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Monday, April 9, 2012

Great Ways to Use Your Easter Ham

I love a good ham dinner, but I get tired of eating ham for days on end trying to use it all before it goes bad.  Besides, there are lots of pieces to a ham that just aren't as pretty as those first sliced on Easter Sunday - they're darker, a bit tougher, and not quite as juicy, but still good, not-fatty ham.  What do you do with those?

We like to save the best pieces of ham for dishes that feature ham as a key ingredient, and we use those less-than-pretty pieces as toppings or garnishes that will add lots of flavor.

When choosing which pieces will be used for what, cut the best-looking ones into bite-sized pieces immediately and separate from the rest.  Then they're ready to go.  With the rest of the ham, cut off the fat and chop semi-finely with a food processor.  You can do so much with these smaller pieces of ham, and the best part is that you can no longer tell they weren't so pretty to start with!

So here are our favorite go-to ham recipes:

1.Ham, green beans, and potatoes.  A simple dish, popular in the heavily-Amish populated area of Pennsylvania where I grew up.  This is our favorite recipe for using up pieces of "pretty" ham.  It's easy, filling, and fairly healthy, especially if you go heavy on the veggies.  You can make this on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.

2.  As a pizza topping.  Whether you grill or bake it, chopped ham seems to add tons of flavor to a pizza.  It's my husband's favorite way to eat a homemade pizza - with peppers and onions, too.  It takes your pizza experience to a different level as the small pieces of ham take on a new texture in the oven and add bursts of flavor without the added grease that you get from sausage or pepperoni.

3.  In Parmesan Potato Soup.  Here again the ham is just one player among many, but the recipe overall is fairly healthy, and the ham adds extra flavor.  While my family likes this soup as-is, my husband particularly appreciates the addition of meat, and the ham does not risk getting soggy or squishy as even crumbled bacon sometimes does.

4.  As a baked potato bar addition.  We love to make baked potatoes our way, throwing potatoes in the oven to roast and broccoli on to steam, you can have a filling, yummy dinner ready in minutes.  Set out dishes of diced ham and cheese, and you've got a complete meal.

5.  As a salad topping.  Most of us have dyed eggs and leftover ham, so de-shell and slice those eggs and run those ham bits through the processor.  Put both over romaine with some cheese, and you've got a yummy salad ready to go.

6.  For breakfast - try Hearty Breakfast Casserole.  You can make this casserole with any kind of meat you choose, but ham seems to be more widely accepted than sausage or bacon.  If that's the case with your family, or if you just want to try something different, go with ham.  It makes this dish seem a bit lighter but keeps the yummy elements of eggs, potatoes, meat, and cheese.  You definitely won't be hungry if you eat this for breakfast!

These are our favorite ways to use our leftover ham.  What are yours?


  1. What great ideas! The green beans - potatoes - ham combo takes me back to childhood :) I, too, was a teacher who then stayed home with my kids and home-schooled them through pre-school. Your family is adorable!

    1. Thanks, Susan! You just can't get these young years back. It's a great time to be home with them!

  2. These are great! I might just make the ham with beans and potatoes tonight - after the craziness of yesterday some nice comfort food sounds perfect :-)

    1. Lindsay, this is comfort food at its best. Hot and filling but simple to throw together, it's the best kind of dish. I'm looking forward to having this tomorrow!

  3. Great ideas. My family and I had ham as well Easter Sunday. And after Sunday I didn't want anymore. lol

    1. It takes a lot to make me tired of anything, but I freeze the chopped ham in small amounts and then use it up slowly. That way none of us go ham crazy! I hope you enjoyed your Sunday dose. :-)