Food You Can Eat: Easter Leftovers

I don't want to hear any resurrecting leftovers jokes

Image via Betty Crocker. Betty uses parsley and doesn't use breadcrumbs, but you get the idea.

l realize not everyone here celebrates Easter but if you do and you find yourself with leftover ham or turkey, here are a couple of recipes to use up the leftovers that do not involve soup making.

Ham and Ricotta Mini Imitation Calzones

Necessity is the mother of invention. I made way too much baked ham for Christmas so for once I had leftovers. I also had some bread dough lurking in the freezer and why we had it I can’t remember, but we did. Here is one way I used up some but by no means all of the leftover ham.

Slice off enough ham, and then dice it, so you get about 2 1/2 to 3 cup’s worth.

Take out a loaf of frozen bread dough. Do what the packaging says and let it rise. Punch it back down because it’s not going to get the better of you. Slice it into 10 pieces. Flour a surface. I don’t have a rolling pin, since I don’t really bake, so I used the bottom of a pot to squish them into circles 5 or 6 inches wide. 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

On one side of each dough circle put 1/10th of the ham, and then dollop on about 2 tbsp. of ricotta. Leave a little border. Beat an egg or two and brush the whole outer edge of the circle. Fold the unfilled half over the filled half so you make a half-moon, like you would with a calzone. Pinch the edges to seal. Brush the tops with more egg.

Grease a baking sheet and arrange your ten faux-calzones so they don’t touch. Put them in for about 15 minutes until they look tasty. Since the ham is already cooked you just want to get the filling hot while being careful not to burn the bread.

Serve with a good, warmed up, store-bought marinara sauce because you have done quite enough cooking and if Better Half doesn’t like it he’s welcome to consult one of the take-out menus These also make for nifty snacks because your gluttony knows no bounds.

Turkey Tetrazzini

This is involved but worth it. The backgrounder to this is every so often we used to throw Oscar parties. I am not a cinephile but I like to gamble (we would have an Oscar pool.) To make my life easier I roasted a turkey a couple of times and let guests hack away at it themselves and fill out their ballots. One year (cue ominous foreshadowing music) about 1/3 of the invitees canceled because of this vicious flu that was going around, so I had leftovers. 

Then, the next day, Better Half announced that a friend of his I don’t particularly like was coming into town and we should all get together. “Great, where are you taking us?” “I thought we could just have him over so he could see the apartment and meet the dog and—“ “And eat here.” Well, I had all this turkey, so why not. It was to be my first attempt at turkey tetrazzini but the stakes, for me, were incredibly low. When I served it, after a bite or two I blurted out, “Wow, this is actually pretty good!” Startled glance exchanged between Better Half and friend.

This isn’t exactly what I made (that recipe is MIA) but it’s close enough.

Pick 2 or 3 cups of turkey from the leftover bird and dice into chunks, not too small.

Mix 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese with 2 tbsp. bread crumbs and put it aside.

Cook 1/2 lb. of spaghetti or linguine until al dente, drain, and keep it in reserve. 

In a small skillet sauté 1/2 lb. thinly sliced mushrooms in a little butter for 3 or 4 minutes. This also gets put aside. 

In a large saucepan heat 3 tbsp. of butter, and when it stops foaming stir in 4 tbsp. flour and cook for a minute. Then whisk 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth, bring this to a boil, then put the heat down to low and let it go for 5 minutes. It will thicken up nicely. Take this off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Add a little salt and pepper if you want (unless you use low-sodium broth this should be salty enough so I didn’t do this, whatever recipe I used way back when.) Then fold in those sautéed mushrooms and the turkey. As Moira Rose knew, this means you don’t just dump it in, you add it gradually and kind of turn it over as you go. 

Now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In an 8X8 buttered baking dish layer in half the spaghetti or linguini, half the turkey/mushroom combo, and then repeat. Sprinkle over the Parmesan/breadcrumb mix, and dot with 1 tbsp. butter. Put in the oven for about 45 minutes until everything is bubbling along and the top browns. If you want, at the end put this in the broiler for a minute if you don’t think it’s browned enough.

When your dinner guest mentions that “Noo Yawk City” (ha ha! Get it? He’s imitating what he thinks a New York accent is) is exciting but he doesn’t know how anyone could willingly move here, reply, “It take a certain kind of person, I suppose…” and mentally fill in with (pick an option or three), “the bright, the curious, the interesting, the talented, the ambitious, everything you are not.”



  1. I made a classic blunder on Easter. My neighborhood had a big brunch and I took out my whole tray of sausage cream cheese rolls. There ended up being a lot left, but they had been out in the sun for 3 hours so no leftovers for me! I should have taken a batch out and then replenished if they all got eaten.


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