We had a ham last week and it got me thinking about how very frugal ham can be. We personally love the Carando hams (no I’m not sponsored by them or anything, we just really like them) and find that 2 times a year (after Christmas and after Easter) they go on sale for 99 cents a pound. New to us were the boneless spiral cut hams, there’s no waste so when you buy a 4 lb ham for $3.96 you’re getting 4 lbs of pre-sliced meat! Not bad when you consider lunch meat ham is about $6 per lb here.
We’ve discovered that for roughly $40 we can get at least 6 nights worth of dinners and lunches the next day, add an additional $10 to buy oats and the fixings for oatmeal and you’ve got 6 days worth of food for $50 . When you see the cost of the meal below- that’s dinner and lunch for (at least) 2 grown adults and 3 kids. Here are my 5 ways to be frugal with ham.
- Ham dinner! We tend to have so many left overs when it comes to ham dinners that we invite my parents over. The ham was $4.75 and 4 adults and 3 children had their fill. We served mashed potatoes, carrots and peas. I bought a 5lb bag of potatoes for 69 cents, the carrots were 99 cents for a bag, and the frozen peas were also on sale for 99 cents. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s about $7! You’re not getting that at a restaurant! I sent my Mom home with some of the ham and we’ll still have plenty to use for left overs.
- As mentioned in this post ham and potato soup is pretty darn cheap and delicious. and this soup doesn’t require stock. I do add a tablespoon of better than bullion ham just to up the ham flavor. Total for all of the ingredients and some crusty bread was about $6.
- Ham and egg scramble: This is more of a method than a recipe. I scramble 10 eggs, add ham, cheese and any veg we might have that I think I can sneak past the kids (I have 1 very picky eater and 2 that will eat just about anything). I then bake it until it’s golden brown on top and serve with buttered toast and sliced apples. We splurge a bit and buy the cage free organic eggs, but this meal stills comes in at about $7 for the whole thing. I’ve used all kinds of cheese- usually cheddar because we tend to have blocks in the fridge, but I had goat cheese with herbs and added that and it was delicious! The only veg I wouldn’t add are beets because they turn everything pink 😉 Try greens on the side if not everyone likes them.
- Mac and cheese with ham bites: I make a simple milk sauce and add cheddar, cream cheese, and any other cheese I might have ends of in the fridge, the cheese can be pricey but this meal still can come in under $10 and feeds a crowd. We make ours on the stove top and broil for just a minute or 2 to brown up the bread crumbs. The kids like peas added and I’ll usually serve fruit on the side to up the nutrition.
- Ham Sandwiches: The kiddos love ham sandwiches. We buy our bread from the bread outlet for .99, throw in a jar of pickles, some chips, sliced cheese and some fruit and you’re looking at roughly $7 for a solid meal- we grill them if the kiddos are interested, but they mostly like them just as is.
- Left over night- Usually by the 6th night we’ve got at least one serving left of the above meals so we have a left over night- of pick what you want. Sometimes I’ll grind up the ham and make deviled ham- the kids like it without any mayo keeping it together.
You’ll notice that we use ham as more of a flavoring than the main focus of the meal for a lot of these, this allows us to stretch things a bit but not feel like we’re sacrificing. So there you have it 5 ways to cook with ham that my family loves and is kind to our wallet.