Ham Tetrazzini

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For just the three of us, I bought a huge ham for Christmas thinking we’d be eating ham all year. Funny how delicious and easy ham is for a main course, sandwich, or just a snack. By the time I made this Ham Tetrazzini recipe by Spicy Southern Kitchen, the ham was gone. We ate it all. Wow. I’m tempted to buy another one. Who says who can’t order a huge hunk of ham any time of year?

Instead, I made this recipe with a ham steak, which is pretty easy to find at the grocery store and relatively inexpensive unless you buy the organic, uncured kind that I feel compelled to buy. I think it tastes better, but it’s probably just my imagination. Buy whatever ham you want.

This recipe is definitely a make again. The only change I made was to leave out the mushrooms since the boys won’t touch them with a 6-foot pole. I also didn’t cook the frozen peas because I didn’t want them to get mushy. Another thing I noticed is that the recipe didn’t give me any cooking times so I decided to add that to the recipe to help you guys out. I like to be able to time things and I’m sure some of you do too.

By the way, tetrazzini is totally old school and I’m okay with that. You should be too. I remember my grandmother telling me how much she loved it. And what’s not to love? It’s got meat. It’s got carbs. It’s got cheese. These are all good things.

Gather your ingredients. Dice up an onion and some ham. Measure out your peas and cheeses.

Ham Tetrazzini

Boil some spaghetti. You can use any kind of pasta so I think fettuccine or even egg noodles would have worked. The tall boiling pot I like to use encourages me to break the pasta in half. Frankly, I prefer shorter spaghetti. I know I’m “breaking” the rules. Not sorry.

I waited for my pasta to be done before making the sauce, but you can get a head start if you like. In a skillet, melt some butter and add your onion. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the soup, milk, and peppers. I actually ran out of white pepper so I added more than the prescribed black pepper. I actually don’t know why you need both black and white pepper, but let’s go with it.

Ham Tetrazzini

Mix that all up and then add your ham, peas, and cheeses.

Ham Tetrazzini

Stir it all up and cook until it’s melted, which is about a minute or two.

Ham Tetrazzini

The recipe said to salt it to taste, but I think it’s perfect without any additional salt because of the ham and cream of chicken soup.

Drain your cooked pasta and add it to the skillet. Mix it up.

Ham Tetrazzini

Put some onto a plate. Throw some parsley on it to make it look pretty. Voila! Dinner is served!

Ham Tetrazzini

What I liked about this dish is the creaminess without it being too rich. You can sub out milk for cream, but with the cheeses you don’t really need to do that. The smokiness of the ham adds another depth of flavor that is salty and comforting. Definitely go retro and make this.

Ham Tetrazzini

Ham Tetrazzini

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 10.75 ounces cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups ham diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions in salted water.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add soup, milk, and both peppers to the skillet and mix well.
  • Add ham, peas, cheddar cheese, and Parmesan cheese and stir and cook over medium heat until cheese is melted, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add drained pasta to the pan and mix well.
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Ham and Bean Soup

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I made an 8-pound ham for the three of us for Christmas dinner. Needless to say, I have more ham than I know what to do with. After eating plates and plates of sliced ham and leftover sides, I decided we needed to change it up a bit. I tried a ham and peas tortellini dish that needs a lot of improvement so I’ll share that once I’ve worked out the kinks. For now, we’re going straight to comfort food: Soup.

I got all ambitious and made my own ham broth, but that’s completely not necessary. I only did this because I had a ham bone and making broth is super simple to make in the Instant Pot. Here’s what you do. Take the meat bones (ham, chicken, turkey, anything really) and stick it in an Instant Pot along with chopped carrots, celery, and onions. Throw in some peppercorns if you have them and a bay leaf. Cover with water. Cook on high for 60 minutes and natural release. Done. Let it cool, strain all the stuff out, bag it in 2 cup servings, and freeze flat.

Now back to the soup. The base of the soup is from a recipe on the back of a bean package, but I made it better by adding ham and using broth instead of water. Always use broth or stock when you are making soups. Water just isn’t going to cut it if you want the depth of flavor. I don’t cook soup all day so using broth really makes the difference.

The hardest part is remembering to soak your beans overnight. I completely forgot so I soaked them all day instead. It was all good, but I was a little nervous there for a moment. I used cannellini beans because that’s what I had, but you can use any (pandemic) beans you happen to have.

Gather your ingredients. Rinse your beans in cold water and drain. Chop up everything that needs chopping.

Ham and Bean soup

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat up some olive oil and saute your chopped veggies. Throw in some garlic powder (because you completely forgot to mince up some garlic…hey I’m not perfect, but try to use minced garlic instead) and a little black pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes so the onion is softened.

Ham and Bean soup

Add chopped ham and mix it around a bit, cooking for a few minutes.

Ham and Bean soup

Then, add beans and 5 cups of broth. You can use more or less broth. Start with 5 cups and if you want your soup to be thinner, add more broth at the end.

Ham and Bean soup

Bring the whole thing to a boil and then reduce the heat until it’s simmering, which on my stove is the lowest setting. Cover and cook for a couple of hours. The longer you cook it, the creamier it’ll get. I was too impatient for that so cooked the soup until the beans were tender. Before serving, add more broth if you want. Taste it. Add salt and pepper if it needs it. Usually, I salt sooner, but the ham is already salty so you want to be careful not to over salt it. Serve in bowls and sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese on top because like bacon, everything’s better with cheese.

Ham and Bean soup

I really like how this recipe is simple, healthy, and comforting. Nothing beats a hot bowl of homemade soup on a cold winter day. Sorry canned soups. This is much better.

Ham and Bean soup

Ham and Bean Soup

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 1 carrot sliced
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 4 cups ham broth or other type of broth such as chicken or vegetable
  • 1/2 pound chopped ham
  • salt to taste
  • grated Parmesan

Instructions
 

  • Soak beans overnight in a bowl with at least 3 cups of water. Rinse beans with cold water and drain.
  • In a dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic powder, and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes until onions are softened.
  • Add ham and saute for another 5 minutes or until ham starts to cook a bit.
  • Add drained beans and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 90 minutes or longer, until the beans are soft and the soup is as creamy as you want it. The longer you cook the soup, the creamier it will be. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.
  • Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve with a little grated Parmesan on top.
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Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

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Hello COVID-19. You are an interesting creature.

I’ve been hiding out in my house, working from home, making sure my husband (also working from home) understands that it’s not cool to blast rock music while coding, and reminding my son that PE homework should be done outside, not upstairs. These are unusual times to say the least.

The only time I have gone out is to grocery shop (and a couple walks where I socially distanced myself from everyone else), which is an adventure in itself. I’m very organized or try to be. Chaos is not my friend. I’m a list maker so of course I make grocery lists. I plan out our meals for the week, add the ingredients to the list, and follow the list religiously at the grocery.

So imagine a world where I have no idea if my ingredients are actually at the store. Oh, first world problems! But I’ve adapted. No dried lentils so I bought canned, which goes into the soup at the last minute instead at the beginning. Easy peasy. I’m not sure how your grocery store is, but I’ve been fortunate enough to buy meat, eggs, and milk. Except for bread and dried beans, food staples have been plentiful (let’s not speak of toilet paper). I thought about making some bread, but all the flour was gone. Then there were no SunChips. Really people?! Just leave me some coffee and everything will be okay.

I’ve been reading a variety of articles about substituting ingredients. Today I want to share a recipe with you that hopefully you can make without any substitutes, but it’s easy enough to sub out stuff.

I love jambalaya because it’s so uniquely Louisianan with its mesh of French, Spanish, and West African influences. This regional dish reminds me of what makes Louisiana magical. A blend of flavors, architecture, celebration, history, mystery, and nature. New Orleans. French Quarter. Shot gun houses. The deep South. Cajuns. Creoles. Mardi Gras. Bayous. I’m not doing it justice. It’s just so different from my California home that it fascinates me.

Although there are different types of jambalaya, we can mainly agree that it consists of rice with sausage or smoked meat with chicken or shrimp. The dish came out of a need to substitute what the French, Spanish, and Africans immigrants could not find in their new home, and instead, to use what they did have. Sort of like us right now. The Creoles in New Orleans had access to tomatoes so their version of jambalaya is tomato-based to make up for the lack of saffron. The Cajuns, who lived in the rural country near the bayou had access to shrimp, crawfish, duck, and many other critters we might not eat (ummm…alligator…tastes like chicken?), used whatever meats they had on hand.

This recipe from the Food Network is more Creole than Cajun because it uses tomatoes, and consists of a combination of ham and shrimp. If you can’t find those meats because your town is full of ham and shrimp hoarders, use chicken, sausage, turkey, ground beef, pork, really anything you like and can find. As far as vegetables, the base contains onions and peppers, but you can sub out with carrots or celery. You can even get creative and try leeks, shallots, asparagus, etc.

Chop up your vegetables. I like to make lengthwise cuts to nearly the end of the pepper and then slice across for even squares.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Heat up some oil in a Dutch oven or large pot, and throw in your veggies along with some garlic. I love the colors.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

If your grocery store was pillaged of ham, and you are substituting raw meat, except for shrimp, brown it with the veggies.

Next, toss in everything else except the rice and shrimp. Seasonings, tomatoes, ham, and broth. See how easy this is?

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

I made this jambalaya tame with just an 1/8 of a teaspoon, but feel free to throw more cayenne pepper. The original recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon. If you’re feeling cautious now, you can add hot sauce at the end.

After bringing it to a boil, add rice. When the rice is done, throw in your shrimp. Shrimp cooks very quickly so no need to pre-cook.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Your apocalyptic meal is complete.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper plus more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper up to 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 ounces smoked ham diced
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 14 1/2 ounces no-salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • hot pepper sauce

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over a medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, and garlic. Saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. If you are using raw meat instead of ham, saute meat with vegetables until cooked.
  • Mix in the next 11 ingredients, salt through the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is done and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add the shrimp and cook, covered, for 5 minutes more, or until shrimp is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with hot pepper sauce.
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