What To Do With Holiday Leftovers??

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!! Leftovers

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.

Soup Sensations
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??


Good Things Come in Small Packages

For some reason, everything seems to be getting super-sized, even appetizers. These little snacks have expanded to almost side-dish portions in recent years. One of the simplest ways to create a healthier appetizer buffet is to create bite-size portions instead of big platters of dips and spreads. You can scale them back down and still make a big splash. Tiny bites, or “tapas” are becoming all the rage, taking the restaurant business by storm. Maybe your own tapas are just what you need to scale down your holiday appetizers to a healthier size.

Instead, make tiny bites using similar ingredients.  By offering smaller, bite sized portions, your guests will not tend to keep dipping and inadvertently fill up on appetizers before they even get a chance to sit down at the table.

Here’s a recipe to give a try.

Roasted Eggplant Spread

  • 1 medium, firm eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic, peel removed
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • drizzle of good olive oil

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. With a small sharp paring knife, cut a couple slits in top of eggplant; this keeps the eggplant from bursting open in the oven.

Put eggplant directly on the oven rack (slit side up) in the middle of the oven and put the other oven rack below on the bottom with a cookie sheet on it to catch any drippings from the eggplant.

Roast the eggplant until it is fork tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

When tender remove carefully from oven to a cutting board to cool enough to handle.

With your sharp paring knife, cut the skin off and scoop the flesh out, putting it in your food processor bowl.

To the eggplant, add the garlic, allspice, salt, pepper, and parsley.

Pulse until the eggplant becomes paste-like, then with motor running, drizzle in just a touch of olive oil, stopping when the paste turns smoother.

Scoop out into a serving bowl and serve with a variety of breads, crackers, pita points, celery, or other vegetables.  This should be served at room temperature, not cold.

You can easily make bigger batches, just increase each ingredient equally.