HAM IT UP
Ham makes for a classic meal around the holidays, but it can get boring if it's the same preparation year after year. In both the initial cooking of a whole ham and the leftovers it's easier than ever to find a unique twist to classic preparations, or entirely new ideas to get culinary juices flowing. If money is tight, consider using a recipe that uses ham as one ingredient rather using a lot -- that way everyone still gets to indulge in the flavor without the big expense. Lastly, feel free to play around with what type of ham is used, even if it's different from what the recipe calls for.
HAM & CHEESE PULL APART BREAD
This recipe takes a store-bought sourdough loaf and turns it into something spectacular with the addition of cheese and meats. It's an easy way to stretch the last bits of ham into something a crowd can share.
Recipe: In Good Taste
HAM & MELON SALAD
This classic salad calls for Spanish-style cured ham, though leftover baked ham can be used for the same contrast of sweet and salty flavors. Using a cured and sliced ham for this salad can be a way to work it into a menu without relying on a large roast.
Recipe: Serious Eats
A traditional New Orleans sandwich gets lightened up without the bread in this salad version. Big flavor comes from the olives and pickled vegetables, all-stars for adding piquancy at low cost.
Recipe: Rachael Ray
PINEAPPLE GLAZED HAM
Although many think of this as a classic recipe, few have actually tried it. This is an easy and straightforward preparation that plays upon the combination of sweet and salty.
SPICY HONEY-GLAZED HAM
Adding spice to a traditional honey-glazed ham takes it to the next level and keeps it from being the same old dish. This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of hot sauce, so something like habanero and scotch bonnet could be used for intense heat and flavor without being overwhelming.
Recipe: Food Network
INDONESIAN HAM STIR-FRY
Break out of traditional preparations of ham this season and try something from another culture, such as this sizzling stir-fry. Ingredients including sambal, lemongrass, and ginger lend a spicy and warm flavor that permeates the salty meat.
Recipe: Fine Cooking
FIVE-SPICE CHERRY HAM
The addition of cloves and five-spice powder to this glazed ham recipe adds a seasonal flair. The subtle warmth of the spices balances out the fattiness and saltiness of the ham, creating a more complex flavor profile than the average fruit-glazed preparation.
Recipe: Better Homes & Gardens
COCONUT HAM CURRY
Pineapple and ham get an update in a recipe with a coconut curry background. Tamarind pulp, curry paste, and fish sauce are just some of the ingredients that make this dish pop with unique flavors.
Braising is not the most common way of cooking a ham, but it does yield an effortlessly juicy and tender final dish. Another helpful aspect of this recipe is that it uses inexpensive kitchen staples such as carrots, onions, and herbs to impart flavor.
CRUNCHY HAM TACOS
This recipe creates a tangy, spicy, and sweet sauce to accompany the tacos, creating a variety of flavors and textures in each bite. Even using a store-bought salsa, frying up ham for tacos is a genius move.
Recipe: The Latin Kitchen
SWEET BOURBON MUSTARD-GLAZED HAM
Mustard and ham is so classic that is can get boring, but not if you add a little bourbon. The sweet spirit, along with molasses, adds depth and vibrancy to the finished glaze sauce, which makes the finished dish taste a little like barbecue.
Recipe: The Spruce
HAM & SWISS QUESADILLA
Put a spin on the classic ham and cheese sandwich by giving it a little bit of latin flair. Serve this with traditional salsas and sour cream, or any favorite condiments, such as honey mustard.
Recipe: Genius Kitchen
HAM & CRANBERRY PANINI
Ham and fruit make a good combination, but why limit it to tropical fruits? Cranberries are naturally tart and astringent, which accentuates the rich umami flavor of any cut of ham.
Recipe: Nutmeg Nanny
HAM WITH HAWAIIAN SALSA
This recipe for ham steaks brightens up the dish with sweet and acidic flavors of pineapple, sweet potato, and lime. The contrasting flavors create a big impression, making the meal uniquely satisfying.
Recipe: Woman's Day
CHIPOTLE PINEAPPLE JERK-GLAZED HAM
Jerk seasoning is a spicy Jamaican blend of thyme, scallions, allspice, and fiery chilies that take ham to an entirely new level. This chipotle-spiked recipe is layered with interesting spices.
Recipe: Half Baked Harvest
CHIPOTLE HAM & BEAN SOUP
Tender beans and salty ham have a long history of working well together. This recipe gets an added kick from smoky chipotle, which provides a lot of flavor without too much heat, creating a balanced dish everyone can enjoy.
Recipe: Sweet Anna's
HAM & CHEESE TORTELLINI
This pasta recipe adds ham to a cheesy pot of tortellini, which is a convenient and inexpensive ingredient to build a meal around. The final dish eats like a combination of ham and cheese sandwich and mac and cheese.
HAM SALAD SANDWICHES
This is not a healthy dish, but it is a fun and tasty dish to enjoy sparingly. Frying the ham creates a tender and juicy final dish with a crisp outside for maximum texture contrast.
Recipe: Paula Deen
HAM & HASH BROWN CASSEROLE
Ham and potatoes have had a long love affair. This genius creation that combines hash browns and ham into one delicious casserole is a keeper, using a few staples such as creamed soup and shredded cheese.
Recipe: "Mommy? I'm Hungry!"
HAM & CHEESE DIP
Turn ham into a family-style appetizer by taking a classic combination such as ham and cheese and making it into a dip. Like so many dips, the key ingredient is cream cheese -- with a little kick from spices such as cayenne to keep it fresh.
HAM & AVOCADO SCRAMBLE
Throwing some leftover ham into your morning eggs is nice, but creating a composed dish with a few other balancing ingredients takes it to the next level. The addition of avocado and a touch of garlic make this an anytime snack or light meal complete with an air of sophistication.
Recipe: Taste of Home