Ham — it just is eaten at Christmas, but why? Most people are unaware that there is actually a rather ancient reason we eat ham at Christmas. Christmas as we know it evolved from the Germanic holiday of Yule. One of the many Yule traditions was the sacrifice of a wild boar to the Norse god Frey. Frey is the god of fertility and the harvest. He rides atop a shining boar, which is why ham in particular was chosen. The sacrificial boar was eaten at the holiday feast to bring fertility and a good harvest to the people in the coming year. As Yule, like many pagan holidays, was assimilated into the Christian belief, the boar failed to leave the table — even if it was no longer sacrificed — and the tradition of a Christmas ham was born. Trivia aside, chances are you’ll have ham this holiday and you’ll have more leftover ham than you know what to do with. So what do you do with it? You find some great leftover ham recipes, that’s what you do.
Leftover ham recipes: Grilled Ham and Cheese
Probably our family’s favorite leftover ham recipe is the classic, easy, grilled ham and cheese. Grilled cheese is great for picky kids that don’t like anything but meat and cheese on their sandwiches. You may also try adding onion, fresh mushroom, or even pickles — hey, don’t knock it till you try it!
Leftover ham recipes: Ham Pie
I found the recipe for this on a Bisquick box. The result is more of a ham and cheese quiche using the recipe linked, but you can also change the egg to Bisquick ratio just a tsk, and make more of an actual ham pie. I use 1 cup Bisquick, 1 cup milk, 1 egg.
Leftover ham recipes: Ham Macaroni Casserole
Let’s face it, you can throw just about anything with macaroni noodles and cheese in the oven and have a big pan of baked deliciousness. Ham is certainly no different.
Leftover ham recipes: Baked Beans with Ham
As a kid I probably enjoyed my father’s baked beans he made with the ham after Christmas more than I did the actual Christmas ham. This option is great when you get to the point you just don’t even want to taste anything that comes from a pig for at least a month, because the beans mask the ham well.
Leftover ham recipes: Chicken Cordon Bleu
This is my favorite use for leftover Christmas ham, because it takes something that very well could have been dog food or a mystery tin-foil box in my fridge until who knows when and makes it into something spectacular.
Leftover ham recipes: Wild Rice and Ham Chowder
Another great, end-of-days recipe as far as your leftover hams safe-to-eat lifespan, wild rice and ham soup is both hearty and delicious. Great to warm up the whole family after trudging through all this snow everyone but us folks up in Alaska are getting.
Ham also goes well in omelets, scrambles, various sandwiches, pastas, homemade pizza, baked potatoes, soups, and even salads. You’d be surprised how many scrumptious ways you can prevent wasting food, save money, and feed your family just on holiday meal leftovers.
What are your favorite leftover ham recipes?