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The Blonde Cucina: Taking your Christmas leftovers to New Year’s Eve

by on December 31, 2014 8:43 AM

It’s is inevitable that you’ll have leftovers after a holidays, especially Christmas. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m always worried about if I cooked enough. Then I run to the store and decide I need a ham to go with turkey because what if that 25 pound bird isn’t enough? But when it’s all said and done, my refrigerator is stuffed, just like everyone else after dinner.

Now, it’s a week later and you’re having a New Year’s Eve bash and you have no room to store more food because your fridge is still bursting with leftovers, and your wallet is a little tight from those few extra gifts you had to buy.

I’m going to help you empty that fridge, have a great party and have a not so empty wallet. The main things you’re going to have left over after that giant holiday meal you prepared is: turkey, chicken, and/or ham; mashed potatoes; and stuffing. These three fool-proof recipes will be crowd pleasers, and you’ll be able to fit that new gallon of milk in the fridge.  

Blue Cheese Mashed Potato Bites: 


  • Left over mashed potatoes
  • Blue cheese
  • Store bought panko bread crumbs

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Next, roll stuffing around a tablespoon-sized hunk of blue cheese. If stuffing is very wet, roll in dried bread crumbs and bake on a greased and lined cookie sheet until cheese in middle is warm and gooey, about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your bites. There are no precise measurements with this recipe, you make however many bites you’d like. If you’re not a fan of blue cheese use any type of cheese you’d like. You can also add things like bacon to your mashed potatoes and turn them into loaded bites. You can take this super simple idea and make it your own by different add in’s. The possibilities are endless

This recipe is so easy and these are always the first items to go. Expect to see people sneak back to the table for more.


Crowd Pleasing Stud Muffins


  • 3 cups precooked stuffing or dressing
  • 1 cup chopped turkey or ham
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar
  • ¼ lb. frozen spinach
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Thaw and squeeze the spinach dry. Add the stuffing, cheddar, turkey and spinach to a bowl, and then stir lightly to combine all ingredients.
  2. Highly coat each section in your muffin tin with non-stick spray.  Divide the stuffing mixture between all 12 cups.  Leave the stuffing loosely packed in the cups so that the egg mixture can fill in the empty spaces.
  3. Whisk together the rest of your ingredients: eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Divide the egg mixture among the 12 cups, filling each about 1/2 to 3/4 full. The eggs and stuffing mixtures will swell during the cooking process
  4. Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crispy on the top. Allow the muffins to cool slightly, and then remove each muffin, so they do not continue to cook.

Note: this recipe makes about 12 muffins and takes just about 30 minutes start to finish. 

The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for the oven to heat up and waiting for the muffins to cool down. 


Ciara’s super-duper simple Waldorf salad


  • 2 cups cooked and chopped turkey or chicken
  • 1 medium, tart, crisp apple, such as Granny Smith chopped into a medium dice
  • 1 medium sweet apple, such as Gala chopped into a medium dice
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, cut in half
  • 3 medium celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed


Mix all ingredients together and you have a refreshing salad and all your leftovers are gone. I serve this with crackers. You could also get fancy and do a lettuce wrap, but remember we are trying to use those leftovers As long as you have a vessel for this hearty salad your good, even if that vessel is a spoon.

Calling all tailgaters, party goers and hosts

I plan on having a two-part Super Bowl article series coming up and I want to know what recipes you need help with or how you celebrate this day. If you have any questions, want to share a great recipe, or are just in need of a killer appetizer that you need help with for that the Big Game, please send me an email at [email protected]

Ciara Semack is the owner of The Blonde Bistro in Bellefonte. She is the mother of one and a lifelong resident of Centre County. Her column appears every other week in the Gazette. Questions, suggestions and comments can be directed to [email protected]
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