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Dash of Class: Turn Easter leftovers into hearty dishes

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Food column by Nora Sweat

By Nora Sweat

Usually, Easter leftovers are hard-cooked eggs with names written on them or decorated by children.

There also might be eggs from egg hunts. Check those out carefully. If there are any cracks where dirt and germs could get into the egg, discard them.

But for those of you who had baked ham, you might have so much that you get tired of ham sandwiches.

The recipes I have for you today use leftover ham.

I know many of you probably have your own favorite potato soup recipe, but this one goes a little further by adding chopped ham. One of my favorites is scalloped potatoes and ham, but it’s hard to find a good recipe for it. This one looks like a winner though. With meat and vegetables, it could be a full meal.

The third recipe is a casserole made with ham, rice and peas and a lot of flavor additions including French-fried onions and crushed croutons.

Hopefully, you can finish your leftover ham with a new recipe or two. Remember, you always could make these dishes with cooked ham just for these uses.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend and I appreciate all the kind comments about the cakes that were tried out as early as Tuesday from last week’s column.

One wonderful story was a reader was preparing the Three-Day Coconut Cake. Her kids wanted some when they got home from school and then her husband tried it and said, “I can’t imagine that this cake could be any better after three days.”

Oh, but it can.

Enjoy.

Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.

Cheddar, Ham, and Potato Soup

3½ cup peeled, diced potatoes
1/3 cup chopped celery
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1½ cups chopped cooked ham
3½ cups chicken broth
salt, to taste 
1 teaspoon pepper
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated, separated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

In a large soup pot, bring chicken broth, onion, potatoes and ham to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in pepper and salt to taste.

In another, smaller saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk, whisking away any lumps that might form. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick and bubby, about 5 minutes. Remove white sauce from heat and stir in two cups cheese until melted. Stir cheese sauce mixture into your potato/veggie mixture. Heat through.

Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of cheese and parsley, if desired.

Source: Divine Dinner Party.com

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

Potatoes, sliced thin

Ham, in small pieces

1 stick butter

1 small onion

Flour

Milk

Peel and slice potatoes thin, but not too thin and set aside. Chop ham into small pieces and set aside. Chop the onion into small pieces (can use less if you want) and set aside.

Start layering these items in a glass oven proof dish beginning with a little butter. Cover the bottom with the potatoes, sprinkle on the onions and ham and a little flour. The flour thickens up everything. Continue making layers (don’t forget the butter) until the dish is full. Make sure the very top has a little butter on it. Now pour in milk slowly all around until the dish has about ¼ inch of milk in it. Not too much and not too little or it will spill over in your oven. Cover the dish and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour depending on the size of dish you are using.

Check the tenderness of the potatoes occasionally by sticking a fork in them. If you want your potatoes a little brown on top, uncover the dish during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. Allow the dish to stand and cool for awhile so the flour and milk have a chance to thicken. This casserole tastes better the next day when all the flavors have had a chance to “meld” together.

Nora’s Note: The reason there are no amounts is that you will have to decide how much you need according to your dish size.

Cheesy Ham Casserole

2 cups cooked rice (You can use the
10 minute Success Boil-in-Bag whole grain rice)
1-2 cup cooked ham
1 (10 ounce) can broccoli cheddar cheese soup, condensed
¾-1 cup milk
¼ cup sour cream
¾ cup French-fried onions
1 (15 ounce) can peas
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup croutons, finely crushed

Cook rice according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dice ham into small pieces.

Place rice in a 13” x 9” baking dish and top with ham and stir to combine. Use as much or as little ham as you would like.

In a large bowl, mix broccoli cheddar soup, milk and sour cream. Start with ¾ cup milk and add more to the consistency if you like. Stir ½ cup French-fried onions, peas and ½ cup cheddar cheese into the soup mixture. When combined, pour the soup mixture over the rice/ham mixture and stir well, but gently, to combine.

Sprinkle ½ cup cheddar cheese over the rice/soup mixture. Top this with ¼ cup (or more) French-fried onions.

In a plastic bag, crush croutons, then measure. It might take ¼ bag of croutons to get ¼ cup of crushed croutons. Sprinkle crushed croutons over top of all.

Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until the edges start to get bubbly and it is heated through.

Source: www.food.com