Creative ways to use Easter leftovers
If you’ve got leftovers from this year’s Easter dinner you’re in luck! Check out these helpful tips for using up ham, veggies, lamb, and hot cross buns — you might even find yourself making extra food so that leftovers are guaranteed.
Tucked into breakfast sandwiches or threaded onto skewers, leftover ham is a truly versatile ingredient to have in the fridge or the freezer.
- Leftover cooked ham, sliced or whole, should be tightly wrapped to prevent it from drying out. Store leftover cooked ham in the fridge and use within three days.
- To reheat sliced ham, place in an oven-proof casserole dish with ½ cup of water or broth. Cover with a lid or with foil and heat in an oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until hot. Serve immediately.
- To freeze an entire leftover ham (or portions of ham), wrap tightly in plastic wrap and again in foil. Label and store in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.
- Add cubed ham directly to soups, frittatas, stews, omelettes, salads and rice dishes.
- Thinly sliced ham is ideal for eggs Benedict, Croque Madame and Croque Monsieur sandwiches.
From black bean bowls to tropical tacos, you’ll want to try these recipes that make good use of leftover ham:
The addition of leftover vegetables to any meal will add more fibre (as well as a wide range of other nutrients) to almost any type of meal.
- Depending on the vegetables and cooking method, leftover veggies will stay fresh in the fridge for 3 to 7 days. Delicate vegetables, such as broccoli and green beans, should be eaten first, while hardier vegetables, such as carrots and beets, can be stored for up to a week.
- Vegetables that have been lightly steamed and allowed to cool work best for freezing. Transfer cooled veggies directly to a resealable freezer bag. Label and store for up to 9 months.
- Some vegetables, such as green beans and cabbage, will lose their vivid colour once cooked. Blanching these veggies in boiling water for a minute or two and then shocking them in ice water will help preserve their colour (although discoloured veggies won’t have any difference in taste).
- Leftover veggies, whether they’ve been steamed, roasted or sauteed, are delicious when added to hearty salads, soups, and grain bowls.
Leftover lamb is full of big flavour, making it an ideal pairing with equally-bold ingredients and zippy dressings.
- Store leftover cooked lamb, covered, in the fridge for up to three days. Enjoy any leftover sliced lamb first, as it will dry out the fastest.
- To freeze lamb that has been cooked, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then again in aluminum foil. Label and store in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.
- To reheat leftover lamb, place in a heat-proof casserole dish or Dutch oven, adding ½ cup of water or beef broth along with the meat. Cover with foil or a lid and warm in an oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until hot. Serve immediately.
- Add thinly sliced cold leftover lamb to salads, especially those made with bitter greens, sharp cheeses, and mustard-based vinaigrettes.
- Enjoy near-instant kabobs and souvlaki by using cubed, cooked lamb instead of raw. For kabobs, begin with room temperature lamb and heat only until the vegetables are cooked through.
Hot cross buns
Fresh hot cross buns are a favourite Easter treat in many households, but these beloved buns make delicious leftovers, too.
- Freeze leftover hot cross buns that are still fresh in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag for up to 6 months.
- Use older hot cross buns in any sweet breakfast dish that would normally call for stale bread; recipes for French toast and bread pudding work particularly well.
- Halved and toasted leftover hot cross pair well with fruit jam, low fat cream cheese or nut butter.