Ham and Navy Bean Soup

Navy Bean/ Ham Soup

Here’s a repeat: works with Easter Ham too! With leftover ham from the holiday dinner, I was at a loss what to do. So, I went to my local WinCo (LOVE that place) to the bulk foods section and bought some navy beans.

As a disclaimer, I don’t like Navy beans, or really any type of bean/lentil or pea. Its a weird holdover from childhood.

Of course, I didn’t really plan ahead. So I pulled out my trusty Test Kitchen cookbook and wondered (hoped) there was a solution, and there was. I brought the beans to a boil, then capped it with a lid and took it off the heat. 1 hour later, the beans were ready to go. Then, I started throwing things in a pot, and it actually turned out pretty well. The kids and I both ate it without any complaints.


  • 1lb of Navy Beans
  • 1 Ham bone
  • 3cups Cubed ham
  • 6stalks celery
  • 1 large Yellow Onion
  • 2 1/2 Qts Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Qt Beef Stock
  • 1Qt Water
  • 1Tbs white pepper
  • 2tsp salt
  • 5sprigs Rosemary (fresh)
  • 1sprig Basil (fresh)


Heat the stock pot and add the 3 cups of cubed ham. Cook the ham down to get a good rendering a fat. Add the onion and celery. Sweat the onion and celery till onion is clear. Add the liquid (chicken, beef and water) and the ham bone. Add seasonings (salt, rosemary, basil) and bring to boil. Let simmer gently for 1 hour. Enjoy!

Even though I don’t typically like beans, peas or lentils (see disclaimer above) I really liked this soup and can’t wait to make it again.

Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken (In style of Cooks Illustrated)

  • 1 whole Chicken
  • Johnnys Seasoning Salt
  • Lemon Slices
  • Rosemary
  • 1 med. Onion chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2Tbs flour
  • 1tsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 pats of butter, chilled

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place oven-safe 8/9 inch skillet in oven, empty. Pat dry the chicken, make sure you empty the cavity of any giblets or neck. Rinse and pat the inside dry as well. Open the space between the chicken breast and place two 1/4inch slices of lemon with rosemary sprinkled on them on each breast. Take a liberal sprinkling of Johnnys Seasoning Salt and rub around the lemon slices. Also sprinkle Johnnys seasoning salt on the outside of the bird, on the skin.

When the oven is preheated, and the pan is hot, place the prepared chicken in the pan, breast side up. According to the Cooks Illustrated magazine, placing the chicken in the hot pan accelerates cooking on the dark meat, since they typically need to cook longer than the breast. Cook in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the breast meat reaches 140 and the thighs 160. Then, turn off the oven. (Shocking, I know) The residual heat will continue to cook the chicken for the next 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is perfectly cooked. Crisp skin, moist meat and SUPER yummy.

When the chicken is done cooking, take out of oven and set on heat safe surface. Using hot pads, lift the chicken out of the pan and tilt to drain the juice out of the cavity into the sauce pan. This is also a great way to check doneness. If the juices run clear (not red), you can be sure your chicken is done. Place the chicken on a cutting board and let it rest. Transfer the sauce pan to the stovetop, just remember it is HOT!

Scrape some of the fat from the pan until you have about 2Tbs left in the pan with accumulated juices. Add the onion and cook until translucent, then the garlic until fragrant, then the flour and cook until it turns brown as if you are making a roux. Add the chicken stock to the pan and stir to break up any clumps of the flour. Add salt and pepper to taste and the splash of apple cider vinegar. Stir until the gravy has thickened and at the very end for a richer sauce, stir in 1 or 2 of the pats of chilled butter, one at a time.

The chicken does not necessarily need the gravy, but the browned bits from the pan are too yummy to waste. I make brown rice and green beans as a side and top the rice with the gravy. I hope you ENJOY, we always do!

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

While you may think you know this recipe, it is has been re-incarnated from what I grew up with (milk and cream of mushroom soup) for the lactose intolerant in our house.

  • 1pks of pork chop – regular cut
  • 2 Carrots
  • 3 Stalk Celery
  • 2 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 2 pkgs of sliced crimini mushrooms (or button if you prefer)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 4 C stock or broth of your choice

Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. In large dutch oven on stove heat on med heat. Use 1Tbs Olive Oil and batch brown the outside of your Pork Chops. Stack any pieces that do not fit (smaller ones only) on top of pile. Top with sprigs of rosemary, carrots and celery. Seal with foil and place lid on top of foil. Place in oven until Chops register 135 or 140 degrees on instant read thermometer. Take out of the oven and place on cutting board, re-use foil to tent the meat. The residual heat will finish cooking it.

Re-use the dutch oven and drippings from the meat. (big fan of not having to use multiple pans, but if you want your recipe to go faster, then start the gravy while the meat is cooking and add the drippings at the end). Place drippings in a fat separator or other dish. Heat the dutch oven with 1Tbs of olive oil and 2Tbs of meat drippings. Saute Onion and mushrooms until soft, then add garlic (it cooks faster) until fragrant. Add 2Tbs of flour, and cook until light brown. Use a blender or food processor to blend the roasted rosemary, carrots and celery. Add remaining drippings and stock and the vegetable mixture. Simmer until thicken and glossy.

Add the pork chops back to the dutch oven to keep warm until serving. ENJOY!

I like to serve with green beans and roasted potatoes…

Spanish Style Tortilla

Spanish Style Tortilla with Red Peppers (a la Rachael Ray – http://bit.ly/yX5LEn for original)

  • 1pkg hot sausage (Chorizo, or hot pork sausage)- casing off
  • 1 Red Bell pepper sliced thin
  • 4 Tomatoes, de-seeded (reserved) and sliced thin
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Pkg of sliced Crimini Mushrooms
  • 1 C Cilantro
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 4 C lightly crushed tortilla chips
  • Cheddar Cheese

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. In skillet on med heat, brown the sausage and reserved tomato seed/gel (the Test Kitchen says the most Tomato flavor can be found in the gel and seeds, but they contribute a ton of moisture, so I saute them up with the sausage.)

Add the Tomatoes Onion, Peppers, Mushrooms and Garlic and stir. Let cook until only a little tender. (Make sure the mushrooms are cooked completely, or else they will continue to add moisture to the dish and it will not set. Top with Tortilla Chips, lightly crushed, and stir to incorporate. Fill in with beaten Eggs, wait until partially set and put whole skillet into the oven at 450 deg.

Bake for 15 min until cooked through. Top with the cheddar cheese and broil for 3 min.

Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice 
1 pkg of ground hot sausage
1Medium Onion, diced
6 stalks of Celery, chopped small
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Cajun Seasoning
2cups brown rice
4cups of chicken Broth

***add ins: black or red beans depending on personal taste. (My boys LOVE black beans and ask for those)

Brown the sausage in a heavy dutch oven and break into small pieces. Scoop out of Pan and leave 2Tbl if grease. Add the onion to the hot pan, sauté until partially softened, then add celery.


(I like to add in the leafy bits and use the leafy bits to garnish as well) when the onion is mostly cooked and starting to caramelize, add the garlic. Cook for about 1 min and add the
rice and the Cajun Seasoning. Sauté the rice and Cajun Seasoning until rice is toasted, 3-5min. Add the sausage back into the Pam and add the chicken stock, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom. Those little charred bits are FULL of flavor. Simmer for about 30min

until the rice is cooked and fluffy. Stir in the beans to fluff the rice and enjoy!

It’s hard for me to time the beans and the rice in the same pot, so I cook those separate. Or, if I’m running low on time, I open up a can of beans.