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Loving Leftovers: Creative Leftover Ham Recipes

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.


How It Began

I grew up in the 1950s, the youngest of six children in a family that had survived the Great Depression. We were frugal, and we restored, reused, and repurposed long before doing so was "green." Times were tough, but we were tougher. No food was wasted (I think it was a sin against the 11th Commandment), but we didn't have "leftovers." We had "planned-overs." That's the way I was raised and the method I use in my own kitchen, even 60+ years later.

This is my seventh article in a regular first-day-of-the-month series on using leftovers in a thoughtful, frugal, and tasty way. The first six installments focused on

  1. Leftover mashed potatoes
  2. Meatloaf
  3. Stale bread
  4. Zucchini
  5. Barbecue meats
  6. Spaghetti

Leftover ham is no stranger when it comes to repurposing. The internet is crammed with recipes for ham and potato casseroles, ham soup or chowder, sandwiches, and ham-macaroni salads. You won't find those here. Let's use our imagination.


Many years ago, my mom made a batch of biscuits with crisp cooked bacon folded inside. It was amazing—without a doubt, the most wonderful biscuits I had ever experienced. Sheryl (LadyBehindTheCurtain) must have been watching. These biscuits are every bit as good as mom's... and maybe even better. She uses ham (in place of the bacon), and then adds CHEESE!

These biscuits are amazing. Have them with tomato soup at lunch. Have them split to accept a poached or fried egg for breakfast, or just have them for whenever you want something decadent.

Barbecued Hawaiian Pizza

Hawaiian pizza {{sigh}}. It's every taste you want in a single bite. The crust is crispy, the pineapple is sweet and tangy, red onion gives a little "bite," and then the ham is salty. A perfect foil for all of the other ingredients. This barbecued Hawaiian pizza from NutmegNanny is absolute perfection!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Traditionally, chicken cordon-bleu is a beautiful meal of boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied, pounded thin, layered with prosciutto and Gruyere cheese, breaded, sauteed, and then baked until the chicken is cooked and the cheese is melting. It's an easy but decadent dish.

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Read More From Delishably

SixSistersStuff (yes, they really are six sisters) recreated the dish in this chicken cordon bleu casserole.

Ham Loaf

This is a sweet memory from my childhood. We lived in the south-central part of Tacoma. But about once a month my sister and I (she was 26 years older than me and was the primary cook in the house) would hop on the bus and ride to downtown where we would visit the Jackson Market, a deli where we would purchase dill pickles, cheese, and a wonderful mix of cooked ham and ground pork called "ham loaf".

My sister would combine that meat with grated potatoes or cracker crumbs, shape the mix into a loaf, and bake. The inside was soft and tender and the outside edges were crisp and savory.

Jackson Market went out of business in 1978 and my sister passed away 25 years ago. The original recipe is lost, but this version by Paula tastes remarkably like that original.


Instead of red sauce, this lasagna is made with Monterey Jack cheese and a creamy white sauce. Diced ham and tender pasta sheets caress the sauce to create a mouth-watering casserole, savory and creamy on the inside, with crispy golden edges. It's all the flavors of a ham and cheese sandwich, only better!

Thank you to TheKitchenIsMyPlayground for the wonderful idea.


Stromboli. Calzone. What's the difference? Calzone originated in Naples. Think of it as a pizza folded over to make a large (LARGE) turnover. Stromboli? Now, that's a different story. The stromboli actually originated in the United States in the 1950s. It's named after an Italian movie (of the same name) starring Ingrid Bergman and directed by Roberto Rossellini. Not folded over, this bready treat encases the filling jelly-roll style.

DinnerAtTheZoo has created a tasty and colorful stromboli, filled with ham, cheese, and broccoli.


I could not leave you without providing a recipe with pasta (my absolute favorite food). This dish from AllRecipes creates a creamy Cheddar cheese sauce to cloak tender strands of spaghetti and salty bits of diced cooked ham. This is definitely comfort food for a cold winter day.

© 2018 Linda Lum

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