Creative recipes for holiday leftovers

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Holiday leftovers can actually be one of the good parts of theend of the Christmas season if you know how to use them, one localchef said.

Harriet Proffitt, who teaches cooking classes at BrookhavenRecreation Department, said there’s always a creative solution towhat seems to some to be “The Attack of the Christmas Leftovers.”She said in her household they don’t call it “leftover cooking,”they call it “planned over cooking.” As it turns out, her husbandMike came up in a home where he and his brother and his father sawto it that leftovers were not an issue.

“My husband didn’t grow up eating leftovers, and the first timeI tried to serve them to him, he said, ‘We already had that,'” shesaid laughing.

Of course, Proffitt said, there is always a plethora of turkeyafter the holidays. Rather than weeks of turkey sandwiches, shesuggests other creative solutions.

“In my cooking classes at the recreation department, I was goingto do one called ‘Hide the Turkey,'” she said. “It was aboutcreative uses for leftover turkey. Because really, what isThanksgiving turkey if you don’t have turkey salad the nextday?”

Proffitt said one great fallback for traditional leftovers is aturkey and cranberry ring, a recipe she got from Pampered Chef. Therecipe includes turkey, cranberry sauce, celery, Dijon mustard,Swiss cheese, and crescent rolls among other things.

“Stuff anything in a crescent roll and it’s good,” she said.”It’s like a fancy turkey salad with a few leftover goodies.”

Other great uses are turkey club pizza and turkey taco soup,Proffitt said.

Another fun way to recycle in the post-Christmas glow is to makecake trifles, Proffitt said.

“Cube your leftover pound cake and layer it with ice cream and alayer of cream cheese and a pudding mixture,” she said.

Other alternatives, she said, are to layer it with cream cheeseand a half-can of condensed milk, or to use fruit and sorbetinstead. She said she’s also currently working on some cappuccinotrifles.

Wondering what to do with the ham that won’t go away? Proffittsaid that’s an easy problem to fix, as ham is versatile and can beused as a breakfast food as well. She suggests brunch squares madeof ham, egg, cheese, and hash browns.

“Ham and cheese brunch squares are just delicious, and it’s agreat leftover ham use,” she said.

The recipe, like an omelette, can be seasoned to the cook’sfavorite tastes. Some suggestions, Proffitt said, are peppers,pimentos, or onions, among other things.

And in a time where everyone’s trying to warm up, Proffitt saidsoup is always a great way to recycle dishes.

“It’s getting to be soup weather, because it’s cold and rainyoutside,” she said. “My favorite soup recipe is chicken alfredosoup, but you can also use turkey or ham or vegetables in the soup.You just put in your chopped broccoli and carrots, your leftovermeat, and some alfredo, and mix it into your chicken broth.”

Proffitt said the important thing to remember is that the key tomaking that great initial holiday meal enjoyable until it’scompletely gone is simply creativity.

Chicken Vegetable Alfredo Soup

1 c. chopped broccoli

1/2 c. chopped carrots

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/2 c. diced red bell pepper

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 can (14 oz) chicken broth

2 c. diced cooked chicken

1 T snipped basil

1 jar (16 oz) Alfredo sauce

Grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Chop broccoli, carrots and onion. Dice bell pepper. Placebroccoli, carrots, onion, bell pepper and pressed garlic in a3-quart saucepan. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heatand simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until vegetables arecrisp-tender.

2. Meanwhile, dice chicken. Snip basil and set aside. Addchicken and Alfredo sauce to broth; simmer 5 minutes or untilheated through. Remove from heat; stir in basil.

3. If desired, ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with Parmesancheese.

Yield: 5 1/2 cups or 4 servings

Turkey Club Pizza

1 Pkg. Refrigerated Pizza Dough

2 t. Sesame seeds

1/4 c. Mayonnaise

1 t. Lemon zest

1 c. Shredded Jack cheese

1/2 T. Basil

1 c. chopped turkey

6 Slices Bacon – Cooked and drained

1 Tomato – Thinly sliced

1/2 c/ Swiss Cheese – Shredded

Unroll pizza crust on pizza or cookie sheet. Sprinkle withsesame seeds. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 F. degrees.

Mix mayo and lemon zest. Spread over crust. Top with remainingingredients in order listed and bake 425 F. degrees for 7-9minutes.

Turkey Taco Soup

2-3 c. diced/shredded turkey

1 large can v-8 juice

1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans

1 can (15 oz) pinto beans

1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans

1 can (15 oz) black beans

1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes

1 can (15 oz) corn

1 pkg. Taco seasoning mix

Mix all together and simmer for 45 minutes.

Serves 8.

Cappuccino Trifle

Frozen Pound Cake, cubed

Coffee Ice Cream, softened

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 can condensed milk

2 T. instant coffee

1/4 c. milk

Whipped topping

Chocolate chips

Cube a frozen pound cake. Dissolve coffee in milk. Stir creamcheese vigorously until smooth. Add condensed milk, mixing well.Add coffee/milk, blending. Fold in one cup whipped topping.

Place 2 T chocolate chips in cheese grater.

Layer as follows.

1) Cake cubes

2) Softened Coffee Ice Cream

3) Cream Cheese Mixture

4) Grated Chocolate

5) Repeat

Top with Whipped Topping.