Karen Buch, RDN, LDN
Many families celebrate Easter with favorite family foods. Two of the staple foods that my family includes as part of our Easter celebrations year-after-year are colorful Easter eggs and baked ham. But, of course we always have some left over. Here are two ways that I love to use ham and eggs after the holiday celebration.
First is a classic ham and bean soup that features cannellini beans, light red kidney beans and wilted greens. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend eating about 3 cups of legumes, including fiber-rich beans, per week.
Ham & Bean Soup
Makes: 3 quarts
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hour, 15 min
2 pounds cooked ham, cubed
4 cups water
1 (16-oz) can white cannellini beans
1 (16-ounce) can light red kidney beans
2 (16 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
½ tsp. salt (or to taste)
½ tsp. dried thyme (or 1½ tsp. fresh thyme)
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
5 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves or broccolini
Cook ham in a Dutch oven over medium heat for about 5 minutes until browned. Stir frequently. Add onions and carrots and continue cooking until onions become transparent. Add potatoes and seasonings (except bay leaf). Cook for 2 more minutes until spices become fragrant. Add tomatoes, beans (including liquids) and water. Mix to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add bay leaf and simmer for 60 minutes or until flavors have fully developed. Remove bay leaf and stir in baby spinach (or chopped broccolini) and cook until just wilted before serving.
Another deliciously simple way that we use leftover ham and hard boiled eggs is to make an egg & ham salad sandwiches.
To get started, you first need to know how to make hard boiled eggs. This might sound silly to some, but this cooking technique is one of the most searched on the internet. The good thing is, it’s quite easy to hard-boil eggs to perfection once you know how.
How to HARD BOIL EGGS
1. PLACE up to eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. ADD cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch.
2. HEAT over HIGH heat just to boiling and then REMOVE from burner *
3. COVER pan and LET EGGS STAND in hot water about 12 MINUTES for large eggs (9 MINUTES for medium eggs; 15 MINUTES for extra-large eggs)
4. DRAIN immediately and serve warm. Or, COOL completely in a bowl of ice water, then REFRIGERATE
* Unlike their name says you really don’t want to “boil” the eggs. Extended boiling leads to rubbery egg white texture, cracking of the egg shells and a grey naturally iron-based ring that forms around the outside of the yellow yolk (safe to eat, but unsightly). All of these undesirable outcomes can be prevented with proper cooking.
If using an egg coloring kit to dye eggs, allow colored eggs to dry and then refrigerate immediately. Eggs stored at proper temperature (40 degrees F) can be safely eaten for up to one week. Did you know that an egg is a nutrient powerhouse? One large egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein, choline, 13 essential vitamins and minerals plus the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, all for 70 calories?
To make the Egg & Ham Salad Sandwich recipe, I like to use my kitchen aid mixer and its grinding attachment to grind both the ham and eggs into a medium bowl. If you don’t have a meat grinder, you can still make this recipe by finely dicing the ham with a chef’s knife and using the back side of a fork to mash the eggs.
Egg & Ham Salad Sandwiches
4 hard boiled eggs, mashed or ground
8 ounces cooked ham, finely diced or ground
1 Tbsp. sweet pepper relish
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise1 tsp. stone ground mustard (optional)
8 slices seeded rye OR marble rye bread, fresh or toasted
Boston bibb, baby spinach, watercress or other leafy greens (to taste)
In a medium bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. MIX with a large spoon until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Using a spatula or butter knife, layer the mixture evenly over 4 slices of bread. TOP each with leafy greens and a slice of bread. SLICE and SERVE.
Karen Buch, RDN, LDN is a Central Pennsylvania-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who promotes the healthy enjoyment of food while helping consumers better understand the connection between food, nutrition and health. As owner of Nutrition Connections LLC, Karen provides a variety of food and nutrition communications consulting services to the food industry nationwide.