Planned leftovers save time, support a healthy mealtime

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (Hy-Vee) - The snow is gone and life starts running on high gear as many families dive into the multitude of the end-of-the-school-year activities. Johnson Avenue Hy-Vee dietitian, Judy Fitzgibbons, suggests using a "planned-over" meal strategy to keep everyone functioning well despite busy days.

The April 2019 edition of Hy-Vee Seasons magazine shows us a new approach to multiple meals. The One Pan Ham and Asparagus Dinner (page 40) shows us how to make a meal from scratch or as a way to use up ham dinner leftovers. A really nice thing about this idea, says Fitzgibbons, is the combination of freshly cooked veggies with pre-cooked meat and sides. While this meal is based on possible Easter dinner leftovers, the steps could be adapted to a variety of other meal combinations. Cooking extra portions on a day off makes pulling together a healthier meal easy.

Instead of heating foods separately in the microwave, cooking on a sheet pan keeps everything hot at serving time. Basically, start with the menu items that need the most time for cooking or reheating, then add another item at about 10 minute intervals. Fresh vegetables typically need 20 to 25 minutes to roast. Sliced meat requires about 15 minutes and pre-baked breads only five minutes.

Planning for sheet pan meals can reduce food costs by using up leftovers. Also, eating at home, even when life is busy, gives families' time to be together, supporting kids' social development. And, those meals can be much healthier for kids and adults, especially when vegetables are part of them.

One-Pan Ham and Asparagus Dinner.
Source: Hy-Vee Seasons April 2019
Serves 4

All you need:
1 Hy-Vee large egg, beaten
1-1/2 cup mashed potatoes, pre-made and leftover
1 Tsp. dried herbs, chopped, such as: parsley, chives,
and/or thyme
2 Tbsp. Hy-Vee salted butter, melted
1 lb. fresh asparagus
1 Tbsp Gustare Vita olive oil
½ tsp garlic powder
8 slices Hy-Vee fully cooked bone-in spiral-sliced ham
2 slices Hy-Vee canned pineapple slices in juice, drained
and halved
4 Hy-Vee Bakery dinner rolls
4 maraschino cherries, optional

All you do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking pan with Hy-Vee nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Stir together egg, mashed potatoes, and herbs in a medium bowl until well combined. Spoon mounds on prepared baking sheet; lightly brush potato mounds with melted butter.
Toss asparagus with olive oil and garlic powder. Add asparagus to baking pan, leaving space for ham and rolls. Bake for 10 minutes
Arrange ham slices and pineapple slices in a single overlapping layer on baking pan; bake 10 minutes.
Add Hy-Vee bakery rolls to pan; bake for 5 minutes more or until ham is heated through and asparagus is crisp.-tender. Garnish with cherries, if desired.

Judy Fitzgibbons represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert working throughout the community to promote healthy eating and nutrition. Judy is a Registered Dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.