Quick and Easy Ham Salad

Before we left town for the holidays I tossed most of an 8lb ham in the freezer. When we got home I busted that baby out and set to work making ham sandwiches on fresh baked bread, ham fried rice, ham and corn chowder, and ham salad. We were in pure hog heaven, let me tell you. 

Out of everything I made with the leftovers, ham salad is my favorite because it brings back so many great memories. After every holiday my grandmother would make up a huge batch for me to take back home so I didn't need to cook for a few days. She isn't able to do that for me anymore, so instead I follow her simple three ingredient recipe and make my own. It never tastes quite as good as the ham salad she made me. That's because it's missing her super secret fourth ingredient (lots of love), but it's still pretty tasty. This simple ham salad recipe is always a crowd pleaser, comes together in a flash, and can be enjoyed on crackers, in a sandwich, or by the spoonful straight out of the container.

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Ham Salad
makes 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients

3 cups ham, cubed
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sweet pickle relish (see notes)

Directions

  • Cut ham into cubes, place in a food processor with mayonnaise, and pulse until the ham is coarsely chopped. 
  • Add sweet pickle relish relish, stir until well combined, then serve spread over bread or crackers.

Notes

If you aren't a fan of sweet pickle relish you can use dill pickle relish or hot pepper relish instead.

Dr Pepper Pork Tacos with Cilantro and Sour Cream

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! I hope the weather is beautiful where you are and you're enjoying the long weekend. You may have noticed there wasn't a Friday food post this week, that's because I decided to take a rare weekend off. I started out catching up on the new season of Dr Who on Friday and went to see the new Sin City movie on Saturday. Now that we have a toddler underfoot date nights are rare things, but I've got the best friend ever who offered to babysit for us so I jumped at the chance. Today she brought her family along for some fun and we spent a good part of the day at Taste of Madison trying out bits and bites from our local restaurants. This event is without a doubt my favorite all year, not that should surprise you since it's food related. Our local restaurants set up tents around the Capitol grounds, the same place the Dane County Farmers' Market takes place. The prices are reasonable, usually $3-4 to sample an item off the menu. I love that this event gives us a chance to sample the best food Madison has to offer all in one place. If you're curious about what I tried this year you can check out my instagram feed for the highlights. We stumbled across some real gems including dessert Sushi and Beer Battered Fries with Truffle Oil. 

Now that I've spent the last few minutes teasing you with the things I've eaten today, I'll go ahead and share a recipe for the Dr Pepper Pork tacos that I mentioned recently. Those of you who made my recipe from last week know that it makes a ton, so if you weren't feeding a crowd, then you've likely got plenty of leftovers. As much as I like eating pulled pork sandwiches I do get tired of them, so when I've had my fill I switch over to tacos. These are quick to toss together and don't require you to do anything more strenuous that reheating leftover Dr Pepper Pork. We all need a few meals like that in our repertoire. If you haven't had the chance to make last week's recipe yet, all I can say is "for shame Doc!" Seriously though, you're really missing out, Dr Pepper Pork is amazing.

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Dr Pepper Pork Tacos

Ingredients

Dr Pepper Pork (use the recipe here)
flour tortillas, taco sized
sour cream
fresh cilantro 

optional

lime wedges

Directions

  • Top tortillas with Dr Pepper pork, sour cream, and fresh cilantro. Drizzle with lime juice (optional) then devour immediately!

Reuben Salad with Rye Bread Croutons

I'm sure at least a few of you have corned beef leftover from St. Pats, I know I do. We tend to go all out celebrating, my husband is a computer engineer and in case you were unaware Saint Patrick is the patron saint of engineers, so our household has a long standing tradition (dating all the way back to our college days) of celebrating St. Pats to the fullest. These days I may go a little overboard in my St. Pats cooking, this year I cooked nearly 10lbs of corned beef, 4lbs of baby carrots, and 2lbs of potatoes and lets not forget the Irish soda bread recipe I tried out from My Irish Table which according to my husband was the best soda bread he'd ever had.

It may seem like an insane amount of food, but my husband and I enjoy spending the week following St. Pats gorging ourselves on the massive amount of leftovers. Our favorite leftover meal is a Reuben, how could you not love all of its artery clogging goodness? However, even though I love a good Reuben sometimes I'm looking for something a little bit healthier. Today's recipe has all of the delicious flavors of a Reuben with the benefit of not causing a heart attack on sight. It's also much more portable should you want to pack it up and take it to work for lunch. If you're looking for a new way to use up your leftovers give this salad a try, I promise you'll be singing my praises after the first bite and you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. I'm not just full of myself, it really is that good.

Reuben Salad
approximately 2-3 servings 

Ingredients

3 cups lettuce, any variety
1 cup corned beef, diced
1 cup Swiss cheese, cubed
¼ cup homemade Russian Dressing
butter or olive oil
1 cup rye bread, cubed

optional

¼ cup sauerkraut

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Remove crusts from several slices of rye bread and cut into cubes. Lightly coat a baking sheet with butter or oil, spread cubes out evenly, and bake for 10 minutes or until crisp.
  • Rinse and tear lettuce, top with corned beef, swiss cheese, Russian dressing, rye bread croutons and optional sauerkraut. Toss lightly to distribute the dressing and serve.

Banana Split Bread

This recipe came about after someone somewhere posted a really tasty looking recipe for banana split pancakes. How did I make the leap from pancakes to bread you ask? Well that's simple, I forgot to save the recipe and couldn't for the life of me remember where I had seen it.

Talk about a major DOH moment.

This is the point where inspiration struck, I was standing in the kitchen contemplating what I was going to make for breakfast since it wasn't going to be a nice fluffy stack of banana split pancakes when I noticed that I had a bunch of brown bananas sitting there. Hmm... I'll just make banana bread, no wait, what about banana split bread?

Genius you say? Why yes I am!

When I first started developing this recipe I remember mentioning it to my taste tester, who looked at me oddly and said, I didn't realize Banana Split Bread was a thing. My response of course was something along the lines of, well it's not, but I'm going to make it a thing, the next best thing since sliced bread (insert groan here.) After weeks of hard work it is now a thing, a truly amazing thing, so I hope you try it out the next time you have a bunch of bananas starting to brown.

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Banana Split Bread
makes a single 1½ lb loaf or 4 mini loafs

Ingredients

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature + extra for greasing pan
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
3-4 medium sized over ripe bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1t salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 8oz jar maraschino cherries, cut in half
1 8oz can pineapple tidbits, drained *see notes

Directions

 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease loaf pans with butter.

  • In a bowl cream together softened butter and sugar, then add egg and mix until well incorporated.

  • In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to wet ingredients.

  • Mash bananas, drain pineapple, dice cherries, and add to mixture. 

  • Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts, mix well before pouring into greased loaf pan.

  • Bake for 60 - 70 minutes for a full loaf or 35 - 40 minutes for mini loafs. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in to the center of the bread. If it comes out clean the bread is ready to be removed from the oven.

  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Notes:

If you are unable to fine pineapple tidbits you can also cut pineapple chunks into smaller pieces, but do not use crushed pineapple, it will affect the texture of the bread. 

Recipe Inspiration:

This is an altered version of my mother's banana bread recipe (which puts most banana bread recipes to shame, it's just that good.)