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Cooking with Sarah: Leftovers recipes!

For me, managing my leftovers means extending my food's life for as long as possible. For my mom, it's figuring out how to get her kids to devour them in the few days after Christmas before we return to our respective corners of the Northeast. Either way, we're both in the same pickle - after a great meal, we have too much food for the number of people left in the house, so it's great to keep a go-to leftovers recipes on-hand. Major leftover culprit: the veggie plate or for you fancy people, crudite. Once all the veggies are cut and arranged for this staple appetizer (with even more on standby in the refrigerator), they tend to sit out for a while, and whatever isn't eaten gets stuffed into a ziplock bag, then promptly forgotten about. Who can blame us for moving onto the delicious turkey and stuffing?

This year, I tried something different. I chopped up all of the leftovers and baked them into my new favorite brunch - a crescent roll ring!

Leftovers:

  • 2 cups chopped veggies - anything! Bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, spinach, etc. 1 cup shredded cheese - cheddar works perfectly, but I would NEVER suggest a limit to a cheese choice 1 - 1/2 cups chopped fully cooked chicken or turkey, or even canned chicken or tuna

Pantry staples:

  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of nutmeg

You might have to go to the store to buy:

  • 2 packages of uncooked crescent roll dough

Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 375. Mix veggies, cheese and chicken/turkey with the mayo, salt and nutmeg (about 4 cups of filling). On a large cookie sheet (or even better - a round pizza stone), arrange the crescent rolls in a circle with the large ends overlapping in the middle and points out. Evenly distribute the filling around the widest parts of the circle, then fold the points over to cover as much as possible. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

I froze half of the braid, and about 2 weeks later, it thawed beautifully. I moved it from the freezer to the fridge the night before work, and voila...lunch. Reheating with an oven is best for the crust, but the microwave worked just fine for me.

Of course, there are the usual remedies like soups, quiches (use a muffin tin!), omelets or casseroles, and having a slow-cooker makes any pile of leftovers into a fabulous, freezable lunch. My favorite site to browse for some easy recipes is allrecipes.com - there's an option to type in what you have, and they'll find something for you. Easy as pie.

What are you favorite ways to bring your leftovers back to life? Have any leftovers recipes to share?

Um, it's exactly what I wanted (not!)

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