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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Having ham for Easter?



I plan to make a big meal for our Easter dinner. We are quite traditional in our eating habits and will dine on a spiral baked ham with all the trimmings including the easy sweet pickle peaches recipe from several years back.

Once Monday rolls around, I'll have a whole lot of leftover ham. I have a number of recipes that I routinely use with ham leftovers, from ham and cheese muffins to a cheesy ham and potato soup. And I do love a good ham sandwich with mayonnaise, like my mom used to make.

But this season, there's a new recipe to add to our ham leftover line up -- a ham and cheese quiche of sorts packed with vegetables.

I made Veggie Filled Ham and Cheese Pie twice now, and both times my husband and I have gobbled it up. We had it as a main dinner course one night with fresh fruit as a side dish. And it's so very good warmed up in the oven or microwave for a quick and filling breakfast.

I didn't have ham leftovers when I tried the recipe, so I used deli ham; it was wonderful.

This is a simple egg pie recipe made in a pie crust. I used a refrigerated pie crust the first time and a frozen pie crust the second time; I prebaked each for about 5 minutes before pouring in the filling. I used a regular size pie crust, but when I make it again, I'll use the deep dish size frozen pie crust so I don't have to throw out leftover egg filling.

The recipe I started with used fewer vegetables and different cheese, but I chose ingredients I knew my husband and I would enjoy. In addition to spinach and mushrooms in the original recipe, I added a variety of bell peppers and chopped onions.

I didn't want to buy an entire package of spinach or mushrooms for the small amount I needed, so I went to the salad bar at my favorite grocery store and got the spinach, mushrooms and mixed bell peppers. The vegetable ingredients don't have to be precise measurements for this dish, so I just eyeballed what I was putting into the salad bar carryout container. The first time I made, it I used the bell peppers available on the salad bar: green, red and orange. The second time I used red, orange and yellow. It's so economical to buy the fresh vegetables this way. For about $1.50, I got the spinach, mushrooms and peppers I needed for my pie.

I also sauteed my mushrooms, onions and peppers in a little olive oil before adding to the pie because I knew that would enhance the flavor, and it did! While the mushrooms were cooking and the pie crust pre-cooking, I cut up the ham and mixed the egg filling. It really takes just a few minutes before it's ready to pop in the oven.

There are so many ways to vary this recipe according to your family's tastes. I'm sure it would be delicious as a meatless pie, for instance.



Veggie Filled Ham and Cheese Pie
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fat-free half-and-half or milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 1 frozen pie crust (deep dish)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup mixed bell pepper cut into strips or diced
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushroom slices
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • Olive oil for sautéeing
Cook pie crust for 5 minutes at temperature recommended on package. Set aside. Turn oven temperature to 350.
While crust is cooking, saute mushrooms, onions and peppers in a small amount of olive oil.
With a whisk, beat eggs, flour, salt and half-and-half until combined.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese in bottom of partially cooked pie crust. Top with a generous layer of spinach leaves. Arrange sauteed vegetables to cover spinach. Pour egg mixture over all. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until top is golden.
Lisa Boykin Batts



Sweet Pickled Peaches
  • 2 16-oz. cans peach halves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon each whole cloves and whole allspice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
Strain juice from peaches and pour into large pot; reserve peaches. Tie cloves, allspice and cinnamon sticks in a spice bag. I make one out of cheesecloth. Add sugar, vinegar and spice bag to juice in pot. Let come to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in peaches and cook an addition 5 minutes or until peaches are heated. Remove spice bag. Let cool, then refrigerate.

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