(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Advice abounds for Thanksgiving and Christmas leftovers. Easter, though, is just as delicious an opportunity for lively leftovers. The ham and lamb that linger overnight make the foundations of next-day stupendous sandwiches, casseroles and even innovative choices like the potpie that follows.
Condiments also can be reused with success, such as mint jelly spread with butter onto toasted breakfast rolls. Easter eggs are excellent recruits. Prepare extra hard-boiled eggs when making those for holiday decorating, and create custom egg salad incorporating spring spices, such as dill and culinary lavender.
Don't forget dessert the second time around. Chocolate from Easter baskets is an economical way to stretch chocolate and enhance dessert presentation with interesting shapes, like rabbits and eggs. Place on top of iced cupcakes or bowls of vanilla ice cream or cut into quarters and use as part of a gourmet trail mix, including granola, shelled pistachios, dried cranberries and cookie crumbs.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
Leftover Easter Lamb Potpie
1 package refrigerated pie crusts, softened
1 tablespoon oil
3/4 pound leftover boneless cooked lamb, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 (12-ounce) jar beef gravy
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes (Southern style, if available)
Sesame seeds, optional
Yields 6 servings.
Heat oven to 400 F. Prepare refrigerated pie crusts as directed on package for two-crust pie using a 9-inch glass pie pan.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Carefully add lamb and onion. Stir until lamb and onion are heated. Carefully drain any excess oil.
In a small bowl, combine gravy, cornstarch, sugar and pepper; mix well. Add to lamb and onion in skillet. Stir in vegetables and potatoes. Cook about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are thawed, stirring occasionally.
Spoon mixture into pie-crust lined pan. Top with second crust; seal edges and flute. Cut slits in several places in top crust; sprinkle with sesame seed, if desired.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
-Adapted from Pillsbury.com
Leftover Easter Ham, Spinach And Italian Cheese Omelet
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon butter
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1/4 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup finely chopped leftover cooked ham
Yields 1 to 2 servings.
Beat eggs and water in small bowl until blended.
Heat butter in 6- to 8-inch nonstick omelet pan or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Carefully tilt pan to cover bottom. Pour in egg mixture. Egg mixture should set immediately at edges.
Gently push cooked portions from edges toward the center with inverted turner so that uncooked eggs can reach the hot pan surface. Continue cooking, tilting pan and gently moving cooked portions as needed.
When top portion of eggs is thickened and no visible liquid egg remains, season with salt and pepper. Place cheese on one side of omelet, top with spinach and ham. Fold omelet in half with turner. With a quick flip of the wrist, turn pan and invert or slide omelet onto plate. Serve immediately.
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: Michele Stuart, who has won scores of first place National Pie Championships awards and is the author of "Perfect Pies & More", occasionally likes to use a pretzel pie crust. She writes, "I've found that this salty crust is a perfect complement to otherwise sweet pies." A starter suggestion: For a 9-inch crust, use 2 cups of pretzel sticks, chopped into fine pieces in place of flour and also include 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar and 1 stick of unsalted butter that's been melted.
Lisa Messinger at Creators Syndicate is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet(Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.