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How To Handle That Leftover Ham

For me, one of the best things about the holidays is all the wonderful leftovers. However, my husband starts to grow weary of ham sandwiches after a day or two, and I start looking for new ways to serve it up. You can make these recipes in the days that follow Christmas, or you can freeze it for later.

First cut off all the slices of ham. If the pieces aren’t big enough to slice, cube them instead. You can then freeze them in meal size portions for later use. Do not throw away the bone or the broth; instead, freeze them together for soup. Slices are good fried for dinner or with eggs for breakfast. Cubes are good to throw into a western omelet, salad, or baked beans.

Macaroni Salad with Ham

  • 1 pound box of pasta, cooked (you pick the shape)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup ham, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, adding the mayonnaise last. Add it a little at a time until it reaches the right consistency.  Chill, preferably overnight, to blend flavors.

Ham and Bean Soup

  • 1 pound bag of beans (I prefer navy or the like)
  • 1 large onion, chopped coarsely
  • 2 large carrots, chopped into “coins”
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 leftover ham bone with some meat and any broth
  • 1 large can or quart jar of tomato chunks with juice

The night before you plan to eat your soup, rinse the beans and soak them overnight. In the morning, rinse the beans again. Add the beans, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, broth, and bone to a large soup pot with enough water to cover it. I seldom time this and just let it simmer all day, adding additional water if the level goes below the beans. About an hour before serving time, remove the bone and add tomatoes.  Pull any meat from the bone (cut it up if needed) and return the meat to pot. Simmer an additional hour before serving.

Ham and Potatoes Casserole

  • 5 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups ham, chopped
  • 1/3 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • About 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Soft breadcrumbs

Place the potatoes and onions in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer until almost done. Drain. Place potatoes, onions, and ham in a casserole dish. (You can also add any partially cooked or frozen-then-thawed vegetable to this mixture.) Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until smooth. Add milk gradually until incorporated. Add cheese and whisk until melted.  Pour over potato/ham mixture. Take several slices of soft bread and grate it over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for about forty-five minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the mixture is bubbly.

Ham Loaf

  • 2 pounds cooked ham
  • 1 1/2 pound cooked pork (bacon works well)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Grind the ham and pork and then add rest of the ingredients. Turn into an oiled loaf pan or shape into a loaf for a flat roasting pan. Place into a 350-degree oven and bake for one hour.  At this point, you may add a glaze, brown sugar topping, or a tomato-based topping as for meat loaf. (I do not prefer any topping for mine, but many people do.) Bake another half hour.  Let rest ten to fifteen minutes before slicing.

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