Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ham and Cheese Strata

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What to do with Christmas Leftovers?

You spend a few days trying to plan out your holiday menus. Marinate, brine, roast, bake, grill, the possibilities are endless.

The day finally arrives and you've prepared your menu, your family and guest arrives, you share good food and good times on that special day of the year. But, what happens to the food once the meal is over?
Here are some ideas of what you can do with your leftovers?
Ham leftovers:
Ham and Cheese Strata
This easy strata is made by arranging ham and cheese sandwiches in a baking dish, then pouring a mixture of eggs, milk and cheese over them. Top everything with a bit more cheese, then put it in the oven and walk away. You can even make this recipe a day or two ahead.
10 slices sandwich bread or dinner rolls
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
5 slices of ham
5 slices deli Cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese or your favorite cheese
1/2 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
Use the bread, mustard, ham and cheese to make 5 sandwiches. Arrange the sandwiches in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. You may need to cut 1 of the sandwiches in half to get them to fit evenly. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, salt, black pepper and Parmesan. Pour the mixture over the sandwiches, then press the bread gently with a fork to help them absorb the liquid. Top with Parmesan cheese (and prosciutto if using). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the strata comes out clean and the strata is lightly browned at the edges. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Go eastern. Did you have steak for Christmas dinner? Cut the leftovers into thin strips. With a few stir-fry vegetables you have created a new dinner meal. If stir fry is not your cup of tea, you can make lo mien, fried rice and other Asian dishes that include steak. Or if you had the traditional turkey, go wild with turkey chow mein.
Create a pie. This is not the sweet treat but a dinner pie. Turkey, chicken, ham and even beef can be placed inside a crust with tons of delicious veggies (whatever left over veggies you may have - corn, field pea, carrots) to make a pot pie your family will love. Top with mashed potatoes and cheese.
Finally is one one of my favorite treats uses leftover mashed potatoes.

Add a couple of tablespoons of corn starch to the mashed potatoes, knead until well blended. Divide dough into pieces the size of a golf ball.. With moistened hands flatten a piece into a wok like think disk. put about 2 Tablespoons of filling** in the middle, gather edges, and close the piece into a ball. Then flatten it into a disc.
Dredge disks in bread crumbs (plain, Italian or you can use panko). Shake off excess crumbs.
In a frying pan, place oil in a skillet (about a half inch). When hot, fry discs turning once to brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on a cooling rack lines with paper towel.
** filling: You can fill with your favorite shredded cheese like pepper jack or mozzarella. You may also use leftover chicken, ham, turkey, etc. Or you can make the following filling:
1/2 lb. of lean ground sirloin
1 small onion (chopped)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. chili pepper
1/4 c. chopped parsley (optional)
1/4 c. blanched slivered almonds
1/4 c. currants
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Heat a medium sized skillet, heat oil, and cook ground meat, stirring occasionally to break down the lumps (3-6 minutes). Add onion and cook until transparent. Add remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Cool mixture before using.

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