Tag Archives: recipes

Favorite Ham Leftover Solutions

My kids and I walked over to a local park yesterday, and my son decided to gather up all of the first-of-the-season dandelions. I forgot the wonder of dandelions as a kid– the joy of every stage of them from a bright yellow flower to the wish-blowing-seed stage. Part of the joy of parenting is getting to experience the wonder again through your kid’s eyes. Confronted with a pile of lopped-off flower heads, we decided to make something of them:

I use this anecdote to introduce the daunting world of ham leftovers. There’s a truism: Eternity is two people and a ham. Not surprisingly, adding two additional smaller mouths doesn’t seem to diminish our ham surplus by much and so I’m trying to get creative with our Easter ham leftover meals. Yes, by the end of a week of ham dinners they can be as ominous as a yellow-head in your lawn, but I swear you can make something good from the situation.

My top three favorite ham meals with quick recipes:

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 to 3 lbs potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (I like to use a mandolin– it’s worth the investment!)
  • 1 cup of diced ham
  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar, with additional cheese for topping if desired.
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper (white if you have it!)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray the bottom of a large casserole dish or 9X13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Lower temperature, and add flour, mixing until mixture turns golden (don’t burn!). Then, add milk slowly, mixing constantly.
  3. Once mixture is smooth, add cheese, garlic powder, and pepper and keep at a low temperature.
  4. Line the bottom of the casserole dish with a third of the sliced potatoes, topping with a third of the ham. Finish the layer with a third of the cheese sauce.
  5. Alternate potatoes, ham, and sauce until all three layers have been put down, and top with additional cheese.
  6. Bake, covered with foil, for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until potatoes break apart easily with a fork and the casserole is bubbly.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of dried green split peas
  • 1 ham bone with meat, additional ham as desired
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/2 tsp of dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 4 cups of veggie broth
  • fresh lemon (if desired)
  1. Combine ingredients in a crock pot and cook for 8 (if pre-soaked the split peas) -10  (if didn’t presoak) hours on low.
  2. Before serving, remove the hambone to a cutting board and cut remaining useful meat, stirring it back into the soup. If desired, squeeze fresh lemon over soup and stir in (adds a nice, citrusy freshness).

Savory Waffles, adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour (I use a 50/50 split of whole wheat and all-purpose)
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk (or make your own)
  • 4 tbsp melted, cooled unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup finely diced ham
  • 3/4 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar, fontina– any mild cheese is a good choice for this)
  1. Preheat waffle iron and preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, and egg.
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients gently– just like most recipes involving baking powder, you don’t want to overmix. You might see a few lumps remaining, but that’s normal. Fold in the ham and cheese until incorporated.
  4. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray, the add the correct amount of batter for your particular waffle iron. Cook until golden brown, and place on a baking sheet in oven until all waffles are prepared.

I can vouch for each one of these recipes, and the savory waffles are an special favorite in our household!

Happy ham season– sometimes eternity can be just the right amount of time to enjoy something good.

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BLTs that are Built Lovingly Tall

To me, the tastes of summer have always included watermelon and peaches and corn… But the thing that speaks summer to me the most is the good old-fashioned tomato. Whenever I tell my husband that tomatoes are ripening in my garden, he gets disappointed when I bring in a handful of cherry tomatoes. When the big guys start getting ripe, that’s when the real fun begins.

One of the foods that I hated as a child but love now would be the BLT sandwich. I’m not a big bacon person, which puts me at odds with the rest of Iowa. We Iowans have the blue ribbon bacon festival every year, which sports everything from bacon-flavored beer to bacon-flavored ice cream, not counting bacon-wrapped everything.

This version of the old classic includes some elements which really highlight the tomato and lettuce aspects of this dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did last night…

World’s Best BLT (adapted from MarieRnyr)

  • 1 good quality fresh baguette, split lengthwise in half, but not separated, soft centers removed
  • 5 tablespoons mayo
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 2 large good quality tomatoes or 4 small good quality tomatoes
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, leaves separated, washed, and dried

HOUSE DRESSING use 3 to 4 Tablespoons

  • 14 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 12 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 12 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Make your bacon by your preferred method. I like to do it this way:

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, and place raw bacon down directly on the foil (not on a rack). Put pan in a cold oven and set for 400. Bake bacon for 20 minutes, or until reaches your desired level of crispiness. Remove pan from oven and transfer bacon to paper towels to remove extra oil.

  1. Next, make the house dressing, by combining all ingredients in a mason jar. Shake thoroughly.
  2. Under a broiler or on a griddle, lightly toast the inside of the baguette.
  1. Combine the mayonnaise and pesto.
  2. Spread the pesto mayonnaise all over the inside of both halves of the baguette.
  3. Lay the bacon along the length of the bottom half of the bread.
  4. Lay the tomato slices on top of the bacon and drizzle with the house dressing.
  5. Fill the remaining cavity with the lettuce leaves.
  6. Close the sandwich tightly.
  7. Cut on the diagonal with a sharp serrated knife into 2 to 4 pieces, depending on your hunger level. You may need a toothpick to hold the sandwich together.
  8. Pig out. (Quite fittingly.)
bacon layout
Before baking
lettuce
Lettuce share this sandwich… it’s really too much for one person.
bacon
Perfect bacon.
BLT
The finished product!

My husband re-proposed after taking a bite.  Hope you have a similarly good experience!

Chili and Cinnamon Apple Cornbread

Yes, this is going to be as delicious a post as the title suggests…

I think we all have those foods that, as a kid, we pooh-poohed without giving them a chance.  For my husband, it was eggplant.  For me, tuna, chicken salad, and chili.  The dislike for chili came from being served it so often that I just couldn’t appreciate it.  Now, my family served up chili with a big scoop of cottage cheese in the middle and sometimes macaroni noodles, but otherwise the flavor was pretty standard fare… except that we were always eating tomatoes my father had canned.  I realize now (older, wiser, blah blah blah) that garden fresh tomatoes can really make the best chili. And so do fresh peppers and fresh onions, if you’ve got them on hand.  I was pretty pleased that all I had to buy for this recipe was the meat! Continue reading Chili and Cinnamon Apple Cornbread