The annual Crimeline Chili Cook-off is coming up fast. The Jan. 4 competition at Seminole Harley-Davidson, 620 Hickman Circle in Sanford, is a family-friendly event that includes an impressive law-enforcement motorcycle challenge. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $5 gets you all the chili you can taste. If you would like to register a team, email firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be there judging along with the stars of Real Radio 104.1 and WKMG-Channel 6 chief meteorologist Tom Sorrells. Crimeline is a community agency that motivates people to provide information on crimes by offering financial rewards and guaranteeing anonymity. In the meantime, let's dish:
Holiday homestretch. Congratulations, elves and elfettes, you made it to Christmas Day.
Enjoy today, but let's not lose momentum. The season of revelry is still in full throttle. Kwanzaa feasts, New Year's Eve parties, bowl game gatherings and Epiphany dinners are pending on the calendar.
You will need to run through today's leftovers ASAP or, come Ground Hog Day you'll be knee deep in a freezer or pantry archaeological dig.
Here are five tips from the Orlando Sentinel test kitchen on how you can stretch the wonderful foods of Christmas Day:
Save the nog: Use eggnog in place of milk or cream in French toast, pancake batter and to flavor your morning coffee.
Keeping spirits bright. In recipes, substitute liqueurs purchased for holiday parties for flavoring extracts such as vanilla. Bailey's hazelnut liqueur, for example, is great in brownies and cookies. Orange liqueurs mixed with honey are great for basting chicken and fish.
Go a little nuts. Add remaining nuts from party fare and recipes to salads. You know, the salads you promise to eat once a day starting Jan. 1. Or, create your own nut and seed mixes by toasting almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in the oven at 200F oven 15-20 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. You can punch up the flavor by tossing with a little soy sauce or spices.
On a roll. Cube leftover savory rolls and breads and freeze in quart-size sealable plastic bags for up to two months. Thaw as you need to make croutons. Toss with melted butter or olive oil and fresh-chopped herbs and garlic. Toast on a rimmed baking sheet, cool and store in an airtight container for three days in the refrigerator.
Bowl game chilis. Cube the leftover beef roast, turkey and ham to add protein to upcoming game day feasts.
Deadline nearing for Foodie Awards. There's still time to vote in the Orlando Sentinel's 16th Annual Foodie Awards. The online ballot has more than 45 categories including fine-dining, wine list, breakfast, brunch, power lunch, food trucks, coffeehouses and bars that serve exceptional food. The results — along with my picks — will appear in the Calendar section on Jan. 31. All votes must be cast by midnight Tuesday, Dec. 31. So put down that fork and vote today at Orlando Sentinel.com/foodies.
Heather McPherson can be reached at 407-420-5498, Twitter@OS_thedish and email@example.com. Follow daily food news at OrlandoSentinel.com/the dish.
Get the dish
Check out the Morning Mix with Scott McKenzie recipe of the week, Easy Lemon Tea-Infused Custard with Candied Apricots, at OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish.