Sensational Holiday Leftover Ideas

Having leftovers after the big holiday meal is not always a bad thing. As a matter of fact, many families actually look forward to these repeat performances. What you don't want is to have to settle for the same old holiday leftover sandwich. 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 re-purpose your holiday leftovers. Soup Sensations Start your reinvention by creating a soup stock out of the turkey carcass. Once you have your stock, you have the beginnings for meals that don't resemble a sandwich in the least. 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. Don't forget to include other leftovers in your turkey soup ideas. Sweet potatoes, processed until they're smooth, then thinned with turkey stock makes a wonderful smooth and satisfying soup. You can make other familiar soups, as well. If you have leftover ham and a ham bone, for instance, you can make a wonderful minestrone soup. With leftover corn or crudite, you've got a good start. Your ham can also be the start to a classic pea soup. Consider using up a few leftovers at the same time. Make your ham stock and stir in leftover mashed potatoes for an wonderful potato and ham chowder. And, don't stop there. Consider the ingredients in green bean casserole; green beans, dairy, mayonnaise, soup, onions; if you puree this particular leftover and add to some stock you have a creamy vegetable soup that can be the base for any chowder. 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. Casserole Creations These one dish meals are already a hodgepodge of ingredients mixed together to form an easy to make meal, so why not make a holiday casserole full of your favorite ingredients? Stack the mashed potatoes and stuffing and turkey to make a super simple holiday version of shepherd's pie. Want to stretch your creation a little more? Roast any leftover vegetables from your crudite tray and put in a casserole dish, then top with slices of turkey. Then spread the leftover cranberry sauce or relish over the turkey, cover and bake. You have a turkey vegetable casserole that has the tangy surprise of the cranberries. Leftover green bean casserole is always a fun challenge. Yes, you can reheat and serve it up again as a side dish. Or you could incorporate it into a big, beautiful scalloped ham and potato dish. The flavors and textures are perfect when you put them all together. Green bean casserole is also the perfect addition to a pot pie or shepherd's pie. Leftover mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and sweet potatoes are also perfectly suited to use in casseroles, either as the bottom or top, or to thicken liquid ingredients. And don't forget the buffet snacks. If you have nuts, cheese, olives, or other goodies leftover, try to incorporate them, too. Bread Gets a Boost A fun substitution to try is using mashed white potatoes instead of flour in a quick bread. Try using about one cup of mashed white potatoes as a substitute for two cups of flour in your recipe and get a dough that is more moist and has more flavor than your typical homemade dough. Another bread boost is using leftover sweet potato casserole, especially the sweetened recipe type, in a quick bread that normally calls for another moist ingredient, like zucchini or apple. If you've got the cinnamon-marshmallow casserole already, the bread turns out very delicious and fun. You can also add leftover vegetables to any quick bread recipe to add color and nutrition. And don't forget leftover cheese or nuts. Sauces Get a Second Audition Gravy and cranberry sauce are two versatile ingredients that may go overlooked if you're overwhelmed with turkey, potatoes, and stuffing. After a holiday dinner, chances are you will have a few sauces left over. Gravy seems to grow in the bowl, so start by rethinking beyond the potato topping sauce. Of course you can use the gravy to pour over sliced turkey in a casserole. You can also use the gravy to make hot shredding turkey sandwiches. But, the gravy is also basically a thickening agent, making it a perfect addition in creating thick, dark stews and casseroles. Your leftover cranberry sauce is a natural choice to make muffins or quick breads. Cranberry orange relish makes a sweet and tangy salad dressing when whisked with a little vinegar and olive oil. You can also use this sweet relish in baking cookies. Pair cranberry orange relish with a soft cheese for a great appetizer. Cranberry sauce, without or without the oranges, makes an excellent glaze for grilled pork, too. You will definitely want to plan for leftover cranberry sauce after all these ideas. 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!


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