We tend to go through ‘food phases’ in my house. Maybe it’s the same for you? For a period of time, we’ll buy a lot of one thing, make lots of stuff out of it, then move on to something else.
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It has to do with what’s on sale, trying different foods to save money on the grocery bill, or maybe a new healthy trend. Well, we went through a very long ham phase. Our local Co op grocery store kept putting them on sale and they were such a good deal, we just couldn’t resist. So, I had to find LOTS of recipes for leftover ham. And this Healthy Leftover Creamy Ham Pasta with peas is one of my favorites!
But I have to admit that my least favorite food phase was our bologna phase…
I hated the bologna phase even more than the cheap frozen fish phase. We were trying really hard to save money on our grocery bill and making stuff out of bologna seemed like a good idea at the time. It’s just protein after all, right? And I convinced myself that I could really challenge myself as a cook and recipe developer. Well…. maybe not so much.
Leftover ham recipes
Although I have had to come up with lots of leftover ham recipes for dinner over the years and this was not easy, it’s waaaay easier than bologna! I did make a fancy bologna sandwich for a cooking contest once and it was actually really awesome, but I pretty much wanted to throw in the towel after the bologna spaghetti experience. It’s not that it tasted that bad, it’s just that I couldn’t get past the fact that my spaghetti sauce had bologna in it. And that was it for me. I discovered that there is really only so much you can do with bologna.
I think I’ve had to mentally block out the other stuff we made with bologna.
But this leftover ham pasta is an entirely different ball game! It also uses up leftover mascarpone cheese. Although you can use cream cheese instead (as the original recipe did). I just find mascarpone cheese a little smoother and less tangy than cream cheese; it’s my favorite creamy cheese!
Leftover ham AND leftover mascarpone cheese
Whenever I make one of my recipes with mascarpone cheese, like my No Bake Black Forest Tiramisu or my Raspberry Tiramisu Cutie Pies, I always have leftovers. This recipe gets two birds with one stone because it uses up both my leftover mascarpone cheese and leftover ham! I recently made My carrot cake doughnut muffins for a potluck and only used a very small amount of mascarpone, so this was the perfect recipe to use up the rest. Mascarpone cheese freezes really well, so I just left it in the freezer until I was ready to make this!
I’m really a turkey girl when it comes to holiday dinners, but once in a while I like to change it up and have ham at Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. This recipe is perfect for those holiday ham leftovers as well.
So I guess the moral of the story is that you can only do so much with bologna, so stick to bologna sandwiches. But if you are looking for healthy leftover ham recipes, you can go waaay beyond sandwiches, starting with this delicious ham and pea pasta!
Follow my Pinterest Board “Leftovers Reinvented” for more leftover ideas!
Healthy Leftover Creamy Ham Pasta with Peas
- 1 375 g - box of pasta (spiral, rigatoni, fusilli etc)
- 2 cups leftover ham, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon base (powder)
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 28 oz - can diced tomatoes and juices 798 mls
- 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese * can substitute cream cheese
- 1 500 g -bag of frozen green peas about 2 cups
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1 284 ml can of mushrooms
- parmesan cheese
- basil sprinkles for garnish
- Cook pasta in large pot until done.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, fry ham with onions until onions are soft. Add chicken bouillon powder mixed with boiling water, then add tomatoes and garlic.
- Whisk in mascarpone cheese and mix until incorporated. Cook for 10 more minutes, then add frozen peas and canned mushrooms
- Drain pasta and add to pan. Then add basil and oregano.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and basil.
This recipe is part of The Country Cook Weekend Potluck!