Have lots of leftovers from Thanksgiving? Here is a delicious recipe to use some of the leftovers in a new way. For the topping, I use a mixture of potatoes and cauliflower to reduce the number of carbs in the dish. If you are not a fan of cauliflower use all potatoes. Don’t forget the leftover cranberry sauce to add as a side.
4 cups cubed leftover turkey
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, finely diced
Half a green bell pepper, diced
1 cup leftover green beans, diced
2 cups leftover turkey gravy
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
2 cups leftover mashed cauliflower
1 tablespoon melted butter.
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Choose either an 8×8-inch or a 9×14-inch oven-proof pan, depending on how much food you have. Oval gratin dishes or a casserole dish also work well, as do individual baking dishes. Butter the dish well.
To reheat the filling before putting the casserole in the oven.
Combine the filling ingredients in the baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and heat in the microwave until warm (not hot), about 4 minutes on high.
If you don’t wish to use the microwave, reheat the mixture in a saucepan and pour into the baking dish.
To make the topping:
Thoroughly combine the mashed potatoes and cauliflower. Mix in the melted butter and cheddar cheese. Spread the topping over the filling in the baking dish, spreading it to the edges of the dish. Place the baking dish on a foil covered cookie sheet. The filling may bubble over.
Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. You will know it is done when the pie filling is bubbling hot and the topping turns golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
When you cook steak and chicken, make extra. The leftovers easily make quick weeknight meals.
Steak & Bean Tacos
I like to serve this dish with a green mixed salad and ranch dressing.
Half of a leftover grilled flank steak, sliced thin
Original recipe for the grilled steak
2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup medium spicy salsa
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 flour tortillas
Any leftover steak will work in this recipe, just slice it very thin. Reheat the steak in the microwave or in foil in a moderate oven temperature until warm. Heat the beans and warm the tortillas. Assemble the tacos with beef, beans, salsa, and cheddar cheese.
Greek Salad With Leftover Grilled Chicken
8 oz leftover grilled chicken that had been marinated in 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 sliced garlic clove, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.
Grilled chicken directions
2 Pita breads, warmed
Greek Salad Ingredients
Romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces
Bell peppers, seeded and cut into one-inch squares
Red onions, sliced thin
Cucumbers, peeled and sliced into half moons
Tomatoes, cut into one-inch pieces
Crumbled Feta cheese
Greek Salad Dressing, recipe below
I always grill more chicken than I need for dinner because there are so many dishes you can make with the leftovers. Like this one – a family favorite.
Assemble the salad ingredients in individual bowls. (I use pasta bowls.) Mix with some of the dressing. Slice the leftover chicken and place on top of the salad. Serve additional dressing on the side along with the warm pita bread.
Greek Salad Dressing
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
Pour all the dressing ingredients into a large jar and shake well.
Place the jar in the refrigerator for a few hours to blend the flavors.
Pour the Greek dressing over the salad ingredients as directed above.
Having leftover baked ham is a good thing. There are so many tasty dishes to make with the leftovers. I think I like these dishes even better than the original. Here is the link for the post on baked ham.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
2 boneless chicken breast cutlets
2 slices leftover baked ham
2 slices (2 oz) Swiss or Gruyère cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons almond flour
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place each breast on a cutting board and make a horizontal slit through the thicker side, cutting almost to the opposite side.
Place a ham slice and a cheese slice in each pocket, leaving a 1/2 border. Seal chicken over the filling.
In a shallow bowl, mix the egg with the milk.
In a shallow plate, combine the flour, almond flour, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Carefully dip each piece of chicken first in the milk mixture, then in the crumb mixture to coat.
Place chicken in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Combine melted butter and oil, and drizzle half over the chicken; turn breasts over and drizzle with the remaining butter mixture on the other side.
Bake about 30 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time, until lightly browned on the outside and cooked through.
This dish goes well with oven roasted asparagus.
Ham and Cheese Egg Muffins
Egg Muffins make an easy, portable, and tasty breakfast that’s packed with protein and are good-for-you.
Makes 12 egg muffins
8 large eggs
½ cup refrigerated egg substitute (Egg Beaters)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cubed leftover baked ham
1 cup shredded cheddar, Italian blend or mozzarella cheese
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup golden (or red) grape tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together the eggs, egg substitute, salt and seasonings. Stir in the ham, cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes and green onions.
Spray a standard 12 cup muffin tin with olive oil cooking spray.
Using a muffin scoop, pour the egg mixture filling into each cup filling them to the top.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes until cooked through and puffy.
Ham & Cheese Omelet
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 slices of baked ham, cut into smaller pieces
2 slices of American, Cheddar or Swiss cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Black pepper to taste
Melt the butter over low heat in a skillet or omelet pa. Add the sliced ham and cook until hot and beginning to brown slightly.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the cream and some black pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the ham.
Cook until the eggs begin to set. Place the slices of cheese over the eggs. Cover the pan and let cook until completely set. Uncover the pan.
Fold half of the cooked egg over the other half to form a half circle. Let cook a minute or two and then serve.
Stuffed Peppers with Ham and Cauliflower Rice
These little ham stuffed peppers are great for lunch. The recipe can be doubled and tripled. You can also use regular rice if you prefer.
2 small bell peppers
1/2 cup cauliflower rice
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 ounces shredded mild Cheddar or American cheese
1/2 cup diced baked ham
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Black pepper to taste
To prepare the cauliflower rice:
Wash and cut a head of cauliflower into small pieces.
Put the cauliflower pieces into a food processor and process it until it is in rice-size pieces.
Reserve 1/2 cup for this recipe and use the remainder for another dish.
Cook the whole peppers in 2 cups of lightly salted boiling water for 3 minutes.
Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and then drain the peppers.
Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds and white membrane. Reserve the top slice.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a skillet, sauté the onion and celery in butter until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the cooking water and shredded cheese.
Stir until blended; add ham, cauliflower rice, parsley and pepper.
Fill peppers with the ham mixture and top with the pepper lids.
Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray and place the peppers in the dish.
Bake the peppers until the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes.
Sometimes the craving for a sandwich comes on and you want one that will be rewarding. I never eat sandwiches for lunch, since my lunches tend to be light: yogurt or cottage cheese and fruit or a bowl of soup. So having a sandwich for dinner is a real treat for me. Leftovers can also be the start of some great sandwich recipes, as indicated in the recipes below. What is your favorite dinner sandwich?
Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches
A mixed green salad is perfect to complete this meal.
1/2 pound grilled Italian sausage, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large green bell pepper, roasted, skins removed and sliced into long strips
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, skins removed and sliced into long strips
1/4 cup marinara sauce
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
Ciabatta or Hoagie rolls
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Wrap the rolls in foil and heat for about 10 minutes.
Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, deep skillet with a lid.
Add the sausage and peppers and sprinkle with a little salt and the Italian seasoning. Stir in the marinara sauce and cover the pan.
Heat the mixture until hot.
Fill the rolls with the sausage mixture and serve.
Italian Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
Serve this sandwich with sweet potato fries and pickles.
4 slices country-style bread
Olive oil for brushing
1 grilled chicken breast, sliced thin
2 roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
Dried Italian seasoning
4 slices mozzarella cheese
8 large fresh basil leaves
Place the sliced chicken in a zip-lock bag and pour the salad dressing in. Close the bag and shake it so the dressing is evenly distributed.
Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Preheat an electric Panini press on high or the “panini” setting according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you do not have a Panini Press: You can cook the sandwiches in a skillet on top of the stove. You will need a second skillet to weigh the sandwiches down. Heat one skillet over medium heat.
Brush the bread slices on one side with olive oil. Place 2 slices of mozzarella on each side of the bread slices not brushed with oil.
Arrange the chicken and then the roasted bell peppers on top of the cheese.
Place 4 basil leaves on each sandwich and then 2 more slices of mozzarella.
Top each sandwich with one of the remaining bread slices, oiled side up.
Place the sandwiches on the preheated Panini press, close the lid and cook until the cheese is melted, 5 to 6 minutes.
Or place the sandwiches in the heated skillet and place the unheated skillet on top, pressing it down.
Cook the sandwiched until brown on the bottom.
Turn them over, replace the skillet press and cook until the second side is brown, about 6 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half.
Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches
2 ciabatta rolls
Two 4×4 inch pieces of Eggplant Parmesan:
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Split the rolls in half. Place a square of Eggplant Parmesan on the bottom half of each roll. Place the top of the roll on top of the eggplant.
Wrap the sandwiches in the aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.
Bake the sandwiches for about 15- 20 minutes, until hot.
Serve with pickled Tuscan peppers.
Vegan Summer Garden Sandwich
Vegan Creamy Italian Salad Dressing, recipe below
2 slices of your favorite bread or 1 Italian roll
4 small slices of oven baked or grilled eggplant
4 thin slices of fresh, uncooked zucchini
1 slice red onion
2 large slices vine ripe tomatoes
Garden leaf lettuce
Brush one side of each piece of bread with the creamy dressing and layer the ingredients on the side of one piece of bread brushed with dressing.
First, place the eggplant on the bread and then add the zucchini slices, tomato slices and onion.
Top with lettuce leaves and the remaining bread slice, dressing side down. Cut in half and enjoy this sandwich with your favorite coleslaw.
Vegan Creamy Italian Salad Dressing
Adapted from Vintage Kitty
Makes 16 tablespoons
1/2 cup warm water
4 tablespoons almonds
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
Pinch chili flakes
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon organic sugar or agave syrup
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the warm water, almonds, Italian seasoning, dried basil and chili flakes in a mixing bowl and let soak for 15 minutes.
Place the mixture in a blender and add the garlic, shallot, olive oil, vinegar and sugar.
Blend until the mixture is smooth.
Add fresh parsley and pulse. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Store in the refrigerator up to one week
A survey of my freezer containers, indicated leftover pork and turkey breast were getting old. Time to use them up. I also had 2 cooked baking potatoes in the refrigerator. Since I hate just heating up leftovers, I had to get creative. Sandwiches are always a good meal and so is pasta. I had plenty of dried pasta shells in the pantry, so I decided to come up with a filling for them using the leftover turkey breast meat. Potatoes and eggs – one of my favorites. So here is what I came up with for a few brand new meals.
For leftover pork.
Leftover pork from a roast or scaloppini dish makes an excellent sandwich.
See original recipes for pork
Ingredients for each sandwich:
2 teaspoons prepared basil pesto
2 slices sourdough or ciabatta bread or rolls
2 slices provolone cheese
2 thin slices leftover cooked pork
½ jarred roasted red pepper, drained and sliced
2 large basil leaves
2 teaspoons butter
Prepare the sandwiches:
Brush one side of each slice of bread with pesto. Place the pork slices on top of the pesto covered side of the bread. Add the roasted red pepper, basil leaves and cheese.
Place the second piece of bread, pesto side down, on top if the cheese. Press the sandwich together. Spread the butter on the outside of the bread slices.
How to cook the sandwiches:
In a Panini Press:
Preheat the press. Place the sandwich in the press and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
On the stove:
Preheat a skillet to medium low. Add the sandwich and press a heavy pan on top to weigh it down. Cook until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Turkey or Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells
32 large dried pasta shells
4 cups milk
4 tablespoons instant flour or all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups finely diced, cooked chicken or turkey
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 clove garlic, grated
½ cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large saucepan combine the milk with the instant flour, butter and salt, Put the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often.
Once the mixture boils, stir constantly until slightly thickened. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the shells. Cook them for a few minutes less than the package directions say. They should be pliable but not soft.
Drain and place the shells on kitchen towels on the counter.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking dish that can accommodate the 32 shells or use two smaller dishes.
To make the filling:
Combine all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and add i cup of the white sauce. Stir well.
To assemble the dish:
Pour half of the remaining white sauce into the prepared baking dish.
Fill the shells with the turkey mixture, about 1 tablespoon for each. If you have any filling left over, you can add to the shells in the dish later.
You want to be sure you have filling for all the shells distributed evenly.
As you fill the shells, place them in the baking dish. When all the shells are in the dish, pour the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle lightly with paprika.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake the shells for 45 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Potato, Onion and Rosemary Frittata
This recipe is a good way to use leftover cooked potatoes. This frittata makes a delicious, quick dinner and all you need is a green salad to complete the meal.
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium onion, diced
2 baking potatoes, cooked and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the broiler. While you prepare the fritatta.
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Add the cheese and mix.
In an oven-proof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes and rosemary and sauté until the potatoes are golden.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the vegetables from the pan to a plate and set aside.
Add the butter to the skillet clean and melt over medium heat.
Add the beaten egg mixture and cook for a minute. Spread the sautéed vegetables on top of the eggs,.Let cook for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are set and the top is still slightly wet.
Place the frittata under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the top is set and golden.
Remove the skillet from the oven and let rest 5 minutes. Turn the frittata out onto a platter or serving dish and cut into wedges.
The Wall Street Journal recently featured an article on how we waste food in America. They noted that the average four-person family spends about $2,000 a year on food that ultimately ends up in the garbage. Throwing away leftovers or unused produce that goes bad in the refrigerator is very wasteful. Being frugal and using what you have is smart and will certainly save you lots of money.
Keeping to my theme from last week of planning meals so food is not wasted, I wanted to share with you how I came about making this dinner for us. I don’t always recycle leftovers into new dishes as I have written about in earlier posts, but I do sometimes think about what will go well with the leftovers that I have on hand or how I can use produce that is still in my refrigerator.
A few weeks ago my market had a special on white/red/purple baby potatoes – buy one 3 lb. bag and get one free. I always try to take advantage of these deals, if I like the produce or product.
I had some of the baby potatoes left after making the Lemon Basil Roasted Chicken (https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2017/01/11/what-is-in-season-in-january/) and the Easy Skillet Potato recipe: (https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2017/02/01/what-is-in-season-in-february/) that I wrote about in earlier posts.
Last week, I made Carrots Agrodolce and we had about half of the recipe leftover. (See link: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2017/02/01/what-is-in-season-in-february/).
The next step was to plan what would go well with the potatoes and the carrot dish.
I shop at a Publix market and every week they email me their circular. I use it to plan my shopping list and meals for the week. I saw a great buy this week on organic chicken – buy one package and get another free. Don’t see that too often. So chicken was on the menu and I decided it should be buttermilk oven fried chicken – one of my favorites.
Potatoes keep awhile but not forever. I separated the baby purple potatoes from the others because I thought they would make an attractive salad to go with the chicken.
Purple Potato Salad
1 1/2 pounds small (baby) purple potatoes
3 scallions, sliced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the potatoes until fork tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes.
In a mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise and mustard. Add the scallions, celery and remaining ingredients and mix well.
Drain the potatoes. Rinse in cold water and cut into thin slices.
Place the warm potatoes in the bowl with the dressing and toss well. Chill until serving time.
Oven Fried Buttermilk Chicken
5-6 pieces skinless chicken, bone-in or boneless
1 cup buttermilk
2 dashes hot sauce
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups Panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten or ½ cup refrigerated egg substitute
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Paprika for sprinkling on the breaded chicken
Combine the buttermilk and hot sauce in a zip lock bag. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. Dry the chicken pieces with paper towels and add to the bag. Marinate for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Turn the bag occasionally to evenly distribute the buttermilk.
In a shallow bowl, blend the flour with the seasonings. Place the eggs in a second shallow bowl and the Panko crumbs in a third shallow bowl.
Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and drain.
Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mix to coat all sides, shaking off any excess flour. Next, dip each piece in the eggs. Then in the bowl of Panko crumbs, gently press the crumbs into the chicken to coat evenly.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place each chicken piece on a greased rack set on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops of the breaded chicken pieces with paprika.
Bake boneless chicken for 30 minutes and bone-in chicken for 45 minutes or until the chicken is crispy and a meat thermometer registers 165°.
This is a busy time with all the holiday preparations and the refrigerator has lots of leftovers from last week. As you know, I am not a fan of just heating up the leftovers. I have to do something different with them. Nothing too involved though at this time – just a few different additions. The leftovers include Beef Cacciatore, Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf and Spaghetti Squash. Here are some recipes to change them a bit.
Beef Pasta Bake
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 6 cups leftover Beef Cacciatore and noodles: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2016/12/05/what-to-cook-this-week-beef-cacciatore/
- 2 cups marinara sauce: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2016/12/09/what-to-cook-in-december-cabbage/
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together the ricotta cheese, mozzarella and salt.
Oil an 11×8 baking dish. Spread ½ cup marinara sauce in the baking dish
Layer half of the beef cacciatore and noodles in the dish.
Spread the ricotta mixture over the pasta and cover with the remaining beef and noodle mixture.
Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the top of the pasta and beef.
Cover the dish with foil and bake the casserole for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Make extra sauce because it is delicious on pizza.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups Marinara Sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Slices of Cheese Filled Meatloaf: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2016/12/07/what-to-cook-in-december-meatloaf-dinner/
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the garlic, onion and bell pepper to the skillet and cook until tender.
Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the marinara sauce and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the sauce cook for about 15 minutes. Add parsley and remove the pan from the heat.
Warm slices of meatloaf in the microwave and pour some hot pizzaiola sauce over each slice to serve.
Spaghetti Squash Cakes
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/3 cup self rising flour (if you use regular flour the cakes won’t be as puffy)
- 3 cups leftover cooked spaghetti squash: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2016/12/12/what-to-cook-in-december-spaghetti-squash-dinner/
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Half an onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
In a large bowl, combine the flour and beaten eggs with a whisk. Add the spaghetti squash, cheese, onions and ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix very well, until all the mixture has a uniform consistency.
Heat a large skillet on high-medium heat until very hot. Then add the olive oil. Add ¼ cup of the batter to the hot skillet. Repeat with as many ¼ cups as will fit in your skillet.
Cook until the bottom side of each cake is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Using a spatula, turn the cakes over and cook 1-2 more minutes.
Repeat with any remaining batter and add more oil if needed.
Serve as is or with sour cream or Greek yogurt.