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Ham pie

Ham pie with cheese biscuit topping.

BERNIE MASON, for Lee Montana Newspapers

A glazed ham is often the main feature on the table for Easter dinner, which means there is leftover ham to be enjoyed in other ways during the week following. Ham and bean soup is always a go-to choice for a follow-up meal, but if you are looking for a change from the usual, try any of the following recipes instead.

Ham pie with cheese biscuit topping

This ham and biscuit pie is a good change from a chicken pot pie. Here is a chance to use some of your leftover ham as well as any asparagus, green beans and hard boiled eggs you might have left from dinner. The cheese biscuits for the topping are made using a biscuit mix, which saves on prep time, and are the perfect addition for the ham pie.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons onion, chopped

1/2 red or green bell pepper, chopped

3/4 cup thinly sliced celery

1 cup asparagus, sliced 1-inch pieces

4 tablespoons butter or margarine

6 tablespoons flour

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup

1 1/3 cup milk

2 cups diced ham

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Biscuit Topping:

1 1/2 cups biscuit mix

1/2 cup sharp cheese, grated

1/3 cup milk

Directions:

In a large skillet, cook onion, celery, asparagus and bell pepper in butter until softened, but not browned. Add flour, heat and mix thoroughly. Add soup and milk, and stir over medium heat until thick and smooth. Add ham, eggs and lemon juice, and turn to low while mixing biscuits. In a bowl, mix together the biscuit mix and grated cheese, then add the milk and stir just until flour is blended. Turn out onto a floured surface, pat or roll to 1/2-inch thickness, and cut into biscuits. Pour ham mixture into a large buttered casserole and top with biscuits. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 degrees and cook until biscuits are brown.

Source: Adapted from recipe in “Winning Seasons,” A Collection of Favorite Recipes from Junior League of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Stir-Fried green rice, eggs and ham

Inspired by a popular children’s book with a similar title and name, this main dish is a creative way to use ham, rice, spinach and eggs. The tasty and colorful recipe was developed by a team comprised of students from McDougle Elementary School and Culbreth Middle School from Chapel Hills, North Carolina, along with a local restaurant owner and chef.

Makes six 1-cup servings

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups brown rice, long-grain, regular (uncooked)

1/3 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained

6 large whole eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3/4 cup lean ham, diced 1/4-inch

1/4 cup fresh green onions, diced

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

Directions:

Combine brown rice and 4 1/2 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low. Cover and cook until water is absorbed, about 30 to 40 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add salt to rice; mix well; set aside. A rice cooker may be used with the same quantity of rice and water. Drain water from spinach by squeezing thawed spinach with hands. Set aside. Whisk together eggs and 1 tablespoon water. Cook half the eggs in a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Remove eggs from skillet to cool. Chop cooled eggs and set aside. Reserve the remaining eggs for another step in recipe. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add ham and cook for 2 minutes or until ham begins to brown. Reduce heat to medium. Add brown rice and toss to mix. Add remaining eggs. Stir for 5 minutes or until egg is fully cooked. Add green onions, spinach, chopped egg, sesame oil and soy sauce; stir well. Cook until thoroughly heated. Serve hot.

Source: “Recipes for Healthy Kids, Cookbook for Homes,” Team Nutrition USDA.

Spring vegetable and ham pasta salad

Using the ham in a pasta salad is also a great way to enjoy the Easter dinner leftovers. This healthy salad uses a variety of vegetables and Greek yogurt with lemon juice for the dressing. If desired add some chopped bell pepper and cucumber along with the vegetables. Choosing whole wheat pasta rather than the regular pasta will be a healthier choice as well.

Makes 6-8 servings

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup plain whole Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 (16-ounce) package penne pasta, cooked according to package directions

4 rainbow carrots, shaved into ribbons

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 1/2 cups diced ham

2 cups fresh baby spinach or arugula

Directions:

In a large bowl whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, oil, thyme, parsley, dill, sugar, salt and pepper until smooth. Stir in pasta, carrots, tomatoes, green onions and ham until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Stir in arugula or spinach just before serving.

Source: Adapted from recipe in “Cooking with Paula Deen, 50 Spring Recipes,” March/April 2018.

Bernie Mason has written the Local Flavor column for the Billings Gazette for three years or so. She was Yellowstone County extension agent for 24 years. Mason grew up in Sidney in a family of German and Danish ancestry.

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