Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Split Pea Soup

I made these awesome centerpieces for our Relief Society activity. But now I'm left with a ton of split peas, which I've never cooked with. Ever. My only experience with them is making split pea bags (like bean bags) in Kathy Clark's basement as a child. Heaven help me when my kids start using food storage for their entertainment and experiments.

I make soup when it's cold. My kids ask me what soup we're having for dinner on a daily basis. And they hate all but 1 of them. In fact when this one came out, my oldest said, "Why do you always make food that I don't like?". I know, I'm so mean. I ended up eating all of it because it was awesome. Also, I halved this recipe because I was psychic and predicted that my kids wouldn't eat it. 

Here's the whole thing. 

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup green split peas (I only had green)
8 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp salt-free seasoning blend (I happened to have a Mrs. Dash table blend on hand)
1 tsp salt

In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Cook onion, garlic, carrots and celery until onion is fully translucent. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2.5 hours (I did less, or just until the peas were soft). Puree in a blender, return to pot to keep warm and serve. 

It has the appearance of what I imagine gruel to look like. But it's really good. Also, I forgot the garlic, so I substituted 1/2 tsp garlic salt and reduced the amount of salt I put in. That may be what made it so tasty.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ham and Lentil Soup

It's Fall!  Let's eat soup!  This is my family's favorite soup from my favorite cookbook, The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great by Pam Anderson.  The original recipe calls for arugula, which I had never cooked with before.  When my family saw it, they said, "Why are there leaves in our soup?  I don't want to eat this.  Why are you making me eat wet leaves, mean lady?"  The next time I made it, I left the arugula out and my family said, "This is the best soup, ever!  Why haven't you made it before?"  So, I'll let you decide if you want to add the arugula.

This soup takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.  It's filling and delicious, especially with a loaf of crusty bread.

Ham and Lentil Soup with Tomatoes (and Arugula)

2 tsp. olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pkg. (8 oz.) ham, diced
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings
2 cans (19 oz each) lentil soup (I use Progresso)
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
4 cups (about 4 oz.) prewashed arugula (optional)
   salt and ground black pepper

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, heat oil and garlic over medium-high heat until garlic begins to sizzle.  Add ham and sauté until ham starts to turn golden, about 5 minutes.  Add Italian seasonings, then soup, tomatoes, and broth.  Bring to a simmer.  Add arugula and continue to simmer until it wilts, 2-3 minutes longer.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.