No Noche Buena is complete without Christmas ham. It’s the pièce de résistance of most Pinoy holiday spreads. But because of the abundance of dishes served alongside this classic, it’s rare to see the whole ball consumed by the end of the party. Sometimes, only a quarter gets its much-deserved attention.
Want to avoid leftovers and make the most of your baked Christmas ham? Why not prepare a menu featuring ham from start to finish? Yes, you can use some in your appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, and even dessert. Sulit na sulit! This way, you also lessen your expenses by not buying other pork, beef, or chicken cuts anymore. Doesn’t that sound like a truly merry Christmas?
Read on to learn how to make five affordable Christmas ham recipes the whole family is sure to love.
Appetizer: Ham and Cheese Pinwheel Bites
You only need a few slices of your Christmas ball ham to make these pinwheel bites! They’re the perfect party starters you can already prepare a day ahead. You can also use some of your queso de bola or other pantry staples to make this affordable appetizer.
Begin by slicing your ham and cheese thinly; set these aside. Flatten a slice of white bread using a rolling pin, then spread an even layer of mayonnaise on top. Layer a slice of ham, then some cheese. Roll everything tightly into a log. Cut into half-inch pieces and secure with toothpicks to make pinwheels. Repeat until you have enough for all your guests.
Kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy these tasty bites. You can even get creative and use leftover ingredients from your other dishes. Try tucking in some carrots, celery, or spinach. Or you can go Asian and swap the cheese for hoisin sauce and cucumber strips.
Soup: Cream of Corn and Ham
Save money and time this Christmas with the help of Knorr Cream of Corn Soup! Packed with real milk and corn, it tastes like a delicious homemade dish. With just a few tricks, you can already take it to the next level. Here, you can use your ham in two ways: mix it into the soup base and add it as a crunchy topping.
Start by slicing some ham into cubes. Set half aside and throw the other half into a frying pan. Fry the cubes until extra crispy, drain on paper towels, and reserve for later. Next, prepare your soup according to package directions. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in your chopped ham. If you want, you can also add a can of cream-style corn, boiled cubed potatoes, or some green peas. Serve your soup in bowls, then sprinkle the crispy ham on top.
Salad: Creamy Macaroni Salad
Pinoys can’t resist a creamy, hearty version of macaroni salad. Every family has a unique way of making it, so you can also go ahead and add whatever you want to yours. But this is also your chance to save money and reduce food wastage by using leftovers. And compared to a bowl of fresh greens, this type of salad is something you can prepare a week in advance.
Start by boiling your pasta. Any shape will work here – it doesn’t have to be macaroni! Set this aside to cool while you chop your ingredients. Use ham instead of chicken to make this dish more festive. Slice it into cubes, strips, or any shape your kids prefer. Chop onions, carrots, pineapple, cheese, and any other ingredient. Grab anything you see in your fridge or pantry – just be sure to have a balance of sweet and savory. Mix in some mayonnaise, then season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Done!
Pasta: Bacon and Garlic Spaghetti
Who says you can only choose between red and white sauce for your holiday spaghetti? Give this oil-based pasta dish a chance! The best part? You only need seven pantry staples to start.
To make, start by boiling the spaghetti in a pot. While that’s cooking, chop your ham into small chunks, then fry them in hot oil until crispy; set these aside. Heat more oil and melt butter in the same pan. Sauté garlic until fragrant and golden. Next, add a crumbled Knorr Chicken Cube for extra linamnam. Mix in your cooked noodles, crispy ham, and some fresh basil.
Dessert: Ham and Caramel Popcorn
Always save room for dessert – even when cooking with ham. Simply fry it until crispy like bacon, then use it in many different desserts. One example is caramel popcorn, which is a terrific choice for fans of anything sweet and salty.
Once you have your crispy ham, mix it with freshly cooked popcorn. Make a caramel by melting butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup in a large pot. Bring this to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Carefully add some baking soda and stir to combine. Pour the caramel sauce over your ham and popcorn. Mix well and spread onto a tray lined with baking paper. Let cool completely before transferring to a bowl and serving.
These are just a few ways you can maximize a whole piece of Christmas ham. Try these recipe ideas for Noche Buena and surprise your family with a unique ham-filled menu.