“What can you do with all that leftover ham? People can save that?” Chet Massey

 

Last week, Mama and I rolled out of the house having been couped up sick and not feeling well, for the past 3 to 3 ½ weeks, to venture to Farmington, the little town pretending to be a big town, after all it was Easter weekend, and the kids were coming over for dinner. “I have to get groceries”, she says. In total agreement, an opportunity to get out to smell the air, as we have not been out lately. I have been as creative as I can putting together our meals with what we had in the house and the “freezer abyss”, it was time.

Dodging potholes and bumps, driving pie-eyed as it seems, admiring the vanishing snow, looking for signs of spring on the trees and counting how many mailboxes got knocked down this winter by the plows, we discuss our menu and our shopping trip to take full advantage of our outing. Before we enter “the real Farmington”, as Mr. Chet says, our car drifts into The Brickyard Restaurant parking lot. This friendly little spot has become a favorite of ours, because they cook a mean haddock and the scallops are young and sweet as well. For a lunch spot, their home styled sandwiches, seafood plates, and lunch specials are outstanding and worth every penny.

Mama holding the door behind me, I stumble through the doors with my crutches, and I see arms waving at me furiously, Mama steps around and says, “Oh, look who it is.” “We know these people”, (Joan and Chet Massey). At this point we are being showered with hugs and an invitation to sit with them as he pats his seat for me to sit next to him. If you know Mr. Chet, as I call him, you know he’s an engaging comedian and you have to keep on your toes conversing with him. Miss Joan, a delightfully industrial-strength woman who puts up with him 24/7, has it going on in my book. Non stop talk and drollery from sailboats, gardens, old times, doctors, people watching, our subject turned to Easter dinner and Ham, that’s where he turns to me and says, ‘What do you do with it?” Taken a back a little, I started thinking and assured him, there was life for Mr. Ham after the celebration.

If a ham adorned your table on Easter, chances are you’ll certainly have some extra ham at the end of your dinner that will be chilling out in the refrigerator. Leftovers are a cultural shift that needs to happen. Don’t let that beautiful ham go to waste! ~ Americans throw away 27 tons of food (average of 3.5 pounds per person, per week) costing the economy each year an estimated $144 Billion in clogging landfills, and generating gasses that harm the ozone 1.

Making new dishes from leftovers is common in world cuisine. Leftovers are not popular with everyone, people just don’t like them, or they are tired of eating them, and today’s cooks sometimes just don’t know what to do with them. Being a taught resourceful Scrappy Chef which doesn’t like wasting anything that can be re-purposed, and be really good, we’re gonna cover super easy ideas that won’t keep you in the kitchen and like a magician you’ll transform what was once your holiday dinner into a fanfare of yummy, yummy, good for the tummy food dishes. These 11 ideas will get you great raves, they are quite simple to put together and Mr. Ham, once resting on your table lives on. So Mr. Chester, here are some answers to your question.

#1. Mac & Cheese with Ham

Turn your every day standard Macaroni and Cheese into a “Ham-Tastic” creation for a one pan week night dinner idea. When combining your pasta and cheese sauce, add diced ham and bake until you get that crusty, bubbly top for surprisingly delicious change. The same can be done with # 2. Scalloped Potatoes, adding diced or chopped ham to them will elevate your potato dish to another level. Serve with crusty bread and roasted carrots or whole peas (balancing your colors. LOL). How about using that gorgeous ham into a dish like #3. Ham and Cheese Quiche or go big for breakfast #4. Ham Fritatta adding green peppers, onions, Fontina cheese, Swiss and Brie, slowly baked until golden brown for Sunday Brunch served with a pitcher of Bloody Mary’s. #5. Ham & Pineapple Pizza. Roll out a store bough crust, add some sauce, grated cheese, diced ham, pineapple chunks, a little spices and bake and you’ve brought a bit of Hawaii to your dinner table. Get creative with a casserole. It’s flexible and economical in terms of ingredients and effort, making use of all your Easter sides like, #6. A Penne and Ham Casserole. This hearty dish using any type of pasta combined with leeks or spinach, diced celery, halved cherry tomatoes, diced or chopped ham, make a Sour Cream Pesto or use a Garlic Alfredo sauce, toss, heat in the oven until bubbly. Yummy! My favorite always has been a

# 7. Ham Omelet in the morning with toast, sliding that half moon of eggs with onions and cheese and ham out of the pan into the plate, all warm and gooey, Oui! Oui!. # 8. Mini Ham Sliders, How can you have leftover ham and not have a ham sandwich? Grilled ham and cheese, Mini sliders made with jumbo biscuits, baby burger buns, sliced French Bread slid into a Panini grill until toasty brown, adding cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, or a German flair with sauerkraut, enjoy a mini Reuben, (MaMa’s favorite). How about a nod to something healthy, celebrate the end of the holiday, not regretting all the chocolate eggs the Easter Bunny “made” you eat. # 9. Crispy Apple and Ham Salad. Combine fresh greens, sliced celery, red onions, cherry tomatoes, diced ham, Granny Smith apples, sliced for a fresh and crunchy factor, and with a splash of apple vinegar and olive oil, will make that Bunny rabbit head for the hills and hide out until next year.

#10. A Latin infused Pasta Ham Salad. Prepare fancy shaped pasta, (for you, Mr. Chet) chill, add green olives, chunks of cucumber, Jimica {Mexican Turnip, taste like a pear potato}, chopped Cilantro, cherry tomatoes, Feta cheese and mix with a Green Goddess or Avocado dressing. Lasts but not least, a favorite at the Scrappy Chef house, as well as MaMa, #11. Canadian Whole Pea Soup. (Recipe featured in prior column) Boiling the bone, with a mire poix for several hours, the aroma filling the house, you can use lentils, white beans or whole or split green or yellow peas and rock that leftover ham-not wasting a single morsel!

You can treat your freezer to your leftovers as well, So “Happy Haming”

Hope you enjoyed your holiday. As always you can drop me a line at my

E-Mail…[email protected]. P.S. The Scrappy Chef Carrot Cake Cheesecake we had for Easter was FABULOUS! We have one piece left, I’m going to have it before mama gets it. Nah, who am I kidding, one cake two forks! -Erma Bombeck said- Seize the moment. Just think about all those women on the “Titanic” who waved off saying “No Thank You” to the dessert cart.”