Time for a twist with all that leftover ham in your fridge.
Try Cajun Red Beans and Rice with Ham and Andouille Sausage or Cuban Empanadas. Or both.
Why do I love ham as a registered dietitian nutritionist? Because it’s lean and low fat as well as versatile. Ham has only 3 grams fat in every 3 ounce portion. That’s lean. Plus, it packs around 20 grams protein in every 3 oz. serving.
Get a dose of immune-supporting nutrients with Cajun Red Beans and Rice with Ham & Andouille Sausage from all the green bell pepper, tomatoes, onion and garlic. The lean ham balances the higher fat (but absolutely essential!) Andouille sausage. Serve Cajun Red Beans & Ham over brown rice and you’ve got one nutrient-rich full-meal dish!
Celebrate Cuban flavors similar to a traditional Cuban Sandwich with my empanadas – ham, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and pickle relish all inside a folded-over circle of flaky pie crust. Balance this decadent empanada with a super salad of romaine, spinach, arugula, red onion, strawberries, and a few candied almonds.
Cheers, stay safe and healthy. And enjoy your ham knowing you’re supporting our hardworking Indianan Pork Farmers.
- 2 - 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups finely chopped sweet Vidalia onion
- 1 very large green bell pepper, finely chopped (at least 1 ½ cups)
- 2 - 3 very large garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 cans (15 ounces each) red beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ - 2 cups lower sodium chicken broth (Kim uses one 14-15 oz. can chicken broth)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (purchased or Kim’s homemade - recipe below)*
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 - 12 ounces Andouille pork sausage links, thinly sliced and halved
- 12 - 16 ounces ham, diced (at least a heaping 2 cups diced)
- Hot cooked white or brown rice (at least 4 cups)
- *Kim’s Homemade Cajun Seasoning
- 3 tablespoons good quality paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat oil in a large 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and green bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are completely tender. Add garlic, diced tomatoes, red beans, chicken broth, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, sausage and ham. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes, stirring a couple times. Remove bay leaves. Serve over hot brown or white rice. Refrigerate leftovers in a tightly covered container and enjoy within 4 days.
- For Kim's Homemade Cajun Seasoning: Whisk all spices together in a small bowl. Store in a tightly covered glass container in a cool, dark place. Makes about 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup).
- 1 package (15 ounces) refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on package
- 4 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 4 tablespoons dill pickle relish, drained
- 1 ½ cups ham, very finely chopped, almost minced*
- 1 bag (8 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water, milk or cream
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Unroll crusts on a lightly floured work surface. Roll or pat each into a 11 to 12-inch round roughly. Cut four 4 ½ to 5-inch circles in dough, roughly 4 from each circle. (You can re-roll the scraps from both pie crusts and get two more empanadas, 10 instead of 8). Spread a heaping ½ teaspoon mustard on each round, spreading all the way to edge practically. In center of each round, place 1 teaspoon dill pickle relish, 2 tablespoons minced ham and about 2 tablespoons shredded Swiss cheese. In a small bowl, whisk egg with a tablespoon preferred liquid. Fold each dough half, tucking mixture in well. Press edges tightly together and crimp edges to seal with a fork. Brush top and edges of each empanada with egg wash. With a knife, cut three slits on top of each empanada. Place empanandas on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until pie crust is done and golden brown. Cool slightly before serving. Refrigerate leftovers in a tightly covered contain and enjoy within 4 days.
- *Can mince ham in food processor.