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Hooray for ham

By Staff | Mar 20, 2020


Grit Magazine

Baked ham is a popular main course, but don’t forget its versatility when added to everyday dishes. Its succulent flavor can quickly turn ordinary fare into extraordinary meals. Ham can jazz up a variety of foods, including soups and stir-fries. Ham added to a simple pasta recipe makes for a scrumptious dish, and adding it to a stuffed baked potato is sure to bring a smile.

Leftover ham comes in handy to create quick, no-fuss meals on busy weeknights. It’s also a good way to stretch a dollar, because a little bit of ham goes a long way.

Here are some terrific-and extremely tasty-ways to add the savory flavor of ham to your meal planning.

Asian ham quinoa bowl

Vary the ingredients of this heart-healthy dish by trying rice instead of quinoa, or substituting cabbage instead of kale. Yields 4 servings.

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 cup sugar

Dash of hot pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic, minced, divided

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 cup chopped kale

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup fresh snow peas in pods, stringy tips removed

1 cup coarsely chopped ham

11/2 cups cooked quinoa, white or


1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted

1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, blend vinegar, soy sauce, broth, sesame oil, peanut butter, ginger, sugar, hot pepper flakes, and half the garlic with a wire whisk. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add kale and remaining garlic, and continue stir-frying for another 2 minutes. Add red pepper and snow peas, and stir-fry for 3 additional minutes. Stir in ham and quinoa, and cook for 4 minutes more.

Serve quinoa mixture in individual bowls, topped with several spoonfuls of sauce, along with toasted coconut, peanuts, and cilantro.

Note:To make delicious quinoa, follow the instructions on the package, but use chicken broth instead of water, and add 1 tablespoon of butter.

Fettuccini carbonara with ham

Carbonara is customarily made with pancetta, an Italian version of bacon. This recipe uses leaner, easier-to-find ham. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

16 ounces fettuccine or other pasta

2 large bay leaves

1 cup cooked, diced ham

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of black pepper

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese,

plus more for serving

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

Chopped fresh parsley

Chopped fresh basil

In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions, adding bay leaves to the water. Drain, and reserve 1/2 cup water.

Heat ham in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Transfer ham to a plate.

In a mixing bowl, stir together eggs, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.

Add remaining olive oil to skillet, and heat over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute, being careful not to brown it. Stir in pasta and ham, and cook for 5 additional minutes, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to low, and add egg mixture and reserved pasta water. Toss to coat pasta, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Garnish with parsley and basil. Serve with additional Parmesan to the side.

Ham alfredo rigatoni

Here’s an easy, 30-minute meal to serve your family. Yields 6 servings.

12 ounces rigatoni or other pasta

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups coarsely chopped broccoli

2 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup sour cream

5 ounces cream cheese, room


11/2 cups whole milk

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Black pepper, to taste

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese,

plus more for serving

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sherry, white wine, or chicken broth

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh

parsley, or 1 teaspoon dry,

plus more for serving

2 cups cooked, coarsely chopped ham

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the bay leaves to the water. Drain.

In a large bowl, toss pasta with olive oil. Cover, and set aside to keep warm.

Place broccoli in a 2-quart saucepan, and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and let broccoli stand in water for 3 minutes. Drain.

While pasta and broccoli are cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add sour cream, cream cheese, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a dash of pepper, and Parmesan cheese, and whisk until smooth, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in sherry, parsley, and ham, and cook for 4 minutes, or until creamy and somewhat thick. If sauce becomes too thick, stir in a little additional milk.

Add broccoli and sauce to pasta, and stir to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Garnish with additional parsley, and serve with additional Parmesan.

Ham omelet bakes

These little omelets can be served hot from the oven, or made ahead for a scrumptious breakfast on the go. Yields 4 servings.

3 flour tortillas (7-inch diameter)

Cooking spray oil or butter

2 cups peeled, diced potatoes

4 tablespoons cooking oil, divided

1 cup cooked, diced ham

1/4 cup diced onion

1/3 cup diced red pepper

1/3 cup diced green pepper

6 eggs

2 tablespoons whole milk

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Spray both sides of tortillas with cooking spray oil, and then cut each into quarters.

Place 3 tortilla quarters, pointed end down, in each of four 8-ounce ramekins, overlapping them slightly to form a crust.

In a 2-quart baking dish, toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Cover dish, and microwave on high for 6 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil. Add potatoes, and cook until slightly browned. Add ham, and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Heat remaining oil in same skillet. Add onion and peppers, and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until partially soft. Add to potato-ham mixture.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and a little salt and pepper. Stir in cheeses, and add to potato-ham mixture. Stir gently to combine.

Divide mixture evenly among crust-lined ramekins.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Ham pepperoni calzones

Calzones can be made a day ahead, and heated before serving. This recipe makes 5 calzones, but they’re so large, one may be enough for two people. Yields 5 to 10 servings.

11/2 cups warm water (105 to 110 F)

21/4 teaspoons yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive or corn oil

4 cups flour, divided

2 cups marinara or pizza sauce, divided

5 thick slices ham

12/3 cups ricotta cheese

50 pepperoni slices (about 4 ounces)

12/3 cups mozzarella cheese

2 egg whites

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water, yeast, and honey, and stir with a fork to blend. Let stand for 6 minutes.

Using the whisk attachment, and with the mixer set to medium-low, blend yeast mixture until combined. With mixer running, add salt and oil. Add 1/2 cup flour, and continue mixing until thoroughly blended.

Replace whisk attachment with bread hook. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until all flour is mixed in. Increase speed to medium, and continue mixing, using a spatula to scrape sides of bowl as needed, until dough is elastic and smooth, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, turning once to coat both sides. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.

Divide dough into five equal portions. Roll each portion into a 9-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick.

Preheat oven to 500 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Top each dough circle with about 3 tablespoons marinara, leaving 1 inch of clear space on three sides and 3 inches of clear space on the remaining side. Over the sauce, layer a slice of ham, 1/3 cup ricotta, 10 slices pepperoni, and 1/3 cup mozzarella.

Brush edges of dough with water, using a pastry brush. Take the side of the dough that has 3 inches of clear space, and fold it over the filling. Crimp edges, and snip 3 small holes in the tops.

In a small bowl, whisk egg whites until blended. Brush over calzones, and place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden-brown. Serve hot with remaining marinara for dipping.

Squash soup with ham and swiss

You can make this hearty soup in less than an hour, if you roast the squash ahead of time. Yields 6 servings.

1 butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds)

2 red peppers

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cups peeled, diced potatoes

1 cup water

1 tablespoon chicken base or

3 bouillon cubes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

11/2 cups cooked, cubed ham

21/2 cups milk

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

3 tablespoons sherry, white wine,

or chicken broth

Chopped chives

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut squash in half, and scoop out seeds. Fill seed cavity halves with a little water to keep them from drying out while baking. Bake for 1 hour, or until squash is fork-tender. Let cool, and then cut flesh into bite-sized chunks. Set aside.

Preheat broiler. Set peppers on cookie sheet, and place in center of oven. Broil until skins are blistered, about 4 to 6 minutes, turning once. Remove peppers from oven, cover with a dish towel, and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove skin, stems, and seeds. Dice peppers, and set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add potatoes, water, chicken base, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to high simmer, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Do not drain.

Stir in ham, peppers, squash, milk, and cheese. The soup will be a little chunky. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until heated through. Stir in sherry, and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Ladle soup into individual bowls, and serve garnished with a sprinkling of chopped chives.

Excerpted from GRIT. To read more articles from GRIT, please visit www.grit.com or call 866-803-7096 to subscribe. Copyright 2020 by Ogden Publications Inc.

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