Inventive Re-Do’s from Holiday Feasts

Create a new frame for those leftovers

If the spring holiday meals have left you with a surplus, think of those leftovers as raw material or natural resources, not tired re-runs. Of course, you’ve packaged up and frozen whatever you can, such as the ham bone or lamb bones for soup, and slices of the remaining desserts, maybe. You’ve made deviled eggs and egg salad for lunch and sandwiches from the brisket. Here are some flexible, versatile, family-friendly recipes that will help you go the next step. Using these, you can work with what you have and even re-purpose the leftover dips and stale rolls.

Matzoh Brei           

Usually eaten like pancakes or French toast, matzoh brei is also delicious as a savory brunch item when combined with mushrooms and scallions.

½ lb. sliced mushroom

3 scallions, chopped

4 matzohs

4 large eggs

2-4 Tbs. chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, thyme or basil

salt and pepper, to taste

1, plus 3 Tbs. butter

In a large frying pan, sauté the mushrooms and scallions in 1 Tbs. butter until they have softened. Set them aside on a plate. Beat the eggs in a flat dish, like a deep pie pan. Add a splash of water, salt and pepper. Break the matzohs into medium-sized pieces into a sieve and run them briefly under cold water to soften slightly. Add the pieces to the egg mix and mix gently with a fork.

Melt the remaining butter in the pan. When hot, add the matzoh-egg mixture and cook, stirring constantly. When the eggs are beginning to set, add in the mushroom mix, gently lifting and moving the eggs and matzoh. Cook until firm and browning slightly. Serve with sour cream and/or horseradish. Serves 4.


Chinese-Inspired (Leftover) Lamb Stir-Fry

Warm, don’t over-cook, the lamb. Substitute leftover roast chicken if that’s what you have. The Asian ingredients are generally available locally.

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbs. canola oil

2 c. of mixed raw vegetables, thinly sliced, such as red or green peppers, onions or scallions, Napa cabbage, bok choy, broccoli or broccolini, zucchini or yellow squash, mushrooms, carrots

8-10 slices leftover lamb or 1-2 c. chunks of lamb meat

1 tsp. five-spice powder

2-3 Tbs. hoisin sauce 

1 Tbs. soy sauce

salt & pepper, to taste

Heat both oils in a large fry pan or wok. When very hot, quickly stir-fry the garlic and ginger for 1 min. Then add in the vegetables, making sure the heat stays high and tossing them frequently until tender. Remove them from the pan and reserve. If necessary, add 1 tsp. more oil and toss the lab to warm it. Add five-spice powder, hoisin and soy sauces. Heat briefly, season and return the vegetables to the pan. Mix gently and serve on rice. Serves 4-6.


(Leftover) Vegetable Strata

Asparagus work especially well in this quiche- or bread pudding-like dish. Add leftover ham if you have it too.

6 thick slices of bread or leftover rolls, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 c. cooked vegetables, chopped (asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, chard, peas)

6 eggs

1 c. combination of milk, cream, half and half, leftover sour cream dip

½ tsp.  Dijon mustard

fresh herbs, chopped, to taste (dill, thyme, oregano, parsley, basil)

salt & pepper, to taste

1 c. Cheddar, Asiago or Fontina cheese, shredded

Toss cubed bread with vegetables and pour the mix into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Whisk together eggs, the dairy combination, the herbs, seasoning and mustard until smooth, then pour evenly over cubed bread. Soak for at least 30 min. or as long as  overnight, refrigerated and covered. Before baking, sprinkle the strata with cheese. Bake at 45 min. in a 350 oven for 45-60 min., or until it’s puffy, golden and firm. Serves 6-8.


(Leftover) Brisket or Roast Pork Cheesesteaks

Based on but, I daresay, better than Philly’s

I medium onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbs. olive oil

8-10 slices leftover brisket or roast pork

salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, to taste

2 bunches broccoli di rabe, chopped

8 slices of Provolone or Asiago cheese

4 long rolls, split

Sauté the onions and garlic until just soft in olive oil. Shred or chop the meat and add. Add the chopped broccoli di rabe along with a little water, cover and cook about 7 min., just until the greens are soft. Season and portion the mix onto the rolls and top with sliced cheese. Serves 4.


(Leftover) Salmon Tourtiere

A traditional French-Canadian savory pie, here somewhat lightened and topped more easily. Substitute leftover roast chicken if you prefer.

1 medium onion, chopped

2 Tbs. butter

2 Tbs. flour

1-11/2 c. milk and chicken broth, combined

1 c. or more of leftover cooked salmon (2 c. of flaked canned salmon works as well)

1 c. or more cooked carrots, peas, broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, chopped

1 c. raw vegetables, such as mushrooms, arugula, spinach (optional)

fresh herbs, chopped (dill, sage, parsley)

salt & pepper, to taste

1 pre-made pie crust, from the refrigerator case

Sauté the onions in the melted butter until just soft. Sprinkle with flour and cook for I min. Slowly add the broth and milk combination, stirring until thickened. Cool slightly and mix in the other ingredients gently.

Pour the mix into a deep, greased casserole dish. Unroll the pie crust over the dish, crimp the edges and cut a few small slits in the crust. Bake at 400 for 10 min. and then turn down to 350 and bake for 20 min. more or until the crust is golden and the filling bubbles up around the edges. Serves 6.






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