Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ham and Potato Soup (A Favorite!)

We found this user submitted recipe on Cooking.com and we use it often at our house. You can find it HERE. We first used it when trying to find a new use for our leftover Christmas ham. It's quick, hearty and makes quite a bit for two people. Adam gets all the credit for picking it out. Shh - don't tell him I said that. ;) xoxo - Christina

Here is a basic recipe for Ham & Potato soup.  One of the things that I enjoy about this recipe is the flexibility.  It's very easy to adjust portion sizes depending on how many mouths you are feeding.  And it easily allows for you to make your own modifications to suit your tastes.  It is what I would call a “foundation” recipe that allows you to build other ideas on to it.

6 medium potatoes
1 large onion
2 cans green beans
Leftover bone and ham


1. Peel and cut potatoes into large chunks.

Place potatoes in bottom of stockpot or Dutch oven.  (This is where you have
flexibility for how much you want to make.  You want to be able to cover the
bottom of the pot with the potatoes.  So, if you want to make more, add more
potatoes or, vice versa, a smaller pot and less potatoes.)

2. Add enough water to cover the potatoes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  (This is the basic recipe.  But there is much flexibility here for adding different spices, depending on your desire.  I can easily see adding some heat here in the form of tabasco.)

3. Chop onion and add on top of potatoes.

4. Remove ham from bone.  Nestle bone down in potatoes.  (You can easily do this recipe without the bone, if you only have leftover ham.  This is how I made it last night.  It is tasty, either way.)

5. Cut ham into bite size pieces and layer on top.  (As can be seen, we used leftover ham that we kept in the freezer since Christmas.  But it doesn’t necessarily have to be frozen.  If you are going to use ham from the freezer, though, I would suggest removing ham from the bone and cutting into pieces before freezing.  We saved the ham in various forms … cut up for soup, steaks, etc. … to allow us some flexibility.)

6. Pour green beans on top of ham.  (When you are opening the beans, you can either drain the liquid from the cans before adding to the pot or just add the liquid with the rest.  This would depend on whether you want to serve as a soup or on a plate.  It can also depend on your personal taste, as well.)

7. Bring to a boil.

8. Reduce heat to medium and cover.

9. Cook until potatoes are tender (approx. 20 -30 mins.).

10. Once it is done, you can ladle into bowls and serve as a soup or use a slotted spoon to remove each layer and place on plates.

- Adam

To see how we used our leftover Thanksgiving turkey, click HERE. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Giveaway Winner

Well, we finally picked a winner.  We apologize for the delay.  It's been a bit of a crazy week in The Scrappy Housewife household.  So, without further ado, the winner of the cookbook and the recipe box is ...

Kristina @ A Home Made by KikiJan 10, 2012 05:23 PM
I'm a fan of The Scrappy Housewife on FB

Please contact us within 48 hours at thescrappyhousewife(at)gmail(dot)com to make arrangements to claim your prize.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ad hoc at home

The Hubs here.  One of the things we wanted to share with our food blog was our love of cookbooks.  I don’t know if you have noticed, but there are a ton of cookbooks available every year.  And we seem to buy up quite a few of them.  This is not a complaint.  We enjoy having them and exploring new recipes (well, I enjoy the exploring … the wife is a little apprehensive about my experimentation).  We have come across quite a few good ones, some expected and some surprises, and wanted to share our finds with you here.  So, every so often we will put up a review of one of the cookbooks we have come across and let you know what we think.
One of my absolute favorite cookbooks is Thomas Keller’s “ad hoc at home” (and the lower case letters were on purpose as you can see).

At first glance, the cookbook may seem a little intimidating to some.  I urge you to give it a closer look.  This cookbook covers a broad spectrum of recipes and is written from the perspective of family style recipes meant to be cooked at home.  And although you may shy away from some of the ingredients or techniques, I assure you that the recipes are easy to understand and Chef Keller does a great job of laying out the techniques and the extras that some other cookbooks might already expect you to know.
There is also quite a wealth of those recipes to be had.  Not just main courses, but also sides, salads … even how to make buttermilk biscuits.  The sticker price may be a little bit higher than you normally pay for a cookbook, but I would say that it is definitely worth the price.  There is quite a bit of knowledge (as well as just plain good food) contained in those pages.
One of the things I like the most about this cookbook is that it is obviously written from a desire to teach and not just impart good recipes.  As is stated on the jacket notes, Thomas Keller is a “born teacher” and it definitely shows in the amount of information imparted in the book and the way it is written.  Chef Keller spends a good deal of time teaching you about the techniques of cooking.  Something as simple as how to roast a chicken (something I am still trying to perfect) to how much time to rest meat … both before and after cooking.  There is an entire section at the back of the book on the “Basics”.  If you ever wanted to try your hand at something a little more challenging that your every day meals, but were afraid you didn’t have the technique for it, this is a good place to get started.
I would highly recommend this cookbook for anyone with a desire to learn more about techniques, food basics and cooking in general.  If you end up giving it a shot, drop us a comment and let us know what you think of it.  Get cooking.

Disclaimer: We were not compensated for writing this review, we just really liked this cookbook. We are positive Thomas Keller has no idea who we are, but we hope he enjoyed our review. If you click on the source link above you'll be redirected to Amazon.com's page for this book. We will not receive any sort of compensation should you choose to purchase it. Also, if you own it, we'd love to hear your thoughts as well! Leave us a comment!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christina's Quick Cooking Chili Mac

Before we get to the recipe, have you entered our GIVEAWAY? Click here for up to 8 chances to win!

Growing up, my mom made a dish called chili mac. Now, no disrespect to my mother, but when I say "made" I mean that she opened two cans of Hormel Chili and mixed it in with some cooked macaroni noodles. Don't get me wrong, it was super tasty, and I didn't know that you could make it from scratch. It never occurred to me. At least not until I had to start cooking for myself and my very patient husband. (We ate a LOT of Hamburger Helper back then.)

So today I thought I'd share my homemade version of mom's favorite quick meal.

It all started with this cookbook (I am a sucker for cookbooks):

It was one of those "by the register" things and I picked it up a long time ago. Inside was a very basic recipe for chili mac. We tried it and loved it and over the last couple of years I've changed it up a bit to make a chunkier heartier meal.

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients -

Not pictured: Cayenne (Bad blogger!)
1 lb. ground beef (I use 80/20 and drain the extra fat, but you can use whatever you prefer)
1 jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
Half to 1 whole bell pepper diced
Chili powder

1. Brown your ground beef and drain the fat (if necessary).

2. Add in the onion and bell pepper and cook until just tender.

3. Add in the Ragu. (Did you know that the main ingredients in chili and spaghetti sauce are the same? They are! The only thing missing from the Ragu is the chili spice.)

4. Add in the canned tomatoes.

5. Using a cupped palm, add a heaping palm full of chili powder and stir it in. (If you're hesitant to put in that much at a time, use a half palm full and add more to taste.)

6. Add cayenne to taste. (I use my palm to "measure" out about a couple of teaspoons of cayenne, but it's potent. Taste as you go.)

Stir your chili well and pop on a pot lid. Bring it to a boil and then drop the heat to simmer.

The best part of this recipe is that you can let it simmer as long or as short as you'd like. I literally pop on a lid, boil some water for the macaroni and let it simmer away while I wait the 7 minutes for the macaroni to cook. You can have this meal on the table in under half an hour OR you can make it in a slow cooker and let it go all day. It gets better with age.

When your macaroni is done cooking, you just drain it and mix it in with your chili and you're done! We like to top it with shredded cheddar and raw onion.

A couple of variations -
It's great with some kidney beans added to it for more fiber and texture. It's also really good by itself or with some crusty bread.

I hope you'll try it and let me know what you think!

xoxo Christina

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Welcome and a GIVEAWAY!

This Giveaway is now closed. Winner announced soon.

***edited to add: Make sure you leave a separate comment for each thing you do. If you put them all in one comment it will only count as ONE entry even if you've done all 8. Make sure you don't miss out on getting those extra entries counted!

Well, it's time. The Hubs and I (from here on out, we'll call him Adam...because that's his name) are launching our little food blog endeavor. To celebrate our launch and the fact that I now have over 120 followers on Facebook (yahoo!) we thought we'd start with a Giveaway! I'm sure you're ok with that right? ;)

Here's what we're giving away:

One brand new, unopened copy of The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook and one adorable recipe card box to brighten up your kitchen! :) You get both!

We ordered ourselves a copy of this cookbook as well. We've been drooling over it for centuries - OK, maybe not. But we've wanted it for awhile and wanted to share the love with you guys!

Here's how you enter:


Leave us a comment telling us the title of your favorite cookbook.

Optional Additional Entries:

1. Become a follower of The Scrappy Housewife Cooks via Google Friend Connect and leave us a comment here telling us you did.

2. Become a follower of the original The Scrappy Housewife Blog (full of DIY, crafts and organization ideas!) Come back here and leave us a comment telling us you did (This will make Christina aka Scrappy a very happy lady). If you are already a follower, make sure you leave a comment telling us so.

3. "Like" The Scrappy Housewife on Facebook. Come back here and leave a comment telling us you did. Be sure to include your name if it's different here and there. If you already Like The Scrappy Housewife on Facebook, make sure you leave us a comment telling us so.

4. Follow The Scrappy Housewife on Pinterest. Come back here and leave a comment telling us you did and be sure to include your name on Pinterest if it is different than your name here. If you already follow The Scrappy Housewife on Pinterest, leave us a comment telling us so.

5. Blog, Tweet, or Facebook post about our giveaway and leave us a comment with a link to your broadcast via social media.

ALL COMMENTS should be left here on this blog. Comments left on Facebook, other Scrappy blogs or anywhere else will not count as entries.

This giveaway is for US residents only (sorry!). Contest will run until Saturday, January 14th at Midnight (so, really midnight Sat/Sun). ONE winner will be chosen using Random.org. You have up to EIGHT (8) chances to win! Good luck!

Christina will be back Thursday with a quick and easy recipe for a cold night - we're talkin' under 30 minutes people!

Disclaimer - This giveaway is funded solely by us. We have no affiliation with America's Test Kitchen whatsoever. We're pretty sure they don't know who the heck we are. But we love them anyway. ;)