This post will be part recipe, part frugal food tips. I think a lot of people are trying to cut corners wherever they can, so I hope this is helpful information. Here is how I made Ham Bean Vegetable Soup yesterday:
I used baby carrots because they were buy one get one free and what I had on hand. Although more of a pain to chop, they will be eaten more easily by the kids than big slices of carrot.
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups diced, cooked ham
When I boil a large ham, there is usually an excess of meat, so I cut it up and freeze it in smaller quantities to use in recipes later. This is a great idea if you can get a big ham on sale around holidays, like Easter. If you don’t have the freezer space for a big ham- cook it right away and make a big pot of ham pot pie or ham and green beans (typical PA Dutch foods), freezing the rest of them ham for later. You can get several meals out of it this way.
2 cups diced, peeled potatoes
Potatoes are a big food staple in this house. We grow a lot but we need a better way to store them…
2 cups sliced celery
I didn’t have any so I skipped this, but it sure would make the soup prettier!
1 pound navy beans
Remember to soak your beans the night before! Dry beans are really cheap and they take up less space in your cupboard than canned ones.
6 cups chicken brothInstead of canned chicken broth, boil some chicken and save the broth. The chicken was used in zucchini casserole, but other than casseroles, I sometimes use the meat in chicken wraps for lunches, too. I boil the broth down to condense it sometimes, then freeze it in old margarine or sour cream containers. Another great way to take advantage of a good sale on chicken, or better yet, get your meat directly through the farmer- you will cut out the middle man and save! If you want it to be lower in fat, you can let it cool and then skim the fat off of the top.
Combine all ingredients in a large crock pot and cook on low 8 to 12 hours.
It was pretty good. Next time, however, I might try to use ham soup base instead of chicken broth. I am used to my regular ham bean soup with that good, smoky flavor. Bacon would really make this, too. :)