Christmas leftover brunch buffet

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Making Christmas dinner is always a fun day, and when the family is setting around eating and enjoying the offerings that you have made for them it’s always a very satisfying feeling. However, my favorite part of holiday cooking is making something new and different with the leftovers. Behold the holiday brunch buffet!
Lets face it, you have a lot of leftover food, and at some point making a sandwich for the fourth time, no matter how good the ham is gets a little old. So spice it up a little and make a leftover frittata. You can really use anything in a frittata dependent upon the leftovers you have in the fridge.

What you’ll need:

8 Eggs
Leftover Ham, diced
6-8 spoonfuls of leftover broccoli casserole
6-8 spoonfuls of leftover mac and cheese
6-8 spoonfuls of leftover dressing
3 Tbsp butter
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Leftover gravy (warmed and set to the side)

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degree’s and putting a cast iron skillet on to the stove over medium heat, and add the butter so it will begin to melt. Cut enough of the ham up in to small pieces to cover the bottom of the skillet and place them in the skillet and allow them to start heating through.
Add the spoonfuls of the leftover foods, broccoli casserole, mac and cheese, and dressing.
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Crack the eggs in to a bowl, season them with salt and pepper and then whisk them together.
Stir the food in the skillet as it warms through, then level it off so that everything is about the same depth. Pour the eggs in the skillet making sure all of the cracks and crevices are filled in throughout the skillet. At this point it is really important to not touch anything in the skillet, just let the eggs begin to cook.
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Keep a close eye on the skillet as you should begin to see the eggs bubble in different areas of the skillet (5-7 minutes). When this happens, transfer the skillet to the oven and let it bake for about an additional 10-15 minutes. You will know that it is done when you grab the handle of the skillet and shake it back and forth and the center of the frittata is set. If it still looks loose, you need to let it cook for a few more minutes.
Once it is cooked through remove it from the oven and place it on the stove top to allow it to rest/set. After about 8-10 minutes you will be able to run a spatula around the side of the frittata and take it out of the skillet in one piece and place it on a serving platter. Cut it in to however many pieces you like, and place the warm bowl of gravy beside of it.
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If your going to go for the full blown brunch buffet you may want to include some other items for people to chose from. I put out everything “cold” that we have leftover. This morning it was pasta salad, macaroni salad, deviled eggs, cold turkey, which I also put a loaf a bread out, miracle whip, and pickles to make it easy to build a cold turkey sandwich. And of course you have to have some dessert options.
This part of holiday cooking means as much to me if not more than the big dinner does. This is an opportunity for just those of us who live in the house to have another chance to eat a special meal together. It’s very little work, and worth a lot more than the effort you have to put it to it.

Keep in mind that there aren’t really any set rules for making the frittata, I make these all the time using a wide variety of ingredients and following the same steps listed above.
Give something like this a shot before everyone in the house goes back to the day to day work schedule, school or whatever else you have going on that takes away from time together.

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Make your own BBQ Sauce

pulled pork

Quiet a few years ago I had the idea to make my own BBQ sauce. I had long had the approach that there were good products available at the store (and there is), and all I had to do to enhance them was to add an ingredient or two. Maybe a little more brown sugar, perhaps some honey or bourbon and I would have something that was a little more exciting than something that had been setting in a box or on a shelf for as many as six months. I had the basic idea on what all goes in to a good BBQ sauce, however it wasn’t something I had ever really stood over a pot and done.

This lead me to go to the store one weekend and buy several ingredients and make some BBQ sauce at home and see if it really could be better than my favorite national brand. After a lot of headaches, and messes in the kitchen I finally had a good understanding of how to put together a sauce that truly is different than what you can buy, and I’ll include the recipe here.
Not long after coming up with a recipe that everyone seemed to really enjoy, I couldn’t help buy wonder about the several different styles of BBQ sauces from around the country. Memphis style, the two different Carolina styles and I was even inspired by a restaurant owner to develop a Alabama mayonnaise based sauce. Over the years I have been asked about bottling the sauce, selling the sauce or just the recipes themselves, and of course I have considered them all. For now, I’m just going to put one of them here where I know I will get the proper credit, and hopefully someone can get as much enjoyment out of them as me and my family has.

The most popular sauce in this area at least is a Kansas City style sauce. It’s sweet, with a tangy side to it and very easy to make. If I get some response from posting this one, I will include the other sauces as updates.

K.C. Sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups ketchup (not Heinz, see notes)
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon hot sauce (I prefer Franks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp canola oil

1) Place a large sauce pot on the stove over medium heat and add the canola oil until it is heated, then add the onions and garlic. Let them heat through until the onions become translucent, stirring occasionally. You don’t want the onions or the garlic to begin to brown you’re just trying to soften them and have them release their flavor.

2) While the onions and garlic are cooking, combine all of the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a whisk. You want to make sure all of the dry ingredients are incorporated in to the liquids.

3) Add the other ingredients to the sauce pot and mix well, then bring to a simmer. Stir the pot every five to ten minutes and let the sauce simmer for about a total of thirty to thirty five minutes. Turn the stove off and allow the sauce to come to room temperature. Put the sauce in a nonreactive container and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.

This is great mixed in with pulled pork, and I use a very simple method for doing that even without the use of a smoker, yes I prefer a smoker, however living in West Virginia the weather doesn’t always allow us to use one.  Buy a pork roast and set your oven to 225 degrees.  Place the pork roast in a large dutch oven that has a lid and pour in about a cup of water, a cap full of liquid smoke, and a shot of your favorite bourbon.  Place the lid on the dutch oven and then place it in the oven, close the door and let it cook for about ten hours, or until it is falling apart.  Remove it from the oven, let it set for about thirty minutes then pull it, stir in the sauce you made the night before and enjoy.

Notes: I am a huge fan of Heinz ketchup with french fries or onion rings. I think it is the best product on the market. However for use in this recipe it adds a layer of flavor that I just didn’t care for. I’m not sure why, but this recipe just seems to come out better when using an off brand, cost effective ketchup.
This sauce is always better after it is cooled and sets over night in refrigeration, the extra time for the sauce to really come together does make a difference. Enjoy!