Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hearty Slow Cooker Breakfast Sludge

     Before we go any further, let me make one thing very clear: this recipe looks like shit. Literally. It looks like something scraped out of a diaper. At second glance it also resembles fake vomit. Possibly real vomit. However, it smells wonderful and tastes great. On a cold day, you can't go wrong with a steaming bowl of this stuff. It's hearty and warm and filling. Maybe just close your eyes while you eat it.
Hearty Slow Cooker
Breakfast Sludge

  • 3 cups oats, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (chunky or creamy as you desire. We used creamy)
  • 21 ounce can banana cream pie filling
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Coat a slow cooker (at least 2 quart) with nonstick cooking spray (coat the inside of the slow cooker. The bowl specifically. Don't spray all over the outside. Unless you want to)
  2. Chuck all the ingredients in there and stir it up.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
Good times!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ham and Pea Soup

     Peas are a bit of an oddity with The Wife. Normally, she'll pick the peas out of most anything she's eating and wouldn't eat them as a side dish. However, if I make ham and pea soup, she goes batshit crazy over it and will eat it with gusto. This particular recipe is super simple and can be pressure canned for later use. Just remember to consult The National Center for Home Food Preservation to make sure you don't accidentally poison anyone. As always, notes are in blue.

Ham and Pea Soup
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Home Canning Cookbook
Ingredients (Yields 4 pints)

  • 5 cups frozen green peas (you can use fresh if you'd like)
  • 2 cups finely chopped ham 
  • 3/4 cup celery
  • 1 teaspoon salt (Use the full teaspoon if your ham isn't salty. We dropped it to 1/4 teaspoon since our ham was super salty)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  1. Add 3-1/2 cups water, peas, ham, onion, celery and seasonings in a 4-6 quart pot. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer, covered for about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Blend until smooth (If you've got steady hands, you can do it in batches in a blender. We used our immersion blender since I'm likely to spill everywhere trying to transfer scalding hot soup)
  3. If you plan on eating this right away, stop here. If you plan on canning this for later use, carry on:
    Heat soup back to the boil Ladle hod soup into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Secure lids and process in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure. 60 minutes for pints and 75 minutes for quarts. 
  4. Before serving and pressure canned food, make sure to boil it at least 10 minutes before you try to eat it.
    Optional: If you're not a fan of thick soups, thin this out with 1/2 cup of milk per pint when you go to serve. 
Good times!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Ham & Bean Soup

     I think I may no longer be completely terrified of pressure canning. I've done it a half-dozen or so times and haven't caused any notable damage. I haven't poisoned anybody yet, which is a real surprise. It's a good thing I'm comfortable with it, because it was a great way to use up some of the HUGE surplus of ham from the holidays. For not having many ingredients, this soup was surprisingly tasty. I have no regrets canning a gallon of it. You can serve this up right after it's done, or pressure can it for long term storage. Just be careful if you do. As always, notes and changes are in blue.

Ham and Bean Soup
via Better Homes and Gardens Home Canning Cook Book
  • 2 pounds dry navy beans (about 4 cups)
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Rinse beans. Add to 4 quarts water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover for one hour. 
  2. Add ham bone, ham, onion and one teaspoon salt (we omitted the salt because the ham we used was plenty salty on its own). Tie peppercorns and bay leaf in cheesecloth and add to mixture (or do like we did and load it into a tea ball and hang it in off the edge of the pot)
    Sometimes I'm so clever it hurts.
  3. Simmer, covered for 1 hour.
  4. After 1 hour, remove spice bag/ball and ham bone. Cut off meat and dice. Use about 1-1/2 cups meat. (Use more if you want. We didn't because the ham was so salty and it would have thrown off the flavor of the soup).
  5. If you plan on serving the soup, you're done. If you want the soup a bit thinner, cut it with about 1 cup of water per quart of soup. From here on out these steps are for pressure canning the soup. 
  6. Keep soup hot. Pack hot soup into hot jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Adjust lids. Process in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure. Process pints for 75 minutes, quarts for 90 minutes. This recipe will yield 4 quarts, but is easily halved. 
  7. Before serving from a processed can: add 1-1/2 cups water to each quart of soup. Boil, uncovered at least 10 minutes before tasting or serving. As always, it's a good idea to consult the fine folks at the National Center for Home Food Preservation for detailed information on pressure canning. Check the site especially if you've never pressure canned before. Not only can you accidentally poison everyone if you screw up, you can also burn the shit out of yourself or explode your kitchen. Remember, we're trained professionals working in a controlled environment.