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Celebration Leftovers

Celebration Leftovers

 

            Is there such a thing as too many jelly beans?  After Easter, many of us have hard cooked eggs, roast chicken, ham, mashed potatoes, roast beef, and/or candy sitting in the refrigerator and cupboard.   Leftover recipes don't have to be boring if treated with imagination. Casseroles, soup recipes and stuffed pasta recipes are some favorite ways to transform meats into delicious recipes.  

            However you serve those leftovers, take steps to ensure food safety is one of the ingredients. Leftovers should be used quickly, for food safety reasons.  Roasted chicken should be eaten within two or three days. Ham lasts a little longer - four or five days. Roast beef should also be used within a few days. Freezing these ingredients will keep them safe and delicious for about a month.

            Decorating Easter Eggs is a traditional part of the holiday, but what can you do with leftover extra eggs after Easter? Eating the eggs may be off limits due to safety.   When determining the safety of eating Easter Eggs after decoration, the first step is to consider the materials used in the decoration of the eggs. The shells of eggs are porous, so whatever materials go on the outside will pass through into the edible portion of the egg. Many types of glue and paint, for example, are not meant for human consumption, and eating eggs decorated with these materials is unsafe.

            Food dyes, such as those found in the cake-decorating section of the grocery store, are non-toxic, and will not affect the quality of the egg. Most egg-decorating kits are non-toxic, and Easter Eggs created with these kits are edible – do double check though where the kit was manufactured and by what company. Crayons and Elmer's glue are also not poisonous, and can be used in decorating.  Be an alert consumer and read the label, for safety’s sake.  

            Hard boiled eggs should be kept refrigerated, in order to prevent the growth of salmonella, a form of bacteria that causes food poisoning. Many people are under the assumption that once an egg is boiled, it does not have to be refrigerated – not true!   After eggs have been cooked, they should not be left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours at any time, according to the Egg Safety Center. During decoration, keep individual eggs in the refrigerator until they are ready to be decorated.  Return the egg to the fridge as soon as decoration is complete.  Hide the eggs immediately prior to the egg hunt, and discard any eggs that are not found within 2 hours.

            Discard any eggs with cracked shells: A cracked shell can let in bacteria, which makes the egg inedible.  The leftovers from any celebration meal should not be left out on the table of counter for your guests to graze on throughout the afternoon. Any foods that contain eggs, meat, or cheese as well as cut fruit and vegetable dishes should be refrigerated within two hours of serving. Any time after that could lead to serious food borne illness.

 

Ham & Asparagus Egg Bake

 

Ingredients:

•8 thin slices bread

•4 slices American process cheese

•1 can (15 ounces) asparagus pieces or spears

•4 thin slices ham

•4 eggs

•2 cups milk

•1/2 teaspoon salt

•1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

•1/4 teaspoon pepper

•shredded Cheddar or American cheese

            Place 4 slices of bread, with crusts removed, into buttered 8-inch square baking pan. Place slice of cheese on each piece of bread, then place asparagus evenly on top of cheese slices. Add thin slice of ham to each slice of bread. Top each with another slice of bread. Mix egg, milk, salt, pepper, and mustard; pour over bread. Let refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle top with additional grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until knife comes out clean when inserted near center.

            As for leftover chocolate - what leftovers?

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