So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Monday's Menu

Yes, I know it's Wednesday. You, my friends, are reading posts written by a procrastinator. Please forgive me but it's hard to change what I am all the way to the core (especially during a busy week).

I may have mentioned that Hubby went in with a friend to buy a whole hog. It fills our freezer even now. When all was said and done, he didn't feel that it was worth it and probably won't do it again. He felt that the price per pound ended up being too high.

I would have to agree to an extent. For things like sausage, pork chops, and roasts, I can usually do better. But it also included things like good quality bacon, hams, and some other more expensive cuts. So I am still on the fence about whether it was a good deal. It may be that the more expensive parts balance out the less expensive cuts of meat and therefore it was.

To be truthful, I probably wouldn't have bothered with the whole thing to begin with but I'm never against trying out different purchasing options to see if they are more budget friendly. And, now that we have it, I am trying to be diligent in the way I use it.

Last week, I cooked one of the hams (it was as large as my head -- this is not a pig you would have wanted to run across in a dark alley). After enjoying it for dinner as well as several sandwiches, I still found that I had A LOT left even with half the remainder in the freezer for later. It doesn't take long to get tired of ham sandwiches and using it up as pizza topping isn't very fast.

Enter this recipe. Soup is fast becoming a staple in our diets. It is simply the easiest option on Sunday for lunch when I can throw it in the crockpot to be warmed for us by the time we get home from worship. Knowing lunch is waiting helps us to avoid those big neon "M's" or something more expensive.

And they don't do well with waiting either. Often I've literally only gotten one foot out of the laundry room that connects to our garage when someone (usually Dude) is asking what we'll eat. Which ends up being very stressful for me and often tends to ruin whatever good mood I'm in.

Unless there's something waiting.

This is also nice because it uses leftovers. Reducing the amount of food you throw out (either before you get to use it or in the form of leftovers) is one of the best ways I know to save money in your budget. If you imagine that each piece of food you throw away is a dollar bill, it adds up quick over the course of the month or even week.

It's also a fairly flexible recipe. Its success doesn't hinge on any one ingredient. It uses basic methods to prepare. So in a word, it's easy.

I did take the advice from another recipe video I saw in which he pushed a potato masher into the soup about 6 or 8 times before adding the ham to release some of the starch in the potatoes which helped it to thicken more. However, you don't need to do that to the point that there are no more chunks of potato. You want potato chunks in the soup.

I hope you give it a try -- even if you wait until is isn't 98 degrees outside to do it. :)

Cheddar Ham Soup


2 cups diced, peeled potatoes
2 cups water
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or Velveeta type or other flavor cheese)
1 1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 cup frozen peas

In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, water, carrot, and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 10 -15 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir into undrained potato mixture. Add ham and peas. Heat through. Serve warm. 

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