- Cullman, Alabama

December 25, 2013

SOUTHERN STYLE: What to do with all this food?

By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times

— If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it a hundred times: “What in the world are we going to do with all of this food?”

A refrigerator will only hold just so much before you run out of room, so, what can you do with leftovers to combine them and make them tasty? Well, there is always stew. Turkey pot pie, ham sandwiches, and casseroles made up of leftover vegetables are always crowd pleasers around here.

We also make homemade barbecue sauce served with leftover turkey. Eaten on warm buns with homemade vinegar slaw and leftover potato salad (made from leftover mashed potatoes) and you have a great meal.

Here are some ideas that you might want to experiment with. Add your own touches, you know what your family likes, and you’ll have a brand new recipe to add to your files!

 Barbecued Turkey

Using your leftover Christmas turkey, shred meat into a baking dish that has a cover. Preheat oven to 325º. Cover shredded turkey with homemade barbecue sauce and roast, covered, until sauce has time to penetrate meat — about 45 minutes.

Serve on warm buns with chips or potato salad, baked beans and vinegar slaw.

Barbecue Sauce

2 c. catsup

1/2 stick butter

1 heaping T. mustard (you can also use honey mustard)

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 T. white vinegar

Juice of one lemon

1/3 to 1/2 c. brown sugar

1 small chopped sweet onion

1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper

Garlic salt and onion powder to taste

Sauté onion and pepper in 2 tablespoons of butter until onion is translucent. Add onion and pepper, plus any butter left in the pan. Combine remaining ingredients with sautéed vegetables and bring sauce to a gentle boil, then turn down heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove and serve on barbecue of any kind. Sauce will keep for up to two weeks in refrigerator.

Vinegar Slaw

1 head green cabbage, chopped (approximately 7-8 cups)

1 c. sugar

1 c. white vinegar

Mix sugar and vinegar with cabbage and refrigerate until ready for use.

Note: If you have more cabbage, just add more vinegar and sugar, always in equal parts, until you have enough to thoroughly saturate the chopped slaw. You can also add an envelope of “Super Slaw”, which can be found in the produce section of your grocery store. Super Slaw adds a more zesty flavor.

Potato Salad

Using your leftover mashed potatoes from Christmas dinner, add chopped bell peppers, celery, onion and green onions. Chop up any leftover deviled eggs into potatoes. Add mayonnaise to taste, mustard to taste, and sweet pickle relish, if desired.

Sprinkle with the juice of half of a lemon. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir to incorporate all ingredients. Garnish with red bell peppers, pimentos and/or paprika.

Ham Croquettes

Place pieces of leftover ham into food processor. Pulse until the consistency of chopped nuts. Add salt, pepper, garlic salt, half of a small onion and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Pulse to chop onion and incorporate all ingredients. Add crumbled saltine crackers, 1 to 2 eggs, and enough flour to make the croquettes hold together. Form into shape and make sure that they feel firm. Fry croquettes in a mixture of half butter and half canola oil, in the same way as you fry salmon croquettes. Drain on paper towels.


Leftover Vegetables

When it comes to casseroles, there are no rules! Just use what you have: Green beans, peas, celery, carrots, corn, macaroni and cheese (yes, I know that’s not a vegetable, but most kids will eat it if there’s macaroni involved!) and any raw vegetables that you might have had as appetizers or leftover from other recipes.

Sauté an onion with 2 cloves of chopped garlic in butter. Add half pound (more or less) of Velveeta Cheese. When cheese is melted, remove from heat and stir in one can of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup.

Place mixture into a 9x13 dish, or use a dish that will fit your ingredients. Top with crushed crackers and flaked butter. Bake at 350º until golden brown and bubbly.

Bread Pudding

You will likely have most of these ingredients on hand. You can use leftover yeast rolls, dinner rolls, loaf bread or biscuits for this recipe. Adjust measurements according to the number of rolls you have on hand. Serve for breakfast, brunch or dinner.

6 to 8 slices of stale bread, or equivalent in rolls

2 T. melted butter

1/2 c. golden or dark raisins, currents, dates or craisins, or a combination of each

4 eggs, well beaten

2 c. milk

3/4 to 1 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract

Chopped pecans, optional

Cube bread into small pieces. Place in a 9x13 pan, or adjust per the amount of bread you are baking. Drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with raisins or other fruit or nuts you might have left over. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat well. Pour liquid mixture over bread, pushing down lightly with the tines of a fork until bread is soaked with liquid. Bake in preheated 350º oven for 45 minutes, or until top springs back when touched.

Leftover Cakes

This will work with most cakes, you be the judge of which flavors blend well.

If you have leftover cakes of different kinds try this. Using a clear compote dish, cube any cake in the bottom, then add a layer of whipped cream. Add another layer of the same, or a different cake. Repeat layers, ending with whipped cream.

This works well when there isn’t enough dessert to go around again. Cakes that lend themselves especially well to this trifle-like recipe are pound cake or angel food cake, mixed with any of the following:

Chocolate and red velvet cake blend well. White and coconut cakes will compliment either chocolate or red velvet cake.

Lemon, orange, coconut or other citrus or fruit cakes whose flavors compliment each other.

Spice cake goes wonderfully well with a pumpkin roll, or with carrot cake.