SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM -- What Can You Do With SPAM?

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SPAM™ - that ubiquitous can of meat that everyone loves to joke about; from the all the jokes around, it would seem that no one actually eats the stuff. However, the 7,000,000,000th - that’s seven BILLION - can was produced in 2002, so there must be a large group of secret SPAM aficionados.

In 1937, the brother of a Hormel vice-president named the new luncheon meat with a contraction of “spiced ham,” and a new era of culinary history launched. Between 1941-1945, the company shipped more than 100 million pounds of SPAM overseas for World War II Allied troops. Since then, homemakers have invented enough recipes using the product that Hormel launched the State Fair Best SPAM Recipe Contest, now part of more than 40 state and regional competitions.

So what can you do with this product? Since it contains only six ingredients - pork shoulder, ham, salt, sugar, water and sodium nitrate - you can substitute it into any dish that would normally use pork. Start the morning off with sliced and pan-fried SPAM snuggled next to your eggs or tucked into your biscuits, or make a kid-friendly lunch by cubing the meat and stirring it into a dish of macaroni and cheese. Alternatively, replace the beef in your hamburger with sliced SPAM or add cubes of the meat to your favorite potato or pasta salad. Then, take it to another level during the rest of the day.

Kicked Up Breakfast

Turn plain ham and eggs into SPAM Benedict with a little sauce and impress your family with your skills. Toast some English muffins and pan-fry the SPAM until it browns nicely. Poach some eggs and you are ready for the sauce.

Whisk four egg yolks, one tablespoon of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a small pinch of black pepper or cayenne pepper until they are thoroughly blended. Slowly whisk the blend into one stick of melted butter in a double boiler, and continue to stir the sauce until it thickens. Stack the SPAM and egg on the muffins, and ladle the sauce over the top. Sprinkle a little paprika or parsley over the top for a pretty presentation.

Hammy Handheld Omelets

Chop the SPAM into small cubes (about 1/8 inch) and place a spoonful into the bottom of a muffin tin that you’ve coated with cooking spray. Add chopped onions, bell peppers, and other veggies of your choice, along with a good pinch of shredded cheese. Pour beaten eggs or egg substitute over the ingredients in the tin and bake them at 300 degrees until the eggs are set, about 10-15 minutes. Pop them out of the tins and serve them with hash browns, grits, toast or biscuits.

Luncheon Love

Grind the SPAM or chop it into small cubes. Add chopped boiled eggs, dill and sweet pickle relishes, a small dollop of Dijon mustard, and enough mayonnaise or salad dressing to bind the salad together.

Split mini croissants and pile the “ham” salad onto the bread. Serve the sandwiches on a bed of spring mix lettuces, or with a carrot-raisin salad and a bit of fresh fruit

Pizza Burgers

Fool everyone with this quick and easy mix that will feed a teen army; no one will believe you when you tell them the ingredients. Grind up one can of SPAM and mix it with a can of chili without beans, one chopped onion, and 2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese. Spread the mixture on split hamburger buns and bake them at 350 degrees until they are bubbly.

Pork Fried Rice

Whether you start from fresh or use leftover rice and vegetables, fried rice made with SPAM is sure to please.

Cut the meat into bite-sized cubes and set them aside. Chop onion, carrots, broccoli and your other favorite veggies while a bit of olive oil heats in your wok or skillet.

Toss the onions into the hot oil and sauté them until they are translucent, adding a bit of chopped garlic about halfway through. Add the carrots and other hard vegetables and cook them for 2-3 minutes before adding the SPAM and broccoli.

When the meat is lightly browned and the vegetables are tender, stir in cooked rice and sprinkle it with soy sauce to taste. When the mixture is completely heated, remove it from the heat and pour in one or two beaten eggs and stir, allowing the heat of the fried rice to cook the egg.

Polynesian-Style SPAM

Cut slits in a block of SPAM to make 1/4-inch thick slices, but don’t cut all the way through the bottom. Tuck half of a canned pineapple slice and a 1/8-inch slice of onion into each slit. Spread prepared mustard over the tops and sides of the meat. Bake the concoction at 350 degrees until everything is browned and heated all the way through.

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