If you’re entertaining over the hoildays, the chances are that you will buy a “little extra” so you won’t run out, but afterwards, the chances are that you’ll have some leftovers. If you have a small family and/or a small fridge, finding room in your home (not to mention your stomach) for the leftover meats, vegetables and bread can be a challenge.
I thought you might find some of these ways to reinvent leftover dishes of use!
French Toast – Leftover French bread and banana or pumpkin bread make delicious French toast the next morning. Top with fresh fruit (you might even have some leftovers!) and whipped cream. To make a fruit topping, warm fruit and juice on the stove. Thicken with equal parts water and cornstarch (mix them separately and then add them in).
Leftover vegetables – Vegetable Quiche
Fill an empty pie shell with finely chopped vegetable leftovers and shredded cheese. If you have leftover ham, you can add it in too. Beat 3 eggs, 1 cup evaporated skim milk, and a dash of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and Seasoned Pepper. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the filling sets.
Vegetable Soup – To save time, open a can of canned vegetable soup add leftover vegetables and beef broth or tomato juice for a hearty winter lunch. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches (if you have leftover cheese from a party platter, this is a great way to use the leftovers).
Leftover Turkey – Turkey Wraps
Slice or shred leftover turkey, add some teriyaki sauce. Wrap mixture in soft tortillas and serve for a refreshing post-holiday lunch or snack.
Stuffed Pitas – Stuff a pita pocket with leftover turkey and cheese. Add salad greens, sliced tomatoes, and mustard or mayonnaise.
Leftover Deli Meat and Cheese – Leftovers from meat and cheese trays can be turned into prepared salads for sandwiches. Simply chop the meat finely and prepare as you would any other salad mixture recipe like chicken or tuna salad. Or, shred deli meats brown lightly in a frying pan. Toss with barbecue sauce and cook until mixture is thick and serve on leftover rolls.
Leftover Mashed potatoes -Don’t ditch them! Instead, shape leftover mashed potatoes into patties and fry in butter, olive oil or vegetable oil for quick and easy potato cakes. Add seasonings to the potatoes (rosemary is a nice holiday choice) before shaping them.
Leftover Gravy – Add leftover turkey drippings or gravy to leftover stuffing and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Leftover cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other holiday goodies – Canned cranberry sauce tastes wonderful on leftover cooked candied yams. Pour cranberry sauce on the yams, place in a 350-degree oven and cook until heated through. You can also use yams in place of carrots or zucchini in muffins or bread. If you’re tired of eating plain pumpkin pie, chop it into pieces and put on top of vanilla ice cream.
Leftover crackers can be used as toppings for casseroles or baked hot dish. You can also use them as breading for meats .
Leftover cheese can be used as toppings for soups. For example, chunks of leftover cheese are delicious in most chili.
Leftover Food Safety Tips : The Federal Safety and Inspection Services department of the USDA provide these recommendations for safe leftovers:
Wash hands well with soap and warm water before handling leftovers.
Refrigerate leftovers immediately–within two hours of preparation.
Cool hot leftovers in the refrigerator instead of on the counter.
Remove stuffing from inside the turkey and store in a separate container.
Pour leftover gravy into a plastic storage container (dividing up into smaller
containers if necessary).
Storing leftovers – Discard any turkey, stuffing and gravy left out at room temperature longer than two hours and one hour in temperatures higher than 90 degrees.
Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling.
Keep leftovers at least 2 inches apart in the fridge to allow cold air to circulate.
Toss any stuffing containing meat after three days. Throw out any leftovers that look or smell odd (contaminated food may look and smell fine).
If freezing leftovers, use within two to six months for best quality.
When storing leftovers in the refrigerator, mark the date and use within a few days:
Vegetables … 3-4 days
Pasta … 3-4 days
Rice … 7 days
Deli meats … 5 days
Beef, poultry, pork, and fish … 3-4 days
Gravy … 1-2 days
Stuffing … 1-2 days
Seafood … 2 days
Soups, stews, and casseroles … 3-4 days
Wrap leftover roasts and turkey tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and eat within 3-4 days.
Reheating leftovers – Cooked turkey may be eaten cold or reheated. Oven reheating:
Set oven temperature to at least 325 degrees. Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Use a food thermometer to verify it’s reached the right temperature. To keep the turkey from drying out, add a little broth or water and keep covered.
Microwave reheating: Cover food and rotate for even heating. Cooking times will vary according to power levels. It also depends on the amount of leftovers. Keep an eye on your food to ensure that it’s cooked thoroughly.