Let’s play a word association game, shall we? If I mention the words “holidays” and “leftovers,” please raise your hand if the first thing that came to mind was turkey. Turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey pot pie…you get the idea.
But news flash, Thanksgiving isn’t the only holiday meal that lives on in the form of delicious reincarnations for days after the main event. That’s right, I’m looking at you, Christmas ham. Because it wouldn’t be a proper holiday meal without wayyy too much food being prepared, chances are you’ll have plenty of smoked beast remaining once dinner comes to a close. Check out some favorite ideas in case you’re in need of a little leftover ham recipe-ration.
Sautéed Peas and Ham
You’ve been giving your kitchen quite the workout over the last month, so please, don’t feel guilty about phoning it in with this super-simple classic dish. Go on, dice up the leftover ham and bust out those frozen peas, you’ve earned this easy dinner win. Get our Sauteed Peas and Ham recipe.
Leftover Ham Mac and Cheese
If you’re of the “I’ve only got six days to gorge on all my favorite comfort foods before the new year starts and have to give the healthy eating thing a try again” school of thought, then you might as well wild out with this ham-studded, extra-cheesy, super-rich mac and cheese. Because it’s the holidays and YOLO. Get the recipe.
You can’t just follow up a Christmas feast like that with a plain old ham and cheese sandwich for lunch the next day. Please, way too basic. The sweet and savory vibe of retro-favorite Monte Cristo is one option, or you could go for the appropriately over-the-top French bistro favorite: the Croque Madame. I say bring on the creamy béchamel, crisp cheese crust, salty ham, and oozy fried egg, please. Again, you’ve got to enjoy those last remaining pre-resolution days, amiright? Get the recipe.
Ham, Cheese, and Mushroom Strata
Here’s a thought: Instead of wrapping up all of the Christmas dinner leftovers to be dealt with and repurposed at a later date, why not take some of that ham and just a little bit of time to prep this easy savory casserole? This way, you get to take the next morning to sleep in, comforted by the knowledge that an hour’s cook time is all that stands between you and one heck of a delicious brunch. Get our Ham, Cheese, and Mushroom Strata recipe.
Or, if you’d rather go the “A for effort” route with your leftover ham, there’s really nothing more impressive (or deeply satisfying) than this classic French egg, ham, and cheese tart. Props to this rendition for the clever addition of sweet caramelized leeks and tangy sour cream to the filling. Get the recipe.
Ham and Mashed Potato Pie
This pot pie/shepherd’s pie hybrid gets bonus points for finding an easy, creative solution for what to do with not one but two of your leftover Christmas dishes. Get the recipe.
Ham and Kale Risotto
This leftovers-inspired variation on the beloved Italian dish presents the winning combination of salty, savory ham with a rich, creamy rice porridge. And, in addition to being efficient and seasonally appropriate, the recipe also calls for everyone’s favorite trendy winter green: kale. (So it counts as healthy, right? Kind of?). Get the recipe.
Hawaiian Fried Rice
Because by now your palate is probably pretty exhausted with the usual wintertime flavor profiles, break from the mold with this non-traditional, sweet-spicy-savory play on fried rice. (Obviously, of course, if this kind of thing is your jam, pizza is a good way to go too). Get the recipe.
White Bean and Ham Soup
Once you’ve used the prime pieces of leftover smoked ham to make all of the above, reserve the bone and a cup or so of the remaining meat for this easy, delectable grand finale dish. It’s the kind of hearty, hug-you-from-the-inside soup that’s so tasty you’re almost grateful for the blistery winter weather that made you crave it in the first place. Get our White Bean and Ham Soup recipe.
Related video: The Ultimate Holiday Present Cake