New ideas for same old leftovers

Published 10:06 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news editor
If your refrigerator looks anything like mine, you've probably got more leftovers than you know what to do with. I know that I am already tired for having ham the regular way and I don't think I can eat one more speck of mashed potatoes.
I've decided to share some ideas that may be helpful in creating completely new dishes from a mountain of leftovers.
Of course, most of these ideas are going to involve making casseroles. I'm sorry if you don't like to anything ending in “asserole” but the truth of the matter is, it's the best way to clean out the frig short of making soup.
This first recipe will use up some of that left over ham. By the way, don't forget to hold on to that ham bone for the New Year's black-eyed peas. The recipe that follows calls for making mashed potatoes from scratch. If you have a bowl of mashed spuds in the refrigerator, you can skip that part and use the leftovers.
Ham and Potato Casserole
12 potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cooked ham, cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and mash with 1/4 cup of the butter and milk. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine mashed potatoes, ham, garlic, mushroom soup, butter, egg and parsley in a mixing bowl. Transfer mixture to greased casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Now that recipe won't help you much if you had turkey for your Christmas meal. I realize that some people like to have a turkey for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. If that is the case, this next recipe might help you with your leftover dilemma. Simply replace the chicken in the recipe with turkey. This is a great meal that even the children should enjoy.
Chicken or Turkey A La King
1 cup diced, cooked chicken meat
1 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
Combine chicken, vegetables and broth or wine in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Stir all together and let simmer until heated through. In a small bowl beat cornstarch into evaporated milk and add to chicken mixture. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste, unless leftover chicken has enough of its own seasoning already. Serve hot.
Now if you're into making soup, this recipe could be what you're looking for. I know at my house we usually have peas, butterbeans and maybe even a little corn on the holiday table. If that's the case, you probably have a good recipe that uses both leftover vegetables and meat to make a great soup.
If you're looking for another recipe that might be a little different, this one may fit the bill. There are a lot of ingredients and it could take a little time, but at least you'll get rid of that big turkey in your refrigerator.
Turkey Soup with Dumplings
1 picked over turkey carcass
12 cups water
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots
1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 bay leaf
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 small rutabaga, cubed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds cooked turkey, cubed
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 slices white bread, quartered
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Combine turkey carcass, water, 1 cup celery, 2 carrots, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, thyme, bouillon, and bay leaf in large 4 quart stockpot.
Bring to boiling. Lower heat, and cover. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Strain stock, and discard solids. Skim off fat using ladle or fat separator. Pick meat off bones when cooled. Reserve meat.
Combine 6 tablespoons flour and 1/2 cup milk in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine. Pour stock into pot. Bring to simmering. Strain flour mixture through sieve into stock, stirring. Slice remaining 3 carrots. Add rutabaga, ground pepper, remaining 1/2 cup celery, and sliced carrots. Simmer 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. While the soup is simmering, prepare the dumplings. Combine parsley and bread in processor; whirl until medium size crumbs. Add 1 1/4 cups flour, baking powder, and salt; process just until combined. Add 1/2 cup milk and butter; process using on-off pulses just until blended.
Drop mounded tablespoons of dumpling mixture into simmering soup.
Place cover on pot. Cook for 12 minutes, or until dumplings are dry in center. Add turkey meat; cook 3 minutes, or until heated through.
I hope that you find these recipes enjoyable and helpful in using up those leftovers.
This is the last Cook's Corner for 2007. I hope that you have enjoyed this year's recipes. If all goes well, I hope to pass along another year's worth for your dining pleasure.
Happy New Year and Happy Cooking!

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