Some would argue the best part of a big holiday feast are the leftovers. And much like bacon, the great thing about ham is that it can be added to virtually any dish to amp up its savory flavor. Here are some of the best ways to hamify your post-Christmas meals to get the most use out of your holiday feast’s main dish.  
Photo: Getty Images
| Credit: Getty Images

Until just recently, the meaning of the word “hamify” was lost on me, and I’m pretty sure it may be an abstract concept for you, too… because, as mentioned in the article we published yesterday, the MyRecipes staff made this term up like a week ago. But once the idea was broken down by all the talented food freaks I’m surrounded by every day, something clicked. And I realized that even though I’ve never actually uttered hamify in conversation, it’s actually something my family and I have done for years unknowingly. (Quick recap: To hamify something basically means to ham it up, by either making it resemble a ham or incorporating ham flavor into it.)

But you know the one thing that doesn’t need a definition or explainer? My love for ham. Dare I admit this, but I actually love ham way more than turkey and, wait for it… even more than bacon. While everyone else looks forward to Easter because of deviled eggs, hot cross buns, and cute bunnies, I’m all in for the ham. Of course, it’s the same sentiment on Christmas and New Year’s. Every true Southerner knows that you can only ring in a new year and have good luck for the coming year by eating a classic Hoppin’ John that’s prepared with none other than a big ‘ol ham hock for full-on flavor. All superstitions and rituals aside, cooking ham is just plain easy. And for a girl like me who doesn’t know her way around the kitchen beyond the microwave, only having to heat something up and slather some glaze over it is a godsend during the busy holiday season. Ham does have one downside, though: It’s a large cut of meat that never seems to end.

At our weekly staff meeting, the Editor-in-Chief of Cooking Light magazine reminded me of a very clever quote from the late, great poet and writer of one of my favorite films, A Star is Born:
“The definition of eternity is two people and a ham.” - Dorothy Parker.

So, we’ve talked about how to harness the power of hamifying to avoid having a fridge full of leftovers, but we also recognize that most folks who are hellbent on ham will have one sitting at the center of the table no matter what… and, a lot of people actually like to have at least some leftovers after a holiday meal. Nothing wrong with that, and hamifying can help you too.

If your default leftover recipes are usually basic ham sandwiches, it’s time to embrace the idea of hamifying old recipes to make new, better, ham-ier ones. Instead of wasting all the succulent potential of that smoky pork, utilize it to whip up an easy and scrumptious breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in-between nibbles using the best parts of the ham, including the bone. From hearty casseroles and soups to kid-friendly favorites like pizza and mac and cheese, look to these delicious recipes to ensure your pig doesn’t go to waste.

And guess what... sandwiches and salad didn’t make our list of suggestions (neither are really true to the spirit of hamifying, in my opinion), so you can really have fun hamming it up this season, down to the very last bite. Let the hamify challenge begin with these 16 recipes:

1. Why, we do like green eggs and ham, Sam-I-Am!

2. Soup it up with ham in this earthy classic.

3. Ready in just 20 minutes, you don’t have to limit this ham, bacon, and cheese quiche to brunch on the weekends.

7. Toast with the most, using country ham and eggs.

9. Say hello to your new breakfast one-dish wonder.

10. Swirl of forkful of fettuccine, ham, and peas.

11. Hot sticky buns get a sweet and savory makeover with ham and swiss cheese.

12. Mix ham in a speedy casserole with asparagus.

13. This filling soup of ham and beans should earn a spot in your winter meal lineup.

14. Prepare for the ultimate breakfast experience with a spicy ham-and-eggs benedict stuffed in a fluffy biscuit.

15. Forget shrimp fried rice, this ham-filled stir fry is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.

16. Your kids won’t even taste the veggies in this ham-filled cheesy pasta dish.

By Michelle Darrisaw and Michelle Darrisaw