How To Use Up Holiday Leftovers Nobody Wants

There are always leftovers that don’t make the cut when it comes to family favorites.  There are probably some that no one even wanted the first night, let alone as leftovers!

With the amount of food on a typical holiday table, there is a strong chance that something is not going to make it on its own into the favorite food category. But, with a little help from the other dishes, you may be able to save the leftovers that no one wants from the garbage. Here are a few ideas on how to avoid the leftovers left behind.

Learn From Your Leftover History

Unless you look at history, and learn from it, you are doomed to repeat it. So, think back to your past holiday feasts and remember the leftovers you typically have to throw out at the end of the week. Those are the leftovers you need to avoid.  Some are obvious, some not so much.

If you have a dish on the table that no one touches, or mentions, you probably should stop making it.  That’s the obvious lesson that’s easy to learn.  Leftover smoked oysters stinking up the garbage?  Quit serving them.  Leftover sweet potato casserole being divided up in a dozen containers to go home with the guests each year?  Quite making it.

But, there are dishes that everyone loves, and the leftovers are still a problem. How does this happen and what can be done?

Say everyone at your holiday table loves green bean casserole.  Every year you make mountains of the stuff, and every year you get raves about it.  But, every year you also get left with a lot of it.  You store it for a while in the refrigerator, and even pick at it a bit.  Eventually, it gets watery and you throw it away.  Nothing you’ve tried to make with it appeals to you, so the idea of having so much of it leftover is not pleasant.

Your history lesson would tell you, yes, everyone loves it.  Yes, it is eaten.  And, yes, you are left with buckets of the stuff.  Now you have learned to make less.  You don’t have to eliminate it from your meal, just cut back on the amount.  Everyone will get a taste and be happy and you are left with an empty casserole dish.  You have learned your lesson.

When the Unexpected Happens

You thought everyone loved creamed spinach as much as you do.  How could you have been mistaken?  Now you are left with a heaping helping of untouched creamed spinach.  Instead of just serving re-warmed creamed spinach to yourself for days, why not make something fun and exciting with it?

The trick to finding a way to use unwanted leftovers is to break down the ingredients and use them in a dish you know your family likes. For instance, there are many recipes that call for the two main ingredients of creamed spinach; cream and spinach.  All you have to do is find one and you have a new creation.  Perhaps a rich creamy spinach artichoke dip served with crispy crackers or hearty bread would be nice.  Or, consider a big change-up and make your favorite spinach lasagna. Now you have taken something leftover that no one wanted and turned it into two dishes your family will love.

When you’re surprised with one of those “I thought everyone would like it” dishes after the holiday meal, it can be difficult coming up with ideas of how to use it in another meal.  But, when you break down the ingredients, you can usually see where it might fit in a new dish.  Get your family involved and see if they can help solve this little puzzle and have fun with it.

When you give everyone the opportunity to be a chef, not only will they eat the food they create, but you may actually come up with a new family favorite.

Unwanted leftovers can be avoided if you learn from your holiday meal history.  But, when you are surprised with a leftover, you can learn from that, as well.  A little cooking lesson may be in order, but even the most unwanted leftover “stage door Johnnie” can be put to work when you are determined to learn what they can do!

p.s.  When you plan ahead, your leftovers will almost be as big a hit as the turkey or ham or rib roast!  Click on the following link to learn how you can, and why you should Plan Ahead For Your Leftovers.

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