Repurposing Your Holiday Leftovers

Repurposing Your Holiday Leftovers - Quicken Loans Zing Blog The dust of Christmas is starting to settle as we pick the last bits and pieces of wrapping paper off our floors to get ready for the New Year. Your floor might be clean, but I’m willing to bet there are still some big remnants of the holidays left in your fridge. Though you may be tired of heating up the same meal over and over again, it’s important to be mindful about not wasting food. Luckily, there are tons of creative ways to deliciously utilize the traditional Christmas dishes we’re all starting to get sick of.

 

Protein

Ham

My household always has leftover ham after we host Christm as, and it’s an annual struggle to eat it all before it goes bad. Ham can be used in a variety of different types of cuisine. The easiest and most familiar way to repurpose ham is to add it to your breakfast. If you feel like being more adventurous, you can chop it up and make a quiche or frittata.

An easy and warm winter go-to meal is soup, and leftover ham fits perfectly into a few different recipes. The heartiest and healthiest are split pea and navy bean, which are both especially delicious homemade. Bonus: If you can’t finish all of the soup, it can very easily be frozen and eaten for dinner weeks later.

One last way to completely transform your holiday ham is to throw it onto a homemade pizza. Whether you buy a ready-made crust or attempt to make your own dough, combining ham with fresh pineapple or mushrooms is a tasty way to use up what’s left.

Turkey

I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but soups are a great way to repurpose turkey, too. You can even boil the whole bird to make homemade stock. A turkey-noodle soup is always a welcomed variation on the classic chicken noodle soup. You can also use your leftover corn and fresh, frozen or canned bell peppers and tomatoes to make your own version of turkey tortilla soup. Just top it with cheese, avocado and crushed chips to finish it off.

This recipe for turkey mac and cheese is another good way to use what wasn’t eaten, and it’s fairly easy to make! Try adding broccoli to make it a complete meal, and you’ll be wondering why you haven’t made this every year.

Another quick and simple lunch option for your leftovers is turkey sandwiches. Being creative is the key to deliciously repurposing your food, so think outside the box. Whether you pair it with pesto and a ciabatta bun or spinach and a wheat wrap, you’ll have a yummy, healthy lunch to bring to work or class.

Sides Dishes

Starches

Leftover mashed potatoes usually seem plain and unappealing to me, so I’m especially excited to try out some recipes to reuse them. I didn’t realize that mashed potatoes can easily be made into makeshift potato latkes with a few ingredients thrown in. Another use for them is the classic comfort dish, shepherd’s pie, which can be made a variety of different ways.

Cheesy potatoes can be made into cakes too, by adding egg, breadcrumbs and green onion, then lightly frying them. This isn’t exactly the healthiest way to reuse your leftovers, but these potato cakes are sure to be a hit in your household. You can also add cheesy potatoes to any cream-based soup as a thickener, or you can freeze them for another day.

Stuffing is a bit harder to repurpose, but acts as a really good thing to, well, stuff with. You can stuff mushrooms, sweet potatoes or eggplant with your family’s traditional stuffing to give it new life. Add some unique spices or different kinds of cheese to bring out new flavors.

There are so many things you can use leftover rolls for, but you have to act fast before they go stale. You can cut them up and bake them to make homemade croutons for salad night, or tear them up to make bread pudding or baked French toast. If all else fails, throw them outside for the critters in your neighborhood.

Vegetables

Roasted vegetables of all kinds can be repurposed for a variety of dishes, one of the easiest being stir fry. Simply sauté the vegetables with your favorite stir fry sauce and enjoy over rice or noodles. My favorite easy way to use leftover veggies is to throw them into a skillet or omelet in the morning. You can also use them between layers in your favorite lasagna recipe to make your comfort food guilt-free and full of vitamins.

If you have leftover pumpkin, squash or yams, they can actually be mashed and used in baking. Try adding it into your batter next time you make muffins, cakes or waffles to pack in extra nutrients and flavor.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce might seem like it only fits into a holiday meal, but it has plenty of other uses. You can use it as a glaze for pork, poultry or beef. You can use it as a sauce for your waffles or French toast, and you can throw it into your smoothie to add extra sweetness and tartness.

Desserts

Crumble up leftover cookies and freeze them to use next time you make homemade ice cream sundaes. Or, bring them into the office and become everyone’s favorite co-worker.
Any kind of leftover cake you have can be crumbled up and rolled into rum balls, a delicious treat perfect to lay out for a New Year’s party. Rum balls are a lot easier to freeze and eat later, because their coating prevents them from drying out.

Have you ever used any of these recipes to repurpose your leftovers? Tell us how they turned out in a comment below!

 

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