Not only do we tend to overeat over the holidays, we also tend to over prepare; we make too much food. In order to not waste the wonderful food you spent so much time cooking, and to avoid hearing your family whine about eating leftovers (again), use the old menu items to create an entirely new meal.
Turkey tends to be one of the primary leftovers, probably because nobody really knows how big of a bird to buy so they err on the side of “too much”. To rescue your turkey leftovers, try some of these alternative uses.
- Sandwiches. Is there anything better than some cold turkey with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and lettuce between two slices of bread?
- Soup. Instead of chicken noodle soup, make turkey noodle soup. In fact, any soup recipe that calls for chicken would be just as good with turkey.
- Turkey pot pie. (This is also a great way to use any leftover pie crust you may have.) Warm, one dish comfort food for the win.
- Enchiladas. Shred the turkey. Mix it with cheese and a spicy pepper of your choice. Stuff it into a rolled corn tortilla. Top with enchilada sauce and more cheese for a tasty Mexican dish so yummy your family won’t know they’re eating leftovers.
Families that don’t have turkey leftovers are likely to have ham leftovers. No fear. Ham offers multiple menu options, too.
- Grilled cheese. Throw a ham and swiss cheese grilled cheese on the griddle or eat a sandwich with ham, spicy mustard, and bread.
- Omelettes. Ham’s versatility makes it a meat for any meal. Chop it up and put it in a ham and cheese omelette for breakfast. Add onions and green peppers to make it even fancier.
- Salad topper. No chef salad is complete without some chopped ham on top. Adding ham to your salad makes it a great one-dish lunch option.
- With black-eyed peas. Southerners know you have to have black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day if you want a prosperous new year. Toss some ham in with those black-eyed peas to improve both foods. Crumble some cornbread on top and you’re eating below the Mason-Dixon line.
Bake too many rolls and don’t want them to go stale? No problem. You can slice them for the aforementioned sandwiches, freeze them for future use, crumble them for bread crumbs to be used in recipes, or make a family trip to the local duck pond and feed them to the ducks. It’s not wasteful if you’re making memories. Be sure to snap a picture.
Depending on what kind of fruit salad it is, you could blend it to make smoothies or add some yogurt and eat it for breakfast.
Vegetables that aren’t part of a casserole can be saved to put in a vegetable soup. Depending on how they were prepared, they could also be pureed for baby food.
You can also stock your freezer with these leftover goodies to use on another day, especially if you’ll be travelling over the holidays. The following leftovers usually freeze well.
- Whole pies
- Cooked meats