Easter leftovers.

They were so welcome at suppertime on Sunday night. On Monday, that cold ham, lamb, beef or turkey sandwich made a very tasty lunch or quick no-cooking-night supper.

Now it's midweek and those Sunday leftovers are beginning to lose their appeal. They're also rapidly approaching the point of no return.

And yet, there's still a lot of life left in them. It would be a shame to let them go to waste when there are so many lovely things that can still be done with them. All they take is a little imagination on the cook's part.

Adding cold strips of ham or roast lamb, beef or turkey to a big mixed salad is pretty obvious. So are creamed turkey and beef hash. But the fact is, all of them make fine hash, and ham is every bit as good as turkey creamed or folded into an a la King or Tetrazzini. Chunks of leftover roast of any kind are always a fine addition to a bowl of ramen noodles or fried rice.

Here are a few other ideas that just might make those leftovers even better than they were on Sunday.


Composed Salad with Ham, Eggs and Tomatoes

This is a great way to dress up leftover ham and with a touch of elegance. Adapted from my forthcoming book, "Ham: A Savor the South Cookbook" (University of North Carolina Press, Fall 2017). If you've got leftover potato salad, by all means add it to the plate!

You can substitute any leftover roast for the ham. Add minced herbs such as marjoram or thyme, and a splash of Worcestershire for beef or lamb. Leftover Easter eggs that have been properly stored can be used as well, but if you're not sure of them, better safe than sorry.

Serves 4-6


2 ½ cups diced lean cooked ham

½ cup small diced celery

½ cup thinly sliced scallions, both white and green parts, or â cup finely chopped sweet onion

½ cup small diced bread and butter or other sweet pickles (don't use relish for this one)

1-2 tablespoons Dijon or deli-style mustard

About ½ cup mayonnaise

Whole black pepper in a mill

Ground cayenne or hot sauce, optional

About 4 cups Bibb, baby romaine or other small leaf lettuce

2-3 fine, ripe tomatoes, sliced

4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved or quartered

½ cup whole pitted brine-cured black olives (such as Greek, Kalamata or Nicoise) or green olives without a pimiento stuffing

12-18 small pickled okra pods, optional

¼ cup minced parsley

6 slices firm, white or whole wheat bread

Softened salted butter


1. Combine ham, celery, onions, pickles and mustard to taste. Fold in enough mayonnaise to bind together. Add liberal grinding pepper and, if liked, pinch cayenne or dash hot sauce. Taste and adjust pepper and cayenne. Cover and refrigerate until needed, but for no less than 2 hours. Can be made to this point as much as two days ahead.

2. When ready to serve, position a rack 6 inches below broiler and preheat broiler. Cut bread in half on diagonal, making two triangles and lay on broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet. Spread lettuce on serving platter and pile ham salad in center. Arrange sliced tomatoes, eggs, olives and pickled okra around the ham salad and generously sprinkle everything with parsley. (You can also divide among 4 to 6 chilled salad plates, arranging them in similar way.)

3. Toast bread under broiler until tops are browned, turn and toast until second side is firm but not colored. Remove it from oven, lightly spread with butter, and broil until lightly browned and crisp. Serve salad immediately while buttered toast is still hot.


Penne with Ham, Rosemary and Tomatoes

Follow this with a simple mixed green salad for a simple weeknight supper. Adapted from my forthcoming book, "Ham: a Savor the South Cookbook" (UNC Press, Fall 2017).

Serves 4-6


3 tablespoons unsalted butter or 1 ½ tablespoons butter and 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1 cup small diced cooked ham

1 medium yellow onion, split lengthwise, peeled and diced small

1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary

½ cup dry white vermouth or dry white wine

2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped, with their juices


1 pound penne or other short, tubular pasta or short fusilli (rotini)

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1. Heat butter (or butter and oil) in large sauté pan over medium heat until hot and bubbly. Add ham and sauté until beginning to color on edges. Add onion and sauté until golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, pepper flakes and rosemary and toss until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Pour in vermouth and bring to boil, stirring and scraping bottom to release browned cooking residue. Let boil until mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, bring it to boil, and reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat.

3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in 6-8 quart pot. Toss in small handful of salt, stir, and stir in pasta. Cook until al dente (firm to bite, but cooked through, using package directions as rough guide). When almost done, gently reheat sauce over medium-low heat.

4. When pasta is ready, drain quickly, being careful not to over drain, and immediately toss with sauce. Sprinkle ½ cup cheese over, toss well and serve, passing remaining cheese separately.


Skillet Shepherd's Pie

Though often made in our country with ground beef, this British favorite was devised as a way to use up leftover roast lamb. You can, of course, substitute fresh ground lamb or beef, but this is one time when it's actually better with leftovers. It's ideal for the remains of the Easter roast, whether it's lamb or beef. Use leftover mashed potatoes if you happen to have them on hand, but make sure to let them come to room temperature first or you'll never get them smooth.

If you don't have a deep, ovenproof skillet as suggested here, you can make the filling and then transfer it to a buttered 2-quart shallow baking dish.

Serves 4


1 pound (about 3 cups diced) leftover lamb roast, trimmed of fat, or 1 ½ pounds ground lamb or beef

About 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil (only if using ground meat)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced small

2 large carrots, peeled and diced small

1 large parsnip, peeled and diced small

1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 cup frozen peas

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley

3 tablespoons instant-blending flour

½ cup dry Madeira or dry sherry

2 cups beef broth

Worcestershire sauce

Salt and whole black pepper in a mill

4 cups leftover mashed potatoes or freshly made mashed potatoes (recipe follows)

2-3 tablespoons milk or cream (only for leftover potatoes)

2 large egg yolks or 1 large egg


1. Choose a deep, 10-inch, ovenproof, heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan. If using leftover roast, trim and cut into small dice. You should have three cups. Skip to step 2. If using ground meat, put oil in pan over medium heat. When warm, add meat, and sauté until browned, stirring and crumbling with fork. Remove from pan.

2. Add butter and onion to pan over medium heat. Sauté until onion is clear but not colored, 2-3 minutes. Add carrot and parsnip and sauté until softened and onion is pale gold, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and peas and stir until peas are thawed, then stir in herbs and meat. Sprinkle flour over and stir until smooth. Slowly stir in wine and then broth and bring to simmer, still stirring. Adjust heat to slow simmer and cook until thick, about 2 minutes, still stirring. Season to taste with Worcestershire, salt and pepper, and simmer 2-3 minutes if using leftover cooked meat, 20 minutes if using ground meat. Turn off heat and let cool while making potatoes.

3. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Make potato topping: put mashed potatoes in large bowl and if using leftovers, roughly mash to break up. Mix in egg yolk or egg and, if using leftover potatoes, a few spoonfuls of milk or cream to make smooth but not soft.

4. Set skillet on large rimmed baking sheet (to catch drips). Spoon potatoes over top and level with silicone spatula. Rake with fork to roughen top and sprinkle with liberal grindings of pepper. Set pan on baking sheet in center of oven and bake until top is browned and filling is bubbly, about 20-30 minutes.


Quick Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are better if the potatoes are cooked whole, with their skins still on, and then peeled and cut up for mashing, but when pressed for time, you can peel and dice the potatoes before cooking them. Just take care not to overcook them or they'll be watery.

Serves 4


2 pounds russet potatoes

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

About ¼-â cup hot milk



1. Scrub potatoes under cold, running water, peel, and cut into 1-inch dice. Put in heavy-bottomed pot and add enough water to cover. Add large pinch salt and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to steady simmer and cook until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain let cool slightly.

2. Force potatoes through small holes of potato ricer back into pot and return to medium-low heat. Add butter and stir; work in with potato masher until incorporated. Gradually work in milk until fluffy and smooth. Add salt to taste and stir well. Serve warm.


Hot Open-Faced Roast Lamb or Beef Sandwiches

Don't have time to fuss with mincing meat and mashing potatoes? Here are the same shepherd's pie flavors in a hot open-faced sandwich that's always a hit.

Serves 4


1 pound leftover roast lamb or beef

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for toast

1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

3 tablespoons instant-blending flour

½ cup dry Madeira or dry sherry

2 ½ cups beef broth

Worcestershire sauce

Salt and whole black pepper in a mill

4 1-inch-thick slices firm, home-style bread or sourdough sandwich rolls, split

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. While roast is still quite cold, trim and thinly slice.

2. Put butter and onion in a heavy-bottomed deep skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Saute until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, sage and thyme and stir until fragrant, then sprinkle flour over and stir until smooth. Slowly add wine then broth, stirring constantly. Bring to simmer, still stirring. Adjust heat to slow simmer and cook until thickened, stirring, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with Worcestershire, salt, and pepper, and simmer 5 minutes. Add sliced meat and let warm through. Turn off heat but keep warm.

3. Warm large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lightly spread one side of bread with butter and put in pan buttered-side-down. Toast until browned, turn, and toast second side. Transfer to serving plates, and spoon a little gravy over each. Top with sliced meat and remaining gravy, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.


Mildred Evans Warren's Ham and Asparagus Casserole

The late Mildred Evans Warren was a beloved food writer from Perry, Ga. Her charming 1969 cookbook "The Art of Southern Cooking," and clippings from her regular column "The Cook's Nook" are still treasured by many South Georgians. This lovely little supper casserole is adapted from her book. It's a great way to repurpose leftover ham and asparagus.

Serves 6


3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon grated onion

Dash garlic salt (optional)

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

âs teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups milk

2 cups (8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar

1 cup plain packaged dry stuffing crumbs

2 cups diced cooked ham

2 cups cooked asparagus cut in 1-inch lengths


1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat and blend in grated onion, seasonings, and flour, stirring until smooth. Slowly add milk, and, stirring constantly, bring to simmer and heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Fold in cheese and stir until melted. Turn off heat.

2. Grease 2-quart casserole with butter and sprinkle half of stuffing crumbs over bottom. Spread layer of ham and then layer of asparagus over crumbs. Spoon part of cheese sauce over. Repeat until ingredients are used, finishing with sauce. Scatter remaining crumbs over top and dot with butter. Bake until browned and bubbly at center, about 45 minutes.