Monday, July 13, 2009

Day One: White Bean & Ham Soup

Since I am working the evening shift tonight, I made what I had originally planned for dinner at lunchtime instead. (I also adjusted my meal plan I posted earlier.) I got the recipe for White Bean & Ham Soup from $5 Dinners, and made a couple of modifications. The original recipe used dry beans, soaked over night and cooked for 1.5 hours on the stovetop. To save time, I used 2 cans of beans, rinsed & drained, instead of 1 cup of dry beans. I also used no-salt-added diced tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano to add a little extra flavor. Here is the recipe as I made it this morning, using my slow cooker:

White Bean & Ham Soup

2 15 oz cans Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
10 oz diced ham
15 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added w/ basil, garlic & oregano (undrained)
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
3 tsp jarred minced garlic
5-6 cups water

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on high for at least 2 hours, or on low for at least 4.

The original recipe was made on the stovetop, but with the substitution of the canned beans, I would only be cooking it for 15 minutes and didn't feel this would be enough time for the flavors to mingle, so I decided to throw it in the slow cooker this morning. This also saved time. You could use dry beans in the slow cooker as well; just soak them overnight, add an extra cup or so of water to the slow cooker, and cook for 8-9 hours, adding the tomatoes during the last 30 minutes or so of cooking. (The tomatoes can keep the beans from cooking if they are added sooner.)

All of the ingredients for this recipe were already in my pantry or refrigerator, so it took absolutely nothing from this week's grocery budget.

For dinner, we'll be having the tuna sandwiches I'd originally planned for lunch. I've got mine all packed and ready to go to work. The recipe for the tuna sandwiches came from the Biggest Loser Family Cookbook, and is called Today's Tuna Sandwiches. It's essentially tuna with the bare minimum of mayonnaise, mixed with finely diced celery and red onion, put on a sandwich with thinly sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. It looks tasty; hopefully it will taste as good as it looks! I had to buy some tomatoes today at the farmer's market; I got 2 large homegrown ones for $1.71. They didn't give me a receipt, so I guess I will be logging my farmer's market purchases separately from the grocery receipts.

$$ Spent Today: $1.71
$$ Remaining: $18.36

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