.

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The custard makes the bread shrink, so make sure you have enough bread.

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It comes out of the oven hot and steamy and crusty on top.

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I think you really have to eat this warm. It really is best that way!

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This is a very tasty way to use up your bread crusts. I usually keep mine to make dressing to go with our Thanksgiving turkey, but after trying this, my husband says, “not anymore”! Add the things you like to the top of this delicious dessert, and it will be your favorite, too!

 

 

 

 

 

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Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Winter at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm for me as a child was not as fun as being there during the summer, but one thing I remember doing there was looking for the frosty swirls on their dining room windows that told us it was very cold outside. Grandma used to say, “Jack Frost has been here!” I’d sit in front of those frosty glass windows and imagine all kinds of things about those designs on the windows. I would see a blizzard of crystal snowflakes and flowers and stars, there were forests where there had to be fairies and gnomes hiding behind every icy tree, I found little towns and villages where the swirls and twirls of frost made what I was sure were miniature houses lived in by all sorts of elves and little people. It was also fun to experiment with my warm breath and fingers on those windows by blowing on the glass to make even more shapes and designs, and use my fingers to see how big a clear spot I could make (I’m sure Grandma didn’t appreciate my fingers on her windows!!) or if I might be able to make a big enough and clear enough hole in the frost to see outside the window! On sunny days those windows were shining with glitter from the sunbeams coming through the frost and glass. I loved it! Imagination is a beautiful thing. I hope that even as an adult, I never lose it! I’ll keep looking for the signs of Jack Frost!

It’s winter and it’s cold. There are times when the nights are now sometimes below zero, and all we want to do is hunker down in our cozy homes with a nice, steamy bowl of soup and stay warm and toasty. Now is the time to pull out all of our favorite soup recipes, and even try some new ones. This Creamy Cauliflower Soup is just right for a chilly winter night. I know that I sound like a broken record (for those of you who know what a record is), but this is so easy and so inexpensive and so good and so great for a quick lunch or dinner. All you need is to add a salad and some bread and you’re good to go.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

You have to try this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into flowerets

1/4 cup butter

1 small onion, chopped

2 Tablespoons flour

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups milk

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 Tablespoon chopped green onion

Simmer cauliflower covered in small amount of salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.

(I used a bag of frozen cauliflower made according to the package directions.)

Drain.

Melt butter in saucepan and sauté onion until soft.

Add flour and blend.

Gradually mix in chicken broth and then milk, Worcestershire sauce, and salt.

Add cauliflower.

Bring to a boil.

Stir in cheese.

Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped green onion.

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I had a bit of technical difficulty with my camera when taking these photos, so please forgive the kind of washed out photos.

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I love adding the color of the chopped green onions – and a bit more shredded cheddar.

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This is a very tasty soup!

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After you’re done using your imagination to keep cabin fever at bay, and you’ve found the signs that Jack Frost has, indeed, been near your house, that’s when you know it’s time for a nice hot bowl of this soup. Try this recipe one of these very cold winter nights! You’ll love how easy and delicious this is!

 

 

 

 

 

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Split Pea Soup

Today’s recipe is one that both of my grandmas would have appreciated. They both came out of the Great Depression, and they had to be frugal. This picture of Grandma says it was taken in February of 1936. I LOVE this photo! There is also a photo of grandma and her 3 sisters sitting in this same snow bank. I LOVE that one, too, but they must have also taken individual photos of all the girls. I love her little hat, and her striped mittens, and the way she’s sitting in the snow. It looks like they had a lot of snow that year. I’d like to think that they all went into the house, after posing for photos in the snow bank, and had a nice bowl of soup!

Split Pea Soup

Both grandmas would have loved that I was being so frugal. I made Split Pea Soup with the ham bone from our Christmas ham. This soup could also be under the heading of Money Saving Meal,s like the Turkey Soup I posted in January, using the carcass from our Thanksgiving turkey. I just put the carcass of the turkey and the ham bone into plastic freezer bags after we’ve taken all the meat off that we can, and put them in the freezer until later when we need some nice, warming soup. This Split Pea Soup is so economical and so good. We’ve had such cold weather here in Minnesota this winter, that I’ve found myself making as many soups as I can. I don’t really have a recipe card, so I’ll just type it out here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Split Pea Soup

Put into crock pot:

1 pound of split peas, rinsed (make sure you inspect them for anything you don’t want in there, like small rocks)

1 ham bone (you could also just use cut up ham)

4 carrots, cut in 1″ chunks

4 celery stalks, cut in 1″ chucks

1 large onion, cut in 1″ chunks

3-4 medium potatoes, cut in 1″ chunks (I had 1 gigantic russet that I cut up for this)

Salt and pepper to taste

Thyme (if desired, but I didn’t use this since our ham was from Christmas and had spices from the glaze on it – our Christmas ham glaze is full of cinnamon and cloves)

8 quarts water

Put on lid.

Turn on high and let cook 6-8 hours, depending on how hot your crock pot cooks (I had mine on all day).

Take out ham bone and any bits that fall off of the bone.

Most of the meat will fall off the bone and you can easily pull it apart.

Return meat to crock pot and serve.

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Split peas are such a beautiful color – my favorite color!

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I’ve kept the ham bone in the freezer since Christmas, but this will work with an Easter ham bone, too!

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It’s so healthy and cheap – most of this stuff you have in your frig – just keep a bag of split peas handy.

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It seems like a lot of ingredients and water, but it does all fit into the crock pot.

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This soup is delicious. Period. Get this going, go out and play in the snow, and then come into your nice warm house and have a steaming bowl of this nice, warming soup.

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Homemade Chicken Stock

I love winter and playing in the snow – I always have. I was about 5 years old in this photo and it looks like I’m enjoying myself. I distinctly remember that hat! It was navy blue with a big white pouf and a big red pouf on the side. It also looks like I was using someone else’s gloves – those don’t seem to fit me very well.

Chicken Stock

Playing in the snow can leave you so cold and wet, you need something warm when you come inside. One of the best parts of playing in the snow is coming back inside to the warm and toasty house and a hot bowl of soup.

I finally decided to try to make my own Homemade Chicken Stock since I seem to use a lot of it every winter, and frankly, the stuff you buy isn’t that flavorful. I found this recipe in Ina Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof  (you can find the book here). Actually, I needed some stock for soup and I didn’t have any in the house. I did have most of the ingredients to make the stock, so I decided to try it. I’ll just type out the recipe here instead of copying it – I did make some changes.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Homemade Chicken Stock

Put into a large stockpot:

1 package of chicken legs (cheaper than whole chickens, and only chicken I had)

2 yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered

4 carrots, unpeeled and halved crosswise

1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise

6 sprigs of dried thyme (from my summer garden)

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns (not ground)

Add:

5 quarts of water

Bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 4 hours, skimming off any foam that comes to the top.

Cool.

Strain through a colander (she says to throw away all the solids, but I have a hard time throwing all that chicken).

Pack the liquid in quart containers and refrigerate or freeze for up to 4 months.

(Ina used more fresh herbs and parsnips in her recipe, neither of which I had, so I didn’t use them. This is also a smaller batch than her recipe. I got 2 quarts of stock, plus what we used for soup the night I made it.)

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I used the biggest pot I had and I didn’t have room to make as big a batch as the original recipe.

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The whole house smells heavenly while this is cooking.

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Look at how golden and beautiful the stock is when it’s done!

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This stock is delicious! Add any vegetables or meat and whatever ingredients you want – and there you have it – soup!

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Label the container so you can tell what it is and when it was made. Square containers stack well in the freezer, and don’t forget to make sure they’re BPA free!

Make this stock when you’re home for the day. It’s quick to pull together and the flavor is SO worth it!!

 

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