While the holidays may not have any historical connection to the term "Go big or go home," it seems our modern day interpretation is just that. There's always that one house that has, like, 100 too many strands of lights across their lawn and you can basically guarantee that holiday sale emails will completely take over your inbox. Oh, and of course we can't forget about the overabundance of food—especially ham; there's always so much of it!
While your guests may be impressed by your massive holiday spread and beautifully glazed centerpiece, the meat is bound to become less appealing after you've eaten the leftovers through the New Year—but the taste bud fatigue doesn't have to occur as it has in years past. There are tons of ways to reuse your leftover meat, none of which involve making a ham and cheese sandwich or just reheating it with leftover sides. From enchiladas and pizza to soup and stuffing, we've got a stack of mouthwatering ideas we know you'll love. And if you happen to also have a leftover bird you need to work your way through, don't miss these 30 Things to Make With Leftover Turkey.
Upgrade Your Salad
Sick of your go-to sad lunch salad? Add leftover cubed ham to a bed of salad greens, along with cheese, hard boiled eggs, cucumbers, carrots, and other veggies to create a hearty chef's salad. Be sure to top off your salad with vinegar and olive oil for a dose of satiating—and heart-protective—healthy fats.
Pretend You're in Hawaii
Mix up a homemade pizza dough, dribble on one of these winning pizza sauces, sprinkle with cheese, and top off the pie with pineapple and slices of leftover ham. With a flavor profile far different than that of your holiday spread, this is one dish we can practically guarantee will be a welcomed addition to your dinner table. To round out the meal and add some much-needed fiber and produce to the equation, pair your 'za with a veggie-filled salad.
Add it to Pasta
Nab some whole grain or chickpea-based pasta and combine it with some spinach, peas, and leftover ham. Top it off with a healthy Greek yogurt-based sauce for a savory—yet waist-conscious meal.
Make a Mexican Egg Breakfast
Huevos motuleños, a Mexican egg dish that's rolled inside a warmed tortilla, is an easy and delicious way to start using up your leftovers. Topped with a spicy habanero sauce and stuffed with beans, ham, and onions, it's overflowing with flavor and nutrients your body craves after a week of holiday feasting. Click on over to Saveur to learn how to make it.
Upgrade Your Mac 'n' Cheese
One of the easiest ways to upgrade a box of mac 'n' cheese is top it off with some bacon or ham. And since you're flush with the latter, we suggest going with that. Cube up the meat and toss it into the pot before smoothing your pasta with cheese.
Craft a Delicious Brinner
Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea—especially when it's a protein-packed ham frittata. To make our go-to rendition beat 6 eggs with black pepper, a pinch of salt, and Parmesan cheese. Sauté ½ cup of chopped asparagus and ½ cup of chopped cooked ham in 1 teaspoon of melted butter or coconut oil for 3 minutes in an oven-safe pan. Add the egg mixture to the pan and stir gently. Cook until the egg mixture has set on the bottom (about 4 minutes) and sprinkle with parsley. Place the pan in the oven and broil for about 3 minutes, or until the frittata is lightly browned. To add some heat to the equation, top each slice with some minced jalapeño peppers. Looking for even more delicious egg ideas? Don't miss these 25 Delicious Egg Recipes to Stay Skinny.
Try a New Twist on Zoodles
Nearly every spiralized noodle recipe we've come across relies on chickpeas, poultry, or beef for added protein. But ham can be tasty atop a bed of zoodles, too. Shawnda, the culinary mastermind behind the blog, The Brewer and the Baker, shares her go-to way to mix pork with zoodles in her post, Zoodles & Cheese with Ham and Peas. Click on over to her site to find out how to whip up the dish at home.
Have Enchilada Night
Enchiladas are another dish that's not typically thought of as a home for ham, but that really should change. Interested in giving your ham a Mexican makeover? Here's how to do it: While your oven is warming to 350°F, spray a 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Then, combine chopped and cooked ham with 1 cup of Greek yogurt, 1 small can of chopped green chiles, and 2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese in a large mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture into 6-inch whole grain tortillas, fold over the sides and place them fold-side down into a baking dish. Top with a low-sodium enchilada sauce, cover the dish with foil, and bake 30 or until thoroughly heated. Next, sprinkle with some additional cheese and bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve the dish with a side salad to sneak in some extra veggies and nutrients.
Toss It Into Risotto
Big risotto fan? Add your leftover ham to the pot along with some snap peas, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.
Mix it with Brussels Sprouts
Leftover ham adds some much-needed saltiness to savory brussel sprout dishes. For a super tasty dish, combine 3 pounds of sprouts with 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Lay out the dressed veggies on a greased baking dish and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes, stirring twice. Then, top the veggies with ¼ cup of finely chopped leftover ham and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the sprouts are tender and lightly browned on edges. Top with Parmesan cheese to taste and serve immediately.
Whip Up a Denver Omelet
A Denver, or Western omelet calls of ham, peppers, onions, and cheese for flavor. If you've never made one before it's definitely something you should scramble up while you're kitchen is overflowing with ham. Pair the dish with a slice or two of fiber-rich Ezekiel bread or some fruit for a well-rounded meal you're sure to enjoy.
Add it to Stuffing
Have leftover stuffing, ham, and veggies from your holiday feast? Combine them to make an entirely new dish. Mix three cups of stuffing together with 1 cup of chopped ham, ½ cup of leftover veggies, 6 eggs, 2 tablespoons of milk, salt, and pepper, in a bowl. Then, bake in a casserole dish at 375°F for 25 to 30 minutes. If portion control isn't your forte, consider dividing the mixture into a muffin tin before baking. This way you'll have pre-portioned servings already divvied up! For more ways to dial back your portions, don't miss these 18 Easy Ways to Control You Portion Sizes.
Make Some Kabobs
Looking for an excuse to fire up your grill? Liz, the talented recipe developed behind the blog According to L, has a delicious idea for using up leftover ham—and it's one that will give you all the feels of summer even if it's snowing outside. All you need to make her warm weather-inspired kabob recipe is leftover ham, canned pineapple, brown sugar, soy sauce, and ground ginger. Paired with a bed of brown rice these pineapple and ham skewers make a fabulous and filling meal that can't be beat. Snag her recipe here.
Swap Chicken for Ham in Pot Pie
Pot pie is one of the many American comfort foods responsible for our collective health issues. But if you scale down the portion—with the help of a muffin pan—you can indulge your cravings without expanding your waistline. Indulge in one or two minis and round out your meal with a robust salad topped with a vinaigrette dressing. The Food Charlatan has a recipe we can get behind, but it uses chicken. To make it with your leftovers, just sub in ham instead. Since there are so many other yummy things in the mix—onion, chicken broth, carrots, peas—you won't even notice a difference in flavor.
Grill Up a Grilled Cheese
The only thing better than a warm, melty grilled cheese sandwich? An innovative one that's topped with ham and avocado. Yum! For even more cheesy ideas you're sure to love, don't miss these 30 Grilled Cheese Ideas and Tips.
Craft a Breakfast Sandwich
Most of us have bread and eggs lying around, so why not combine them with some ham to craft a savory breakfast sandwich? Ditch the top piece of bread and eat it open faced style to nix some carbs and round out your morning meal with some fresh fruit or a breakfast salad. Yup, that's really a thing.
Try Asparagus Roll-Ups
If you've been looking for some new ways to get your family to get their veggies, you should definitely give these roll-ups a try. Stat by thinly slicing your leftover ham and laying them out, two slices high, flat on a clean surface. Then, spread each stack with 1 teaspoon of cream cheese or dijon mustard and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Next, place an asparagus sphere along the left side of the meat and then roll it up. Pop the roll-ups in a baking dish and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until they're heated. Though traditionally an appetizer, when paired with rice and veggies (like sautéed kale or a salad) you can transform this dish into a complete meal.
Make Deviled Eggs
Have guests staying in town after the holidays? They're bound to be hungry, like, all the time. Up your hostess game with a round of pre-dinner or mid-afternoon apps. Along with the asparagus and ham roll-ups, make a batch of deviled eggs. When you're making the filling, add some leftover minced ham to the mix to up the fancy factor and slowly—but surely—rid your fridge of all that excess meat!
Make a Fancy Sandwich
If a ham and cheese sandwich reminds you of your playground days, we don't blame you. But it is possible to upgrade your lunchtime ham without forgoing a sammy. Simply combine your leftover ham with thinly sliced pear and cheddar cheese on slices of bread (preferably one of these 20 Best Store Bought Breads) and a drizzle of honey before topping it off with the second slice. If you prefer something with a bit more substance, smear the bread with a thin layer of cream cheese before piling on the meat.
Warm Up With Some Soup
If you're partial to bone-in ham be sure to hold onto that bone! You can use it—along with some leftover meat—to craft a pot of split pea soup. Start making your concoction by sautéing a cup of chopped onions with oil in medium pot. Then, add 1 pound of dried split peas, the ham bone, salt and pepper to taste, and enough water to cover all of the ingredients. Allow the mixture to cook until a green liquid has formed and there are no peas left in the pot. This should take about 2 hours. During this time, you should check to see how much of the water has evaporated. You may need to add some additional H20 if the water starts to cook down too much. About five minutes before the soup is ready to come off the stove, add some chopped leftover ham to the pot. Allow it to warm thoroughly before serving. Oh, and by the way, you'll want to remove the ham bone before ladling the soup out!
Concoct a Catchall Casserole
While it's not exactly the most glamorous dish, the humble casserole is one of the fastest, cheapest, and smartest ways to get a healthy, belly-flattening meal on the table. And it's made even easier when you've already got pre-cooked meat on hand. To get rid of your leftovers and create a tasty meal, combine 1 ½ cups of leftover ham with 2 cups of cooked whole grain noodles, 12-ounces of canned and drained peas, 1 tablespoons of whole grain flour, ½ cup of mushrooms (or any other veggie), ½ cup of cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart buttered baking dish, and top with 1 ½ cups of milk and ½ cup of bread crumbs or rolled oats. Bake at 400°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top starts to brown. Looking for even more healthy casserole ideas? Don't miss these 25 Best Casserole Tips Everyone Should Know.
Serve a Breakfast Hash
Instead of feeding your holiday houseguests pastries and pancakes their bodies don't need, use their presence at breakfast the next morning as an excuse to work through all that leftover meat! A potato- and ham-based hash is easy to churn out in bulk and can be topped with eggs made however each of your guests prefers. We're partial to runny sunny-side-up eggs, but scrambled or over-easy, works well, too.
Cook Up Some Stuffed Peppers
Peppers are overflowing with protein and fiber, making the perfect base for wholesome additions like ham, brown rice, and calcium-rich cheese. Looking for even more healthy and simple recipes? Check out these 20 Lazy Dinner Recipes for Weight Loss.