Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What to do with leftover ham - Grilled Ham and Pineapple Sandwich

Happy Easter Friends!  I hope that you enjoyed a wonderful weekend celebration with your family/friends!  We enjoyed a wonderful weekend filled with lots of yummy food, fun family moments, and many photo opportunities.  I took Monday to organize some of those photos, so I'm a bit behind on some of the blog posts. 

We love ham at our house!  My mother in law always fixed a ham for Christmas and Easter, so we have sort of adopted that same tradition in our own home.  She taught me a very easy way to fix the perfect ham.  You cook it slowly in the oven overnight in a paper bag.  I've fixed my hams like this for years, and they always turn out perfectly.  It's so easy, it's embarrassing to even call it a recipe. 

But for those of you who may be intrigued to try cooking a ham a new way, here's what you do.  Buy a cheap ham (like a shank or butt portion, or even a whole bone in ham).  Remove the plastic wrapper and the little plastic thing that is over the bone.  Place the ham in a large brown paper grocery sack.  Fold up the bag so that it is tight to the ham.  Place the ham in a 9x13 pan.  Add a little water (maybe 1/2 cup or so) to the bottom of the pan.  Place in the oven at 220 overnight (about 6-8 hours).  Turn the oven off in the morning, and let the ham sit for about 4 hours before slicing it.  Remove the ham from the bag, and slice with an electric knife.  The ham will be super tender and juicy. 

I have served this ham at several of our Easter Egg Hunt parties and have turned even non-ham eaters into members of the Clean Plate Club.  Super easy. . . super yummy. . .lots of leftovers.  This slow cook method will not work on a presliced spiral yam; all the juices leak out and you'll be left with a dry ham.  This will also not work well on a boneless ham; it turns out tough.  I usually buy 2 or more hams when they go on sale at Christmas and Easter and we'll eat one on the holiday, and then I'll cut up the other to use in ham dishes. 

This past Sunday, I decided to shake things up a bit and try something new.  A mom of one of my 8 year old's gym teammates told me she likes to cook her ham in her slow cooker using a can of coke, some brown sugar, and a can of pineapple.  We decided to give this recipe a try on Sunday.  It was very sweet, and we all liked it.  I shared with that mom today that while the flavor was good, it had a different texture being cooked in the slow cooker.  I also think I should have let the ham sit for awhile longer before I sliced it.  Nonetheless, we enjoyed our Easter dinner, and we have some leftover ham that I decided to do something with tonight for dinner.

A few weeks ago, there was an Ingredient Spotlight on Pineapple over at Eat At Home.  I noticed a recipe there for a grilled ham and pineapple sandwich that I thought sounded interesting, so I gave it a try for our weekly sandwich night. 

Well, all I can say is that this sandwich is likely to be making a repeat appearance on our weekly menu for Sandwich Night.  We often eat grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, but this was the first time I've ever thrown on a slice of pineapple.  And instead of regular sliced cheese, I used spreadable cream cheese.  It was easy and very tasty.  Because I made it with leftovers, it was very budget friendly too.  We had to eat in shifts this evening due to our schedule, but the sandwiches were easy to assemble and grill in batches in just a few minutes.  I think what made these sandwiches the best was the bread.  Instead of regular sandwich bread, I used bakery fresh bread (like the $1 Italian loaf from Kroger).  This sandwich was similar to something you'd find at a locally owned restaurant.  Add some chips and some fruit or a light salad, and your meal is complete.  (Try to ignore the awful shadow in the photo; it was late and my photo set up was not ready!)

Here's the simple recipe:

Grilled Ham and Pineapple Sandwiches
1/2 loaf of sliced bakery bread (I used the Kroger Italian loaf)
spreadable cream cheese
ham slices
pineapple slices

1.  Spread cream cheese on the inside of 2 pieces of bread.
2.  Top one slice of bread with slices of ham and pineapple rings. (I cut the rings so they fit better; I need more pineapple next time so you get some pineapple in every bite)
3.  Top with the other piece of bread.
4.  Pan fry in melted butter over medium high heat until golden on each side.
(You can also spread the outside of the bread with spreadable butter and then cook on a griddle or in a pan over medium high heat but the melted butter in the pan gives it a nice crunch on all the edges like how it is at a restaurant when you order a grilled sandwich)

Grilled Ham and Pineapple Sandwich
Cream Cheese, Ham, Pineapple, Bakery Bread. . . . yummy!

What's your favorite way to use up leftover ham?

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