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Leftovers Transformed, on a "Shoestring"

After a full day of eating and drinking on Christmas, the last thing you want to do is prepare another meal.

Though ham is great, after that 20th ham sandwich, it can get a little old.

So, on "The Early Show Saturday Edition," Chris Santos, executive chef and owner of New York's Stanton Social, took on the "Chef on a Shoestring" challenge. His mission was to prepare some great dishes with leftovers you'll actually want to eat -- on a $30 budget.

"Early Show" Recipes Galore

All of Santos' dishes had leftovers from Christmas dinner. Since he was using leftovers, Santos didn't have to pay for the following:

• Sweet potatoes
• Dinner rolls
• Ham
• Turkey
• Mashed potatoes
• Apple pie


Spicy and Sweet Potato Pizzas

Use leftover sweet potatoes and blend with maple syrup, molasses, chipotle and butter to make a sweet and spicy topping for French Bread Pizzas with fresh whipped ricotta.

2 cups leftover roasted yams
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon molasses
1 tablespoon chipotle adobo
2 tablespoons softened butter
Chopped parsley
Chopped thyme
1 cup balsamic vinegar
4 strips cooked bacon
Olive oil, for brushing
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 loaf French bread

Place everything in a blender and puree until smooth. Add more cream if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and fold in 1 teaspoon chopped parsley and 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme.

Place balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan and reduce by 2/3. Cool.

For the Pizzas, split French bread in half and brush generously with olive oil. Spread bread with potato puree and then top with evenly spaced teaspoon dollops of fresh ricotta cheese. Add crumbled cooked bacon and place in 375°F oven until golden and crusty. Remove from oven and top with grated Parmigiano or asiago cheese (optional), drizzle lightly with a few drops of reduced balsamic vinegar and finish with fresh cracked pepper and fine chopped parsley and thyme. (The Food Lover's Companion)

Golden Potato & Ham Croquettes

1 cup leftover ham
4 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs

Finely dice the ham and sauté in olive oil with a touch of garlic until crispy. Drain.

Combine the mashed potatoes with cooked ham, mozzarella, parmesan, onion powder, and parsley. Form into croquettes about two inches long and one inch wide.

Dust with flour and dip in the beaten egg and roll in bread crumbs. Pan or deep fry croquettes until they are golden and crispy.

Serve on own or with your favorite marinara or tomato sauce. They also go great with the roasted garlic mayonnaise.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.

Cuban Sliders

Make non-traditional Cuban inspired sliders by slicing the leftover ham and turkey and layering the meats. Spread on the fixings and you've got a delicious sandwich in no time at all.

6 Parker House rolls, split lengthwise
12 slices leftover ham
12 slices leftover turkey
24 slices cheese (Swiss or Gruyere)
18 thin slices of pickle
6 razor thin slices of jalapeno
6 tablespoons mustard
6 tablespoons roasted garlic mayo (see recipe below)
Cilantro leaves, picked

To assemble the sandwiches spread mustard and mayo evenly on rolls. Using the bottom half of each roll as a starting point, layer the sandwiches in the following order:
1 slice of cheese
2 slices of Ham
1 slice of cheese
2 slices of turkey
1 slice of cheese
3 slices pickle
1 slice jalapeno
4 cilantro leaves
1 slice of cheese

Place on griddle and press while cooking or cook in a Panini press until exterior is golden and crusty and cheese is gooey.

Roasted Garlic Mayo

12 cloves garlic, peeled
Olive oil for drizzling

Drizzle 12 peeled cloves of garlic with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and roast in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes or until softened and aromatic. Cool slightly and puree with 2 cups of your favorite mayonnaise. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Apple Pie Ice Cream Sundae

1 pint vanilla or cinnamon ice cream
Caramel sauce
2 pieces leftover Apple (or whatever pie you have) pie

Freeze and then chop the leftover pie into bite sized pieces. Divide ice cream into four bowls and top with the pie bites and drizzle over the caramel sauce.

So how did Chris do with our $30 budget?!

Sweet Potato Pizza
heavy cream $1.19
molasses $2.59
chipotles in adobo $.99
bacon $1.99
ricotta $1.98
French bread $1.59
total $10.33

Ham & Potato Croquettes
mozzarella $2.99
parmesan $2.24
bread crumbs $1.19
total $6.42

Cuban Sliders
Swiss cheese $1.66
pickle $.56
jalapeno $.16
cilantro $.69
garlic $.39
total $3.46

Apple Pie Sundae
ice cream $1.33
caramel sauce $2.69
total $4.02

Grand Total: $24.23!

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