Saturday, January 28, 2017

Ham -- Stretching Your Dollar and Menu Planning

Last week I picked up a "half" turkey ham that was 4.5 lbs. I like the turkey ham because they are lean and a little less salty than a traditional ham.  Neither my daughter or I like to eat overly fatty meats and this works well for us.   I spent $4.98 on it and I've divided it into 6 meals worth.  
I sliced off 3 -- 1/2" slices.  These will be for a "fried breakfast" meal.  That is the only meal of the ham that will just serve the three of us.
The rest of the ham I sliced in slices and cubed.

Then I portioned it into 1 cup measurements.
I find that one cup is the perfect amount for using in dishes.

I sealed all but one cup up to go in freezer.
I put one cup in a mason jar to use this weekend.
I'm going to share my plans for the ham and I'll post back each recipe as I make them so that you can see how I used the ham up.  I'm generous with my portion sizes and the meals that serve 6 will give us leftovers for the next days lunch with on exception that I'll explain below.
1  breakfast type meal with fried ham will serve 3
1 macaroni and cheese meal with peas and ham will serve 6
1 beans and rice dish with ham will serve 6
1 au gratin potato and ham casserole will serve 6
1 hash brown casserole will serve 6 to 8
1 ham quiche will serve 6
That means I'll plan to have one ham "seasoned" dish per week.
However, this upcoming week I will actually be making two ham based meals.
Sunday morning we are going to my sister's house for brunch and I am bringing a hash brown casserole as my contribution.  The number of people in attendance will kind of determine whether there is any left or not.  Then Wednesday we are having people over for supper.  I'm making the au gratin potato and ham casserole that night. 
This will work out to a cost of 83 cents per meal for dishes that include ham.
Even though only one is actually sitting down to eat a piece of meat, the other dishes will be taken to that extra level by the addition of ham.  Sometimes that little bit can take a frugal meal, like beans and rice, to a whole new level of wow, and I don't have to break the bank to do it.


  1. Agree, ham is a very economical meat choice. And it's true that a little goes a long way, due to it's smokey flavor.

    1. It really is. As our family continues to shrink in size, I am still adjusting amounts. 1 cup portions seem to do the trick.

  2. I do this as well! I love your explanations of how you will use the portions - I got a couple of new ideas from you! I also make ham fried rice with the cubes, and I have a recipe for calzones where I pulse the ham chunks in the food processor to make them more fine, then tuck them into the calzone dough with onions, peppers and cheese, or sometimes, broccoli and cheddar. Your post reminded me that I have not made scalloped potatoes in a long time. :) -Laura at The Cents-Able Home

    1. Thank you -- I hadn't thought about fried rice. Calzones sound wonderful, too. Someone else also mentioned ham salad and I found a WWII recipe for ham loaf. I haven't tried either, but if I do I will share how it goes.


Childhood Foods Revisited

While my husband and I were drinking our morning coffee, we were reminiscing about favorite elementary school meals. We both agreed tha...