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Extended Holiday Fun with Leftovers

The holidays is the perfect excuse for getting stuffed. To many, the Christmas feast is perhaps even the highlight of the entire season. Once the day rolls over though, what were usually left with are stacks of dishes to wash, dirty floors, a feeling of relief that the fun but truly hectic Christmas day is finally over, and of course, the leftovers.

What do you do with leftovers?

Truth be told, I am one of those people who enjoy the days following Christmas day itself. I like it because the guests are gone and I can enjoy myself at my own pace. I like it because I can finally really enjoy the gifts my kids got and watch them play. I like it because this is the time I the leftovers start coming out of the fridge ready to just be heated up or to be reincarnated as another yummy dish.

If you are like me, then you’re already probably an expert in thinking up of creative ways to serve up your leftovers. However, I hope that you still find the following holiday leftover tips useful.

Plan to have leftovers

If you want to have lots of leftovers after Christmas, at least enough to get creative, then you’d better make sure you prepare more food than your family and guests can consume over the course of the day. Make sure your table is filled to overflowing this Christmas, or you can be sure that your fridge will be totally empty the next day.

Most people have a habit of picking on food that is there even when not hungry, you can bet that laying out everything at once will mean no leftovers. So instead of going the overflowing table route, you can just refill serving plates and bowls as they empty out. You can also stash your favorite dishes in your fridge ahead of time so you can be sure that you’ll have something to nibble on the next day.

Store leftovers properly

Individually Packed and Labelled Leftovers

I love leftovers, but I hate spoiled food. Who doesn’t?

Make sure you don’t end up giving yourself an unnecessary headache by storing your leftovers improperly and ending up with spoiled and/or contaminated food. Here are some common tips you can follow for storing leftover food1:

  • Store all leftovers in airtight, leakproof clear containers or wraps.
  • Divide leftovers into small, flat containers so that they cool faster. (Some bacteria spores survive the cooking process and may germinate if the food is at room temperature long enough.)
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking. And there’s no need to wait for piping-hot foods to cool down before storing them―modern refrigerators can handle the heat.
  • Remove the stuffing from the turkey and refrigerate it in a separate container. Left together, they may not cool fast enough, which can be unsafe.
  • Don’t refrigerate leftover cranberry sauce or other foods in cans. Once a can is opened, residual metal on the rim can leach into food and leave a metallic taste.
  • Don’t stuff the refrigerator too full. Cool air needs to circulate to keep food at a safe temperature.

Getting Creative with Your Leftovers

Roast Beef, Blue Cheese, and Caramelized Onions Bagels

Granted that one of the best things about leftovers is that you can just heat them up and have a feast all your own, I’m sure that you and everyone else in your household will appreciate tasting something different, after all leftovers can get really old fast.

The easiest leftover food to reinvent are roasted meat. Whether you had roasted turkey, chicken, pork, or beef, you can easily turn these into easy masterpieces. You can turn these into any kind of leftover sandwiches, use them to spruce up salads, and even make wraps and enchiladas out of them. Here’s a short list of recipes you might to try. Just substitute your leftover meat for whatever meat is one the recipe, and you’ve got a tasty sandwich or salad you can enjoy.

Leftover Turkey Soup

If the usual leftover salads and sandwiches does not do it for you, you can also get a little more creative by trying out the following casserole, stew, and cous cous recipes. These recipes will, however, only work if you really have a lot of leftovers, unlike with salads and sandwiches where you only need a little of each meat to get a tasty meal. Nevertheless, everyone will probably be more appreciate of casseroles and stews since these dishes will taste a lot less like reincarnated leftovers.

Spicy Lamb Meatloaf

Other interesting leftover food recipes you might want to try include:

So before anyone complains about being tired of leftovers, start getting creative and serve up meals after Christmas that no one will realize were all once part of the Christmas feast.


  1. Real Simple []

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