Around Easter time, I learned that I qualified for a free ham from my grocery store. But I had no plans to cook it for the holiday, so off it went to my freezer.
Every market day since then, I found myself staring at the 10-lb. ham in my freezer when I went to store other items, marveling at how much space it was taking up. This past weekend, I vowed to do something about it. I brainstormed and made a list of recipes, gathered some necessary groceries, thawed and boiled the ham, and made these items. (Note: If you don’t happen to have a 10-lb. ham lying around, don’t eat ham, or want to make these dishes a little lighter, you could substitute in turkey ham instead.)
Split Pea Soup
I made the soup to the specifications of my recipe using turkey ham, just substituting in a pound of the ham and using the water from the ham in place of water or fat-free chicken stock. (Next time I think I’ll do half ham water, half regular water, or just the chicken stock, to lessen the fat content.)
Ham and Apple Salad
- 2-3 oz. ham, diced
- 1 oz. of a smoky and/or sharp cheese–I went with gouda
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, diced (Go with your preference for peeling. I kept the skin on.)
Add the ingredients on top of a bed of spinach (as I did) or lettuce. I ate it without dressing, but if I had it handy, I would’ve used low-fat honey mustard dressing. Thinly sliced red or white onion also would’ve been a nice addition.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
This one also uses the recipe I usually use for turkey ham. The only substitution this time was using the ham.
Ham and Pineapple Grilled Cheese Sandwich
This is similar to an earlier recipe I posted, with bacon and fat-free American cheese. This time, I’ve used the ham instead and given a foodie-worthy upgrade to the other fillings.
- 2 oz. ham, thinly sliced
- 1 light hamburger bun
- 1 slice smoked cheddar
- 2 thinly sliced pineapple rings
- 1T I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light
Preheat a nonstick pan to medium-high. Separate the bun halves. (You’re going to use the bun inside out, so the butter toasts the bread better.)
Add the slice of cheese. Top with a pineapple slice. Add the ham, then the other pineapple slice, and close the sandwich.
Spread 1/2T of the butter spread on one of the buns (again, on the white side, not the brown side). Add the sandwich to the pan, butted side down, pressing down on it a bit. Add the rest of the spread to the unbuttered bun half at this time. Flip the sandwich when the part that’s cooking is brown enough. Repeat with the other side.
Notes: The only thing I’d change with this would be to let the pineapple get to room temperature. Mine came from the fridge and it didn’t get warm, even though the cheese did melt.
Jerk Ham and Pineapple Hash
- 1lb ham, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- Approximately 2c diced pineapple (fresh or canned in juice and drained)
- 4-5T jerk marinade
- 4-5T apricot preserves
- 2T balsamic vinaigrette
Heat the onion in a pan (with or without oil) until it’s translucent. Add the ham; heat through.
Mix the marinade, preserves and vinegar together while the ham and onions are heating. Add the pineapple to the pan once the ham mixture is heated through. Pour the jerk mixture into the meat mixture; heat everything through.
Notes: I used the vinegar because I didn’t have a full bottle of jerk marinade. But if I did, I would’ve used two more tablespoons of the marinade and omitted the vinegar. (The vinegar didn’t dramatically alter the taste of the sauce, though.)
Serve the hash over brown or white rice or whole wheat or regular couscous, or as is, with a starch vegetable. Another interesting idea: Serve it as a burrito/wrap sandwich, with black beans and rice or arroz con grandules.
Creamy Spaghetti With Ham and Garlic Peas
I was inspired to make this by a gigantic pasta cookbook I got as a wedding present. Pasta with ham, peas and a heavy cream sauce or a boatload of parmesan cheese seems to be a beloved Italian meal; this is my attempt at making something skinny and also quick to bring to the table. (Again, using turkey ham instead of pork would lighten things up a bit more.)
- 1/2 lb. of ham
- 1 package Birds Eye Steam Fresh Garlic Baby Peas & Mushrooms
- 1/2 jar light Alfredo sauce (I went with Classico, but Ragu makes it, too.)
- 1/2 package whole wheat spaghetti
Cook and drain the spaghetti. Heat the vegetables in the microwave according to package instructions, then heat the ham in the microwave in a microwave-safe container.
Mix the pasta, ham, vegetables and sauce together. Voila!
Note: I typically don’t cook with Alfredo sauce and I was a little afraid scorching it, so I didn’t heat it up. Feel free to heat it if you’d like. Also, in researching it a bit, many recipes I’ve seen use a chunky pasta, like shells or bowties, or fettuccine over thin spaghetti; you can always go with your favorite pasta shape.
Epilogue: After making these recipes over the course of two days, I set aside a pound of ham for miscellaneous use (including omelets and other salads), and I gave the remainder to my mother, along with some of these things I made. In the future, before freezing the ham, I think I’ll cut it into 1-lb. and 1/2-lb portions, using my food scale as my guide.
I doubt I’ll find myself in this predicament again, but at least I know there are simple ways for me to make a ham disappear!