Split Pea Soup
Ham hock (or approx. 4 cups cubed ham)
2 celery stalks
2 red potatoes
4 garlic cloves
salt & pepper
Place ham hock in large pan and fill 3/4 full with water (approx. 6-7 cups). Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove ham from the bone and take it out. Dice remaining ingredients (except spices) and add to pan, bring back to a boil, then simmer until tender, covered. Before serving, add sprig of thyme and a handful of parsley Add parsley to garnish. Makes approx. 8 servings.
*The flavor of this soup turned out extraordinary. I personally left it broth-y for personal taste instead of blending it and/or adding cream or thickening agents. So it's dairy and gluten free, if that matters. I also make my soups in somewhat bigger batches to freeze or use for leftover lunches to keep my family eating well.
So, the thing with my style of cooking, is that I do a lot of Oh! That looks good! and Another cup of this won't hurt! Don't be afraid to be flexible when cooking, experiment, and tune in to what you specifically like. Add an extra potato, throw it in the food processor, add some new spices... It can be really fun, and hones your cooking skills if you try enough!