As a kid a hated leftovers!! I wanted something new every night, but as I became an adult I now realize leftovers are a lifesaver!!
Here we are at Thanksgiving, when you may have more leftovers than you know what to with. At my house we have at least 20 people for dinner and even after we sent people home with food there LEFTOVERS!!! SO.. what do you do with them.
With a little bit of prep time and some imagination, you can create new ways to enjoy your holiday favorites. Let’s take a look at some creative ideas to use your holiday leftovers.
Remove all the meat from the bird and cook it down for turkey stock. Once you have your stock, you have the beginnings for meals that don’t resemble a sandwich in the least. I’m not a big fan of sandwiches. Once you have the stock done you can make a simple turkey soup by dicing up some of the leftover turkey, then add to the stock with vegetables and noodles or rice for a hearty meal. You can include other leftovers in your turkey soup. You can add sweet potatoes or butter nut squash as a chunk or puree them and to the turkey stock to give it a nice flavor.
Because we had so many at our Thanksgiving table, we have not only turkey but ham. If your family is like mine, you can make a wonderful minestrone soup or split pea soup. I’m a sucker for some split pea soup!! Make your ham stock and stir in leftover mashed potatoes for an wonderful potato and ham chowder. Have left over veggies, you can puree those up to make a delicious veggie based soup. You can use the turkey or ham stock as part of the base.
Salad Without Limits
Simply cutting up leftover turkey, ham, or other meat and topping a big lettuce salad can be a treat. Now look at your other leftovers. Are there still radishes, carrot sticks, celery stalks, olives, and cheese left from the holiday meal? Throw them on the green salad. And don’t stop there. Are those nuts I see on the buffet? Perfect topping for your salad. You can even whisk together a little leftover cranberry sauce or cranberry and orange relish with balsamic vinegar and create a unique dressing for your turkey and greens salad.
Of course, you can expand your salad beyond the lettuce with topping style. Cut up your leftover meats and mix in a vinaigrette or salad dressing, stir in leftover corn, celery, radishes, onion, carrots, or even fruit and nuts. Serve in a bowl or over a bed of crunchy lettuce or cabbage. Don’t limit yourself to one temperature, either. Go ahead and serve heated or roasted leftover meat or vegetables over greens. Drizzle with olive oil and vinaigrette for a nice combination of hot and cold, sweet and tangy. Toss in leftover cranberry sauce, too, hot or cold.
You don’t have to be satisfied with eating the same holiday meal over and over again until your leftovers are gone. Be creative and unique. Use your leftover ingredients to make something new that your family will love and won’t recognize!
Do you have any holiday leftover recipes you want to share??