Holiday Leftover Makeovers

Turn the rest of your special dinner into the best postholiday meals

It’s the plight of every holiday meal: What to do with the leftovers?

Luckily, I love a good challenge, especially if it gives me an excuse to get creative in the kitchen and relive my days as a cookbook editor. So if you’re looking for a few tasty ideas to take your leftover makeover repertoire beyond the standard post-Easter ham or egg-salad sandwiches, look no further.

Creamy Ham & Potato Soup

This soup is a family go-to for making the most of leftover ham and chasing away the chill on a rainy spring day. 

Prep: 20 minutes • Cook: 40 minutes • Total: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

3 Tbsp butter

1 medium carrot, diced

1 rib celery, diced

1 medium onion, diced

8 oz leftover ham, diced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1/4 cup flour

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

1-1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Shredded cheese, for garnish

Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium heat until golden brown. Stir in the carrots, celery, onion, ham and garlic; cook and stir for 5-6 minutes, or until the vegetables soften and the onions are translucent.

Photo by Sara Rae Lancaster

Stir in the flour; cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, 1 cup at a time. Add water; stir to combine. Bring all to a simmer, then simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the potatoes; cook for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Skim fat if desired.

Once cooked, use a potato masher to coarsely mash the soup, leaving plenty of whole potato chunks. Season with salt and pepper to taste; add cayenne pepper if desired. Add heavy cream. Stir to combine; heat through. Garnish with shredded cheese and serve.

Photo by Sara Rae Lancaster

Breakfast Power Bowl

Transform leftover Easter eggs into a hearty, healthful, tasty breakfast. This recipe is even easier if cooked quinoa was on your Easter menu as a side dish.

Prep: 15 minutes • Cook: 10 minutes • Total: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup olive oil, divided in two

1 clove garlic, minced

6 cups baby spinach

1/2 tsp salt, divided in two

1/2 tsp pepper, divided in two

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4 cup goat cheese or Feta cheese, crumbled

2 Tbsp slivered almonds (optional)

Heat half of the oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook the garlic for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the spinach; cook for 2-3 minutes or until starting to wilt. Season with half each of the salt and pepper.

Toss together the quinoa, lemon juice and remaining olive oil; divide evenly among 4 bowls. Top with cooked spinach, avocado, sliced hard-boiled eggs, crumbled bacon, goat or Feta cheese and, if desired, almonds. Season with remaining salt and pepper.

“Egg”stra Chocolate Chip Cookies

Looking to make your chocolate chip cookies extra special? Look no further. This unconventional twist on the favorite cookie may sound a bit odd at first, but if you like a chewier, denser cookie, this one’s for you. Feel free to change up the baking chips to suit your flavor of choice.

Tip: Do not overbake. I repeat: Do not overbake. If you must, underbake these cookies for delicious results. 

Prep: 20 minutes • Bake: 10 minutes • Total: 30 minutes

Yield: 24 cookies 

1 cup butter, room temperature

1-1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed

2 tsp vanilla

2 small hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2-1/4 cups flour

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar using a hand mixer, approximately 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and diced hard-boiled eggs, and continue mixing. (The dough may appear drier than normal, and small egg pieces may be visible in the batter.) Add in the baking soda, salt and flour; mix until combined. Gently stir in chocolate and butterscotch chips.

Photo by Sara Rae Lancaster

Scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden. Do not overbake. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet until set before transferring them to a wire rack.

Photo by Sara Rae Lancaster