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Reinvent your holiday leftovers into brand new meals like soups, sandwiches, purees and beyond! My Top 7 Ideas for Holiday Leftovers will help you get started.
Are the holidays a time for you to go “all out” in the kitchen and share your favorite dishes with family and friends? And while meal planning can help prevent the number of leftovers, sometimes it’s just inevitable that there will be some things leftover! Not to worry, there are many ways to reinvent those leftovers into delicious new meals and prevent food waste.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Easy Add-Ins Leftover vegetables and meat make quick and easy additions to lunchbox favorites like quesadillas, grilled sandwiches or stir-fries, like these Simple Mediterranean Quesadillas or this Healthy Stir Fry recipe.
2. Puree leftover vegetables and freeze. Simply put the purée in an ice cube tray and freeze. The next time you’re making a soup, sauce or casserole, add a cube or two for an extra burst of nutrition. This Bolognese Sauce is a perfect recipe for adding a few more veggies!
Purees also make great homemade baby food. Don’t have a baby? Then make some for a friend or family member who does!
I also like to use purees in sauces or other dishes. I’ve found many inspirational recipes in the Sneaky Blends cookbook which has recipes for all ages!
3. Don’t forget the bones! Use turkey and ham bones to make delicious soups! No time to make soup right away? You can store them in a resealable bag in the freezer until you’re ready.
One of my favorite recipes is my Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. You can make it on the stovetop or in the slowcooker or pressure cooker!
4. And don’t forget the leftover vegetables! When preparing your dishes, you may have leftover ingredients that can easily be used in other recipes. Just a couple of ideas include leftover green beans that can be added to soups or leftover celery added to sauces like Shrimp Creole or saved in a baggie to use later in soup stock.
5. Make it meatless. Use leftover sweet or mashed potatoes, like these Garlic Mashed Potatoes to make potato pancakes. They’re quick and easy and taste great paired with a salad for a meatless meal option.
6. Turn it into a sandwich or salad! Leftovers like turkey or ham are a great place to start to build your sandwich or panini. We especially like paninis because they are so easy to make and make a grilled sandwich seem just a little bit more gourmet.
Also, think beyond the main dish and don’t forget your cheese or meats that you might have served as an appetizer.
7. Have a repeat meal. Use divided reusable, heatable storage containers to freeze leftovers. When you’re ready for a quick meal, you can have your own frozen dinner from food you made yourself!
With a little planning and creativity, those leftovers can be put to great use that in the end that saves you time and money, plus provides a delicious and healthy meal for your family.
What are your favorite ways to use up leftovers after a big holiday feast?
This post first appeared in 2016 on the Produce For Kids website. I’m sharing it again with some updates and new ideas! I hope you find them helpful!
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