Sunday, November 6, 2011

Slow Cooker Bean "Soup" with Ham

This weekend has been ridiculously productive.  I started on my Christmas shopping, installed new curtains in my bedroom, replaced the broken doorbell, cleaned the floors, bathrooms, laundry, dishes, car windows, dug up the frost-killed begonias and replaced them with tulips and mulch, bought groceries, bought a pie crust shield for next weekend, bought cookie cutters that say "NOEL" and "JOY" for work's cookie exchange, caught up with some friends Friday and Sunday, and walked 8k.  Whoo!

What'd you do with your extra hour?  I rediscovered my slow-cooker.

All summer, my slow-cooker's only been making breakfasts -- oatmeal, to be precise.  I'll post the recipe next time I make it, but basically it's mixed fruit with steel cut oats, with things like wheat germ and rye flakes mixed in.  It's good stuff, and is a frequently repeated recipe of mine, which is why I sometimes forget my slow-cooker does cook other things.  So, now that the weather's getting cool enough that the outdoor chores are dying off, (and it's not yet time for shoveling snow) I'm planning on using my slow cooker more.  I figure it'll give me more time to do other things (like the laundry list above) and maybe let me have a little bit of downtime before the Christmas baking and my next cake decorating course start up.

To get me started, I used an old tried-and-true.  It's easy, and is what comfort food is supposed to be -- filling, tasty, and warm.  My whole house smelled like it all afternoon.  Yum!  Problem is, I don't really know what to call it.  It's a recipe modified from an old one.  I think originally was supposed to be soup, but it comes out thick like chili... but doesn't have chili spices, or hot peppers, so it's not really chili.  Either way, it tastes really good with Ryvita crackers.

Slow Cooker Bean "Soup" with Ham
Makes: 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound dry beans (I used red kidney beans today)
1 can crushed tomatoes
4 cups water
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp each salt & pepper
1 cup chopped ham

Directions:
Toss everything into a 3-quart slow cooker, minus the ham.  Cook on low 8 - 10 hours, covered.
In the last 30 minutes, stir in the ham, recover, and finish cooking.
Serve warm with crackers.

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