Living for Leftovers, Part 2

More ideas for holiday leftovers at CHEFScatalog.com
January 3, 2014

Woman eating sandwich made from leftovers at CHEFScatalog.com There are two kinds of leftover eaters. One kind is tired of all of the holiday food right after the meal is over and eats it again only because it seems a shame to waste it. The other kind? The other kind is me.

I honestly think I could eat holiday food all year long—yes, including Christmas cookies! But there’s a trick, you see. There’s a transformation that has to take place.

As a creative chef, I can eat Christmas dinner once, maybe twice, but then I have to start taking the leftovers and turning them into new meals. If you’re the first kind of leftover eater, try the power of transformation! See if it changes the way you approach those plastic or glass containers in the refrigerator.

Yesterday, we looked at how to transform ham, those cookies, and corn. Today, suggestions for apple cider, macaroni and cheese, and pound cake.

Apple cider

Hot chocolate, while important, doesn’t completely take the warm holiday beverage spotlight. People also love apple cider for its warmth and unbeatable fruity taste. Whether spiked or consumed as-is, this festive drink is a top choice for many this time of year. Add your favorite spices like cinnamon or nutmeg—maybe a hint of orange—and you have the perfect drink for a chilly fall or winter day.

Apples at CHEFSCatalog.com How to store it: Luckily, cider can easily be stored and enjoyed later, if you have leftovers. If you intend to finish it off within a week or so, store it in the refrigerator, where it will stay sweet for up to two weeks.

But, if you want it to last longer, better freeze it in an airtight container. Be sure to leave enough room in the container—about 1- to 2-inches—for the cider to expand.

Transform your apple cider

Looking for a tasty way to top off your pancakes? You can use apple cider to make a delicious sweet syrup.

Apple Cider Syrup


1 quart apple cider

5 1/2 cups sugar

1 jar caramel sauce

7 half-pint jars for canning.

Cooking Instructions

Heat oven to 200 F and put the canning jars in the warmed oven until you’re ready to use them.

Put a small plate in the freezer as well.

Heat 3 cups of sugar in a skillet until it’s melted. You’ll want the stove on low—the sugar should transform into a dark liquid.

Then in a large pot, place the rest of the sugar (2.5 cups) and the apple cider, and mix to dissolve sugar. Bring to boil and stir for about two minutes.

Add the caramel sauce and wait until everything comes back to a boil.

Take the small plate out of the freezer and put a teaspoon of the apple cider and caramel combination on the plate. If the mixture seems thick, it’s time to can it. If not, continue to cook it, then do the freezer test again. Repeat until thick.

Pour thickened syrup into the jars, leaving a gap at the top for expansion, and put lids on tightly.

Flip the jars over to cool, lid-side down, until it’s ready to serve. Store any opened syrup in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

Macaroni and cheese

Everyone likes comfort foods during the winter, which means mac and cheese is a popular dish for adults and children alike. Its creamy texture and velvety taste keep everyone coming back for seconds.

BroilKing Professional Griddle at CHEFScatalog.comHow to store it: Keep your macaroni and cheese in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for two to three days. If you would like to keep it fresh longer, place it in the freezer in an air-tight plastic container or resealable freezer bag, where it will keep for about two months.

Transform your macaroni and cheese

Put a spin on the traditional grilled cheese sandwich by adding mac and cheese to the mix.

Prepare the bread just as you would for a normal grilled cheese, with butter on the outside of the slices. Then, put a slice of cheese of your choice on one piece of bread and top the slice of cheese with cold macaroni and cheese. Add in any extras, like bacon bits, diced tomatoes, or green onions.

Top with second slice of bread and bake in a 500 F oven (or on a griddle) for one to two minutes for a melty, cheesy sandwich entirely too delicious to be true.

Pound cake

Most holiday dishes are rich and heavy with flavor, so you need a dessert that’s able to stand up to those strong tastes. Pound cake is the perfect winter sweet treat for its flavor and versatility. It can be topped with berries and whipped cream, topped with ice cream and a splash of fruity liquor, or simply eaten by itself.

Pound cake leftovers at CHEFScatalog.com How to store it: Keep this delicious cake in the refrigerator wrapped in foil or plastic wrap, where it will stay fresh for about 7 days. Pound cake can also be frozen. Just wrap aluminum foil around it or put it in a heavy-duty resealable freezer bag. Eat within 3- to 4-months for the best flavor.

Transform your pound cake

If you’re a fan of French toast, try using slices of pound cake in the place of traditional bread.

Dip the pieces in a mixture of 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Fry them on the stove until browned on each side.

Or, turn this sweet cake into croutons for the perfect addition to a salad, soup, or even ice cream. Cut the cake into cubes and bake for 10 to 15 minutes in a 350 F oven.


If you didn't have these foods for Christmas, and therefore don't have leftovers, there's nothing wrong with fixing them now so that you will have leftovers. Here are three recipes from our database to get you started.

Print Slow Cooker Hot Spiced Apple Cider Recipe at CHEFScatalog.comSlow Cooker Hot Spiced Apple Cider

Print Slow Cooker Hot Spiced Apple Cider Recipe at CHEFScatalog.com Ingredients

2 medium apples

1-1/2 tablespoons whole cloves

10 whole cinnamon sticks

1 orange, thinly sliced

4 quarts apple cider

1 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons allspice

1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated

2 cups rum (optional)

Cooking Instructions

Stud the apple with the cloves.

In 6-quart slow cooker, combine all of the ingredients and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 4 to 6 hours.

Ladle into mugs and garnish each with a cinnamon stick.

Print Old School Macaroni and Cheese Recipe at CHEFScatalog.comOld School Macaroni and Cheese

Print Old School Macaroni and Cheese Recipe at CHEFScatalog.com Ingredients

16 ounces elbow macaroni

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste

3 cups milk or half-and-half

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 F. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the macaroni, and return to a boil.

Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked through but still slightly firm, about 8 minutes. Drain well.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam and bubble, stir in the flour; cook on medium heat until flour just begins to turn pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add thyme, cayenne pepper, and white pepper; cook and stir another minute, then whisk in 1 cup of milk until smooth. Pour in remaining milk and whisk again. Bring the sauce just to a simmer.

CHEFS Italian Casserole Set at CHEFScatalog.com Stir in nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, and salt; simmer on medium-low heat until thickened, about 8 minutes, whisking often.

Turn heat off, then add 2 1/4 cups of Cheddar cheese; stir until melted and combined. Add Dijon mustard.

Transfer the macaroni into a casserole dish, then pour in the cheese sauce; stir to thoroughly combine sauce with pasta.

Mix panko bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter in a small bowl, and sprinkle crumbs on top of macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese on top.

Bake until bread crumbs and cheddar cheese topping are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Print Cranberry Orange-Soaked Pound Cake Recipe at CHEFScatalog.comCranberry Orange-Soaked Pound Cake

Print Cranberry Orange-Soaked Pound Cake Recipe at CHEFScatalog.com Ingredients


1 box pound cake mix

1 cup cranberry compote (mixed in last)

Orange Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

4 tablespoons orange juice

1/8 teaspoon grated orange zest

Cooking Instructions

Transforming your leftovers into new, exciting, meals at CHEFScatalog.com Bake cake per box directions, mixing the cranberry compote in after any other ingredients. (If using a favorite plain pound cake recipe, still add the compote last.)

Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and let cool another 30 minutes.

Pierce the top of the cake with a fork every 1/2 inch.

Mix ingredients for orange glaze until smooth. Pour slowly over warm cake and let it soak into the cake and drizzle down the sides.

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Tags: Christmas Dinner, Holiday Dinner, Leftovers

Categories: Food & Recipes