published Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Eating on the day after: Fast, easy recipes using holiday leftovers

Clint Cooper prepared "Susie's Breakfast Eggs for a Crowd," served with sliced apples.
Clint Cooper prepared "Susie's Breakfast Eggs for a Crowd," served with sliced apples.
Photo by John Rawlston.

It's the day after Christmas, and you've still got guests.

That may or may not be the bad news.

The good news is you've got plenty of food in the refrigerator.

Since the guests aren't the getting-out type, you're stuck with making three meals. Do you really want to just trot out the Christmas ham and say, "Help yourselves"?

But what to do without spending all day in the kitchen, without assembling ingredients not found in most cabinets and without going shopping?

Here's some help. Below are five recipes that either utilize what you served for Christmas dinner — ham, turkey or chicken — or what you probably already have on the shelf.

To start off, the elegant breakfast dish can be in the oven in five minutes.

Susie Morgan of Vancouver, Wash., writing on Panerabread.com, said the egg cups were first served to her and her husband at a bed-and-breakfast in Brenham, Texas.

It was, she said, their last meal in the state after living there for 15 years. They were returning to their home state of Washington.

"I have since served these eggs to visiting family and friends as we gather around the table and make memories to feed upon later," she says.

Although the eggs could be a meal in themselves, they might be served with fresh fruit and a variety of bagels, muffins, and breads.

The day-after-Christmas lunch sandwiches may take you 10 minutes if you really try something funky (like assembling double-decker sandwiches), the broccoli salad (for lunch or dinner) might take another 10 minutes, and the dinner casseroles, if need be, could be made ahead of time.

Susie's Breakfast Eggs For A Crowd

12 thin slices of deli ham (about 4 ounces)

1/2 cup salsa

12 large eggs

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Arrange one slice of ham in each cup, molding it to the shape of the cup. The ham may rise out of the edges of the cup. Spread one teaspoon of salsa in the bottom of each cup.

Break one egg into each ham-lined cup. Top with another teaspoon of salsa, and two teaspoons shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake until the cheese melts and the eggs are set, about 20 minutes.

(You can replace the salsa with finely chopped fresh vegetables of your choice such as onions, peppers, tomatoes, or mushrooms. For a more intense flavor, sauté vegetables beforehand).

— Susie Morgan, from Panerabread.com

Linda's Tuna and Olive Sandwich (or Finger Rolls)

1 (7 ounce) can solid white tuna, packed in water, drained well

1/4 cup mayonnaise, add more, until desired consistency

10 green olives, finely chopped

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (optional)

Lettuce (optional)

4-6 slices bread, for 2-3 sandwiches or 3-4 finger rolls

Flake the tuna between your fingers and add mayonnaise. Mix well. Add olive and onion. Mix well. Spread mayonnaise on bread if making a sandwich. Add lettuce. Add tuna mixture, and top with bread, or stuff into roll, filled to your liking. Serve with dill pickles and chips.

— Food.com

Broccoli Salad with Gouda

3 cups small broccoli florets

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds (or pine nuts)

6-8 ounces gouda cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (smoked or regular)

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Salt (to taste)

Cook broccoli in boiling salted water for one minute. Drain well; rinse with cold water; drain well again.

Combine the broccoli with onion, tomatoes, nuts and cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar, pepper and salt; pour over salad mixture and toss to coat.

— Food.com

One-step Ham Casserole

1 1/2 cups milk

1 10 3/4-ounce can condensed cream of celery soup

2 cups diced cooked ham

1 cup dried elbow macaroni

1 4-ounce can (drained weight) sliced mushrooms, drained

2 tablespoons diced pimiento

1 tablespoon dried minced onion or 1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup shredded American cheese (2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In an ungreased two-quart casserole, gradually stir milk into soup. Stir in ham, macaroni, mushrooms, pimiento and onion.

Bake, covered, about 40 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.

— www.bhg.com

Day After Christmas Casserole

3 cups bread cubes

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, beaten

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/4 teaspoon paprika

3 cups chopped turkey or chicken

Combine one-half of the bread cubes with eggs in large bowl. Combine remaining cubes with milk; stir into egg mixture. Add soup; mix thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients, and stir until well mixed. Pour into casserole; brush with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

— Cooks.com

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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