7 ways to reinvent your Easter leftovers — and some of them are surprising
Here’s how to turn a ham and potatoes into something totally different… and your leftover Peeps too!
If you celebrate Easter and are lucky enough to score ingredients for your favourite roast, sides and bread, you'll want to savour every bite of those leftovers. Still, it's nice to revamp them into something a little different from that Easter meal you enjoyed. Here are some sweet, savoury — and surprising! — ways to use ham, lamb, asparagus… and those Easter chocolates and marshmallows too.
Leftover ham and braided bread? Make a French toast sandwich
That beautifully crusted ham works wonderfully in a savoury and sweet brunch sandwich — if you've enjoyed a croque monsieur, you'll agree. Here is a sandwich idea that is similar: ham, brie, and arugula are placed in between French toast made from braided Easter bread. If you've eaten up all the Easter bread the night before, no problem. You can use brioche, challah, or white bread.
First, as you would for French toast, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, salt and nutmeg in a shallow bowl. Dip and coat the bread slices in the egg mixture. Heat up a couple tablespoons of butter in a saute pan, then cook the bread on both sides until golden brown. Transfer those fluffy slices to a baking sheet and top with brie and ham. Once the brie has melted into a state of gooey goodness, assemble the sandwich with fresh arugula.
Leftover mashed potatoes? Pile on the pancakes
You can revamp leftover, less-than-poofy mashed potatoes. Turn them into a stack of pancakes that pair beautifully with a number of sauces and seasonings.
Just mix your leftover mashed potatoes with two simple ingredients: flour and eggs. For every two cups of leftover mashed potatoes, use one egg and two tablespoons of all-purpose flour.
Form the mixture into patties — about ¼ cup each — and fry them in oil (heated in a non-stick pan, ideally) for three minutes on each side until browned.
You can top these pancakes with leftover ham or lamb, cured salmon, or just enjoy them with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives.
Leftover chocolate eggs? Add them to a caponata!
Ever discover some of last year's chocolate Easter eggs stashed away in a drawer? Once you tire of them, put any leftover treats to use this year — in perhaps a surprising way.
Caponata is a sweet and sour sauce from Sicily; it consists of eggplant, celery, and tomatoes stewed in sweetened vinegar with capers and raisins. Shaving dark chocolate eggs into the sauce adds a subtle, bitter-sweet flavour to the dish while drastically cutting the acidity.
Here is a full-flavoured caponata recipe that you can add your chocolate eggs to. For this recipe, replace the tablespoon of granulated sugar with two tablespoons of finely grated dark chocolate eggs. Once it's ready, spread the caponata on toasted sourdough bread, and top with a poached egg.
Leftover maple glazed carrots... and marshmallow Peeps? Stay with me!
Maple glazed carrot leftovers and marshmallow Peeps are an unlikely ingredient duo to be sure, until you consider them reinvented as a moist, crumbly carrot bread with a marshmallow frosting.
The process of making carrot bread with pre-roasted maple carrots varies only slightly from the technique you would use for raw carrots. There are three main differences: the cooking time will increase slightly, less sugar is needed because (usually) the carrots are pre-glazed with maple syrup, and the leftover roasted carrots get pureed. For 1 ¼ cups of pureed carrots (about 6 medium-sized cooked carrots), add ¼ cup of water to smooth the mixture out. Then, proceed with the baking instructions of your favourite carrot bread recipe.
For your marshmallow Peeps frosting: melt 10 Peeps (I suggest you go with white Peeps!) with one cup of heavy cream in a saucepan on low heat, stirring frequently. Cool the mixture in the fridge, then whip it together with four ounces of cream cheese, one tablespoon of powdered sugar, ½ tablespoon of softened butter and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla, until soft peaks form. Place in the fridge for a half hour then spread it on the carrot bread.
Leftover lamb? Wrap it up
There's often a little bit of everything left over from Easter dinner, so use up last night's lamb, grain side dish, and hard-boiled Easter eggs (or boil some fresh), to make a fantastic brunch wrap.
Turn the boiled eggs into an egg salad, then wrap up equal parts shredded lamb, egg salad and couscous, in a thick pita — throw in some cranberries and parsley if you have them. You can easily replace the couscous with other leftover grains such as rice, quinoa, or barley. Garlic mayo or tzatziki goes great with this wrap!
Leftover rolls? Stuff 'em
Make convenient and versatile bread bowls stuffed with ham, or any protein you've got on hand.
Start by scooping out the dinner rolls, then line them with ham. Crack an egg into the bowl you've created, add spinach, top with gruyere cheese, and bake them in a 350F degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Feel free to adapt this recipe based on other ingredients you may have left over.
Leftover vegetables? Bring out the puff pastry
Make a savoury strudel with your vegetable leftovers — a cheesy and tender filling combined with a golden pastry crust creates the perfect bite.
Use pre-made puff pastry as the strudel shell, and fill it with a stuffing. For the stuffing, mix some ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest, parsley and leftover vegetables in a bowl — asparagus and peas would work great, but leftover vegetables such as zucchini, leeks or bell peppers can be substituted too.
Spread the mixture on one half of the pastry square, keeping it two inches away from the edges. Roll the dough up over the ingredients, and keep it taut while doing so. Pinch the edges and fold down to seal them. Brush the top of the pastry with an egg wash and score the top with five diagonal slits. Bake in a 375F degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
Ariel Lefkowitz is a Canadian/American food writer, chef, and video journalist based in Montreal, Que. She has been a trained chef for over a decade. Ariel believes that cooking is a critical part of self-care that should be joyful, sustainable and accessible. She is currently developing a comedic cooking show, titled 'Cooking in the Cut'. Follow her at @cookinginthecut.