What could be a better? Post-holiday-dinner, you have a bonanza of food that's already cooked and ready to be combined into various tasty dishes, some for the days immediately ahead, others awaiting your summons from the freezer

Turkey - The star of the show can shine in countless encores. From celeb chefs to home cooks, there's consensus that this "mild-mannered meat" can happily partner with a larder full of ingredients and seasonings. It can chase chicken out of a Cobb salad, beef out of chili, veal out of cannelloni, duck out of cassoulet, and on and on. Or bring on some bold seasonings for a kicked up turkey hash. And then of course there's the leftover standard, turkey soup based on a stock from the frame, bits and pieces of turkey, and even leftover veggies.

Prime Rib - My personal fave here is to quickly sear a thick, trimmed piece of the cooked meat to stand in for the steak in steak and eggs. Or slice it thin and pair it with the cooking juices for an elegant French Dip sandwich. If you like your leftover "primo" rib with a kick, shred and mix with onions, garlic, and chiles for an upscale burrito or enchilada that can be further enhanced with cheese, salsa, sour cream and sliced green onions and black olives.

Ham - Grilled cheese with ham is so satisfying for lunch or dinner - or add in as well some cooked pork, pickles, mayo & mustard for a full of flavor Cubano sandwich. Diced ham with mushrooms in a little of the leftover gravy makes a superb topping for cooked chicken breasts... or on thick slices of turkey. And of course nothing wrong with simple ham & eggs.

Mashed Potatoes - They're just waiting to be transformed into potato patties or potato pancakes. For a quick supper, mix diced beef or turkey with peas & carrots and a bit of gravy, cover with the mashies and into the oven for a rib-sticking Shepherd's pie. Or how about a creative take on poutine - heat the potatoes and top with small cubes of cheddar cheese then pour hot gravy over all. Or whisk them with broth and seasonings for a quick potato soup, or stir them into other soups as a thickener.

Sweet potatoes - Peel them, slice them, saute them in butter, top with brown sugar and pecans and you have one yummer of a side dish. Or mash them with the butter and brown sugar, top with the pecans and heat in the oven. And for a fine breakfast treat mix some into your favorite pancake recipe, and for a fine dessert treat whisk some into your favorite cheesecake recipe..

Stuffing - Try this: treat a pie pan with nonstick spray, then pat in a fairly thick layer of stuffing and brown it a bit in the oven - then use that as your crust for a turkey/Swiss quiche. Or use the stuffing instead of mashed potatoes for your Shepherd's pie. It's also a ready-made filling for mushrooms, bell peppers, or acorn squash.

Vegetables - Chop the raw ones into a salad or "smithereen" them in a high-powered blender according to that appliance's instructions. Raw or cooked can go in stir frys, soups, stews, ratatouille, and omelets. They can also be used to deepen the flavor of stocks and sauces.

Cranberry - For a bit of lunch bliss, just slice it with turkey onto good bread with a bit of mayo. For an interesting side dish, melt butter in a skillet, add cooked rice, walnuts, salt and pepper and a little cream - when heated, gently stir in the whole berry kind. Cranberry also makes an exceptionally flavorful chutney.

Dessert What leftovers???

A little too much holiday indulgence at the table? Get help with my Kindle book, "Dieter's Survival Guide" at http://www.nicelifebooks.com

Or do you want to indulge a little more, celeb chef style? Scroll through recipes, news, cookbook finds, and right now gift guide items too at my site, http://www.celebritychefconnection.com

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