Ham Challenge Round 1: An Introduction + Dinner

by Marcy on March 21, 2010 · 11 comments

If you celebrate Easter in your household, you are probably aware that it is right around the corner. When it comes to cooking Easter dinner, I have always favored purchasing and baking a spiral sliced, pre-cooked ham – mainly because I find them easy to make and because my family likes ham (including my picky 4 year old!). That is why – when a representative from the Ohio Pork Producers Council contacted me about participating in a “ham challenge” – that I decided to accept. I was asked to see how many meals I could make for my family using one ham (in this case an 8 lb., spiral sliced), and to share my experiences with all of you here.

It is no secret that when it comes to our meals, protein is often the most expensive component. In fact, I have shared with you in the past that I purchase my beef in bulk as a way to save money, and that I also like to purchase chicken and other meat when it is priced at $1.99/lb or less to have on hand in my freezer. And while I do try to incorporate pork into our diets at least once a week, I tend to focus more on stocking up on pork chops, roasts and loin when they go on sale. This challenge was eye opening to me in that I had never really considered purchasing ham and freezing it for future use – until completing this challenge.

I received my ham last week, and decided to make it for our dinner on Saturday night. As I mentioned previously, I received an 8 lb, spiral sliced, pre-cooked ham for this challenge. I decided to reheat it using the guidelines on the USDA website. I baked the ham face down (in the hopes that it would stay moist – it did), and added the glaze packet that came with the ham about 30 minutes prior to taking it out of the oven. Here is a picture of the final result:

Because I am near the end of my pregnancy and all about simple meals at this point, I decided to serve the ham with whole wheat noodles and frozen broccoli:

All in all, I would guesstimate that this meal cost around $8 total (Noodles – $1, Broccoli – $1.50, Ham (1.5 lbs) – $5.25). Note that my family is small (2 adults and 1 child), and that the ham I was given was purchased at full price (not on sale).

After we had eaten and the ham had time to cool off, it was time for me to prepare the leftover ham for the meals that I had chosen to make the following week. Most of the recipes I chose called for 1-2 cups of cooked, diced ham, so I chose to dice my ham and place it into quart sized freezer bags in 2 cups increments. After trimming off the fat, I ended up with 3 – 2 cup bags, and 1 – 1 cup bag of leftover ham. I will say that I might have ended up with 4- 2 cup bags, had I not had a little “helper” eating the ham as fast as I could dice it. :-) (NOTE: A few readers on Facebook suggested that saving the ham bone for future use in soup is another great way to get the most out of your ham.)

While my efforts for our initial ham dinner did take a little bit of planning time upfront, I found it to be quick and easy to prepare – and I loved the feeling of having meal starters ready to go in the fridge for several days worth of meals.

Stay tuned on Monday & Tuesday as I share how I put those ham leftovers to use. I also have a giveaway up my sleeve that you won’t want to miss!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Ohio Pork Producers Council. All experiences and opinions shared here are strictly my own. View my full disclosure policy here.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sandra C in Moulton, AL March 22, 2010 at 1:30 AM

Save the bone. I always leave a little bit of meat on it and freeze it until I get ready to cook some Pinto Beans. I put the ham bone and some pieces of ham if I have some left into the crock pot with the beans. It gives them a good flavor without having to put some type of seasoning in them.
I have a ham bone left from Christmas; I believe I’ll fix some beans this week.

2 Marie March 22, 2010 at 9:22 AM

I bought a ham when it was on sale around Christmas even though I was not hosting a meal. We sliced some up for sandwiches and diced and froze the rest like you did. I have enjoyed using it in split pea soup, navy bean soup, omelets/egg casseroles, and chef salads. My husband LOVES ham, so I will be doing this again next time it goes on sale, probably around Easter! Lucky you to receive one for free! Looking forward to your next few posts.

3 Gretchen in HB March 22, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Ham, spinach & cheese quiche, ham & split pea soup, ham & baked potato soup, ham & cheese omelettes, ham & cheese croissants, grilled ham & cheese sandwiches, ohmygosh I’m hungry and need ham! :-) Excited to see what you come up with.

4 karen March 22, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Our favorite meal is white beans with ham. Stick the ham bone in your crock pot, add some beans (1/2 to 3/4 of a pound) and fill with water. A hour before serving, fish out the bone, pick off any meat and add back to the crockpot. This is the most delicious meal ever. Freezes great as well–it turns into white bean smush instead of individual beans.

5 Barbara Johnson March 23, 2010 at 12:45 AM

Here’s a ham recipe that everyone that has tried it likes it.
2 Cups diced ham
1 small onion – diced
2 stalks of celery- diced
2 cans cream of mushoom soup
1 can of milk
1-16 oz. package of egg noodle – what ever size you have on hand
1 reg size bag of B-B-Q potato chips (CHEAPER THE BETTER)
Cook noodles according to package – drain
While your cooking the noodles you can mix the rest of it together.
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together except potato chips.
When noodles are ready mix them into the bowl with the rest of your ingredients. Pour into a 9 x 11 (UNGREASED) casserole dish. Crush potato chips, pour on casserole and make sure you cover all of the noodles.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins. Let set on counter for 10 mins. This will keep it from falling all over. But my husband can never wait so it falls all over :) Very Good :)

6 Bucksome Boomer March 23, 2010 at 8:00 AM

I love ham and can’t wait to see how you use it for other meals.
.-= Bucksome Boomer´s last blog ..Can Baby Boomer’s Afford to Retire? =-.

7 Mona March 23, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Definitely save the ham bone with some meat left on it for a big pot of ham, green beans and potatoes. Yummy!

8 Robyn S March 24, 2010 at 6:37 PM

I love ham and asparagus quiche, ham and broccoli alfredo and definitely save the bone, either for ham with green beans and new potatoes (summer’s coming, along with fresh green beans!) or ham and bean soup, which is always a family favorite at our house.

9 mary March 24, 2010 at 10:30 PM

an email subscriber

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