Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Foods - Take 2 Ideas

By now your Christmas menu is probably set; if it's not, see my blog "Holiday Foods - Meals/Menus" for ideas in the archive section on the right sideboard of this blog. Usually holiday menus result in enormous amounts of leftovers which is delightful - cook once, eat for days! But a totally different flavor is often welcomed after the tastes of the initial meal. These are suggestions for some easy and delicious ways to change up your leftover turkey, beef, or ham and some other party foods as well.
Most people who enjoy turkey dinner also adore the turkey sandwich that follows sometime after, the next day or, for some, that very night. Sandwiches are a terrific way to use up turkey, but there are other ways. One of the favorites in our house is to do a complete flavor change and prepare the leftover turkey into tacos! Simply purchase a taco dinner kit, follow the directions skipping the "cooking the meat" section, and season your turkey meat with the spice packet as you heat through. Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream for a new treat post-turkey dinner.
Another turkey recipe we rely on is Turkey Pot Pie. With a ton of turkey and gravy left over, this meal is a cinch to prepare, uses up a lot of leftovers, and is comfort food at its best. Start with pie dough for a double crust - I use Pillsbury prepared pie doughs. You can make your own, but I find Pillsbury to be scrumptious, fast, and reasonable. Next, layer in your turkey meat, leftover veggies or frozen mixed vegetables, and enough gravy to make everything wet and stay moist throughout the cooking. Cover with the second pie dough, seal the edges, cut a couple of air holes, and bake at the temperature the box recommends. Within the hour or so you'll have a piping hot, delicious, and heart-warming meal. Serve with leftover Jello-mold, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes, and you have just about cleaned out the refrigerator. We never make just one of these - make sure to have the correct amount of pie dough on hand. If you don't have enough gravy, pick some up at the store or substitute cream of chicken soup.
Leftover ham is a fortuitous meat to have when a group is staying with you and demands delicious breakfasts. In addition to "ham and eggs" on a plate, ham can be prepared into a breakfast casserole. There are myriad recipes to choose on the internet and in cookbooks that are easy, feed a small or large army, can be prepared ahead of time, and yield a highly satisfying end product. This breakfast tends to be highly caloric with eggs, cheese, and bread in the mix, but serving many means you can take a small portion and supplement with a fresh fruit salad. Ham is also delicious and packs a protein punch mixed in to the children's Mac & Cheese.
Dealing with leftover pot roast, london broil, or tenderloin? Don't forget the sublime happiness that comes with a steak sandwich. But, a designer salad is a great idea as well. Layer your favorite salad greens on a large platter, add your leftover beef, sliced thinly and in bite-sized pieces on top, scatter with your favorite vegetables and salad add-ins, include a tasty cheese like a tangy bleu or salty feta, and lightly dress with extra virgin olive oil and a great vinegar (red wine or balsamic). This is a great way to begin to lighten your plate as we head into the New Year and everyone's thoughts tend to go to diet and exercise. Salad as main course with only a small bit of bold flavors (the cheese in this case) is a great way to reign in your holiday splurging and start getting back to normal eating. In the coming year, make a resolution to live happier and healthier, you can only benefit from that! I'm doing it and would love you all to join me!

Stay with me all this week as we tie up any loose ends leading up to Christmas... which is now only FIVE (5) days away!!! We'll look at last minute gift ideas, games to play during the holidays, how to get into and stay in the holiday mood, and, of course, end Christmas Eve with a Friday Music Blog! I hope you can join me each and every day, share your comments with me, and glean some useful information from these blogs.


  1. I'm a big fan of cook once a week and eat leftovers all week. Saves money, time and sink clutter. Soup and casseroles are big in making leftovers rock. Adding cheese can make the meal. Cheese and chocolate are mandatory you know......=)

  2. I agree with the cook on the weekends... eat all week theory. Chile is good for that.

  3. Chief, I'm making fish tacos for a early lunch on Xmas day. Very simple and easy to clean up. I loved them when I go to Baja California, its the meal of choice for me.