KITCHEN WIT AND WISDOM: Make use of the Easter leftovers

Columnist Cathi Litzenberger provides recipes for ham and eggs

Easter has passed and spring is here, or so we hope.  Like many of you, my fridge is full of leftovers from Sunday’s feast and by now, I’m sure most of us are tired of ham, egg, or turkey sandwiches.

Today, I’m going to concentrate on leftover ham and eggs. Ham is so versatile it can be used up in everything from soups to many breakfast and casserole recipes.

Eggs, on the other hand, take a little more thought; whatever possessed you to colour three dozen?  Of course there’s many varieties of deviled eggs, curries and creamed dishes. They can also be chopped into salads and mac and cheese or breakfast casseroles. Today’s recipes are easy to prepare and delicious.

Easter egg stew

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1 small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 1/4 cups diced cooked bacon

2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose)

Salt according to taste

Pinch ground black pepper

1 cup milk

1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)

6 cooked eggs, chopped

4 American muffins, split and toasted

Fry onion, garlic cloves, green pepper in a pan with a big teaspoon of butter. Add bacon and cook for about a minute.  In another pan, melt butter, add all purpose flour, salt, black pepper and mix well on simmer for almost a minute.

Stir in milk and cook until the mixture gets thicker.  Remove from flame add cheddar cheese and stir well.

Cook the mixture again on simmer for about seven to 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add the fried bacon into the sauce. Mix chopped cooked eggs, bake on simmer for some more time.  After a few minutes, remove the pan from heat and serve the stew with the toasted American muffins.

Green eggs and ham (individuals or large casserole)

250 g (8 oz) dried pasta (about 500 ml/2 cups) rigatoni, fusilli or penne

1 head broccoli

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved (see tip below for kids)

250 ml (1-1/2 cups) cubed leftover ham (about 250 g/8 oz)

4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts)

Cheese Sauce

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

30 ml (2 tbsp) all-purpose flour

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) milk

250 ml (1 cup) shredded old cheddar cheese

2 ml (1/2 tsp) dried mustard powder

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

1 ml (1/4 tsp) freshly ground black pepper

Topping

125 ml (1/2 cup) shredded old cheddar cheese

30 ml (2 tbsp) minced fresh parsley (optional)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until tender but firm, about eight minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside. Remove florets from broccoli and set aside. Using a knife, remove any hard knobs from broccoli stems. Chop stems to produce 250 ml (one cup) of stem bits. In boiling salted water, cook stem bits for four minutes; add broccoli florets and continue cooking for three minutes longer. Drain all broccoli and rinse with cold water. Scatter pasta, broccoli, eggs, ham and green onions evenly into six 500-ml (two cup) gratin dishes. (or use one large casserole dish). Cheese Sauce:

In saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat; add flour and cook, stirring, to make a roux (or paste), about two minutes. Whisk in milk and cook, whisking continually, until thickened, about six minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper.

Continue whisking until cheese is melted, about four minutes. Pour cheese sauce over mixture in gratin dishes.

Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese and parsley, if using, over gratin dishes.

Place dishes on large rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 190 C (375 F) oven until heated through and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. (Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to two days. Increase cooking time by 10 minutes.) Makes six servings.