What to do with all those Easter leftovers

What to do with all those Easter leftovers

Year after year, across the country, many households finish their holiday meal and are then faced with mountains (or maybe only rolling hills) of leftovers. Now I don’t know about you, but after about the third meal in a row, I think turkey and stuffing or roast beef and mashed potatoes or ham and sweet potatoes really start to get boring and monotonous.

In my family, and I’m sure in many others, we have learned several ways to recreate these leftovers into new meals that don’t resemble their original form. You can start by saving the bones from your beef roast, ham or turkey to cook down for broth or soup stock.

Thinking up leftover ideas in general is relatively simple. Most foods — meats, starches, vegetables and fruits — can be used in making salads, soups, stir-fries and casseroles. Leftover vegetables and pasta can make a quick hot or cold salad or add some broth and make soup. Cooked potatoes can be transformed into hash browns or home fries for breakfast, potato salad, a quick potato soup, potato cakes, or add some meat and gravy to make a casserole.

More specifically:

—Leftover turkey: turkey noodle soup, turkey rice soup, turkey tetrazzini, turkey divan, chopped turkey salad, creamed turkey, chef’s salad, turkey pot pie, turkey noodle casserole (same as tuna noodle), turkey and biscuits, or turkey, grape and cashew salad.

—Leftover roast beef: beef and mushrooms, beef stroganoff, pepper steak, beef vegetable soup, beef barley soup, barbecued beef sandwiches, beef and broccoli stir-fry, beef noodle soup, beef stew, fajitas, and enchiladas.

—Leftover ham: macaroni and cheese with diced ham, ham and potato hash, ham and bean soup, cheesy ham and potato scallop, chef’s salad, ham and green beans, ham and cheese omelet, ham as a pizza topping, and chopped ham salad.

—Leftover pork: pork fried rice, pulled pork barbecue sandwiches, pork and noodle casserole, pork and pineapple pizza, and pork and sauerkraut.

—Leftover bread, biscuits or rolls: croutons, stuffing, bread pudding, and shake and bake.

—Raw or cooked fruit: dice and add to yogurt, salads, pudding or over cereal or blend with milk for a fruit shake.

The bottom line is proper storage will help keep your leftovers safe to eat. Store leftover meats no longer than three to four days, gravies and broth one to two days, and stuffing and side dishes three to four days. If you are not planning to consume the food item in that amount of time, freeze it right away.

I wish you all a Happy Easter. Just in case anyone needs help in the kitchen, here are a few more resources:

—USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854. The hotline is open year round Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (English or Spanish) and is staffed by food safety specialists with backgrounds in home economics, nutrition and food technology. Recorded food-safety messages are available 24 hours a day. Check out the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov.

—Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at 1-800-BUTTERBALL. Text 844-877-3456 or live chat from www.butterball.com to speak with a turkey expert.

Kate Shumaker is an OSU Extension family and consumer sciences educator and may be reached at 330-674-3015. Like and follow on Facebook @OSUEXTHolmes or visit at https://holmes.osu.edu.

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