an army wife's guide to life

food and homemaking goodness

Split Pea and Andouille Soup

We have had so much snow here in Kansas the past few weeks, and that makes me just want to curl up with a cup of coffee and a pot of soup on the stove. And living here in Kansas means that I’m in the mood for soup way more than I ever was in the south.

Which led me to this experiment. My mother-in-law makes split pea soup every Christmas time with the leftover Christmas ham, and it’s really good. But I’m all about twists. And I like to make things a little spicier for me. Hence the Andouille added to the soup.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 1 medium onion, minced
  2. 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  3. 1 rib of celery, minced
  4. 1/2 cup shredded carrot (about 1/2 a large carrot)
  5. 2 boxes (32 oz.) beef stock
  6. 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  7. 1 can tomato sauce
  8. 2 cups dried split peas
  9. 1 large link of Andouille sausage, sliced in half
  10. Garlic Powder
  11. Chili Powder
  12. Creole Seasoning
  13. Salt and Pepper
  • cook onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in a deep pot with an inch of oil, until the vegetables get soft. add the remaining ingredients, including the seasonings, to taste. i would totally recommend you start out with a little bit, and then add more as you go. it’ll get deeper as you let it cook down, plus, overusing the creole seasoning is always a bad idea. it’s too spicy and just tastes funny if you use too much.
  • let it simmer until it’s all cooked down together, and sear and cut the sausage before adding it back to the soup.
  • i served it with fresh bread and fried okra.
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Making use of Everything

One of the things I’m trying very hard to do with this new year is reduce my waste. This especially includes things like leftovers, which before this year, we’ve been terrible about eating. Usually, we’d end up with a fridge full of leftover food and it would just slowly go bad and mold until we finally decided to clean it out. Which was always disgusting and I’d refuse to do it all on my own.

This year, we’ve done much, much better. There has been maybe 2 containers of leftovers from this year that I ended up throwing away, one of them because it just wasn’t very good and shouldn’t have been saved in the first place, but that’s another story. Which brings me to today’s recipe.

It’s a black bean soup made using the leftover cooking liquid from a pot roast. The recipe for that pot roast is here on The Pioneer Woman‘s website. Of course, I didn’t make it the same way she did, and I’ll point out the differences as I go, like always. 

Obviously, you can start this recipe the day before, like I did, and make your crock pot really work, or you can just put together the ingredients and make the soup. As far as money-saving goes, though, the best idea is to make the pot roast, and the soup. Here’s what I did different from the original recipe: I didn’t add the cherry peppers (hubby can’t take food that’s too spicy) or the pimientos (cuz I don’t particularly care for them) and I did add the tomato paste (because I love it). That’s the only difference. And it was DELICIOUS. We both loved it. If you’re just feeding two, that mean’s there’ll be leftovers (there were plenty here), and I left them on low overnight, to keep cooking and getting more tender and delicious.

The next morning, you’ll fish out the beef and some of the liquid and put it away, it’s leftovers for another night. If you finished all the meat the night before, just leave the crock pot on the low setting so it keeps developing flavor. Then you’ll want to add a pound of black beans and half a box ( or 16 oz) of stock to the pot and turn it back to high. I don’t soak my beans overnight because I’m lazy and they come out just fine on the high setting.

Once the beans are cooked, blend the soup with an immersion blender, or in a regular blender. Saute a small onion and some garlic in olive oil and add it to the pureed soup. And that’s it. Serve it with a nice, crusty bread and you have a warm, delicious meal for a snowy day.

I’m going to show you the picture of this soup, but be warned: it’s not pretty…like, at all.

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See, not pretty. But it is DELICIOUS, and you should just take my word for that.

Italian Black Bean Soup Recipe

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Cheater’s Ravioli

I’ve been finding some awesome ravioli recipes, but I haven’t even started to master making fresh pasta…so I needed a different way to try my ravioli recipes.

And then it came to me: I could stuff it into manicotti. And that is what this recipe is. It’s portobello mushroom manicotti. Instead of using any recipe I found online, I just made it up on the spot.

Here’s most of what you’ll need:

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I added a few things along the way (there was no real plan, I was completely improvising.), and, you’re obviously going to need some kind of pasta sauce (I used the pot of sauce I have in the fridge), but I’ll let you know what you’ll need.

Preheat your oven to 350°.

So, you’re gonna want to start a pot of water to cook the manicotti (this recipe will make more than enough for the entire box, if that’s what you’ll need. For two people, half the box will do. Go ahead and wash the mushrooms and let them drain in the sink while you chop the onion and garlic (I used 4 cloves) very finely. In a somewhat large pan, go ahead and start cooking the onions and garlic in a little bit of oil over medium heat, until they’re soft and the onions are translucent.

While the onions are cooking, chop the mushrooms finely, adding them to the pan once the onions and garlic are soft. Add salt and pepper while the mushrooms are cooking, letting them go until they’re soft. Add the mushroom mix to a blender, including all the liquids in the pan, add a little heavy cream (or milk will work, too), and blend until at least somewhat smooth. It doesn’t have to be that smooth, there can be some texture to it. Fold the pureed mushroom and ricotta together until completely mixed.

When the water boils, cook the manicotti according to package directions, then drain. You’ll want to let them cool a little before handling them, and you’ll probably be working on other things while that happens anyway. Go ahead and put a layer of sauce on the bottom of your pan. Once they’re cool, unless you have a pastry bag, you can split them down the middle, so they can lay flat, and fill them with the mushroom-ricotta filling before rolling them back up. If you have a pastry bag, or know some other, brilliant way of filling manicotti, leave them whole and fill them. Also, if you know some other brilliant way of filling them, you should let me know.

If you do it my way, they’ll look like this when you’re done filling them:

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Cover them with another layer of sauce. If you want to, add a layer of mozzarella over the sauce, but I didn’t because I ran out of cheese (which is a total crime in our household). Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered if you don’t have cheese, but I’d cover it if you add cheese for the first 15 minutes at least.

And, enjoy!

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I know I sure did.

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