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Using Holiday Leftovers

You’ve prepped and cooked and baked and presented your family or guests with a scrumptious Christmas or Hanukkah meal. They’ve eaten themselves silly, but now – what to do with all those leftovers?

Here are some simple tricks for eating up the leftovers before they spoil.


Safety First

Food should never sit out for more than two hours, so promptly refrigerate what doesn’t get eaten.

If you stuff your bird, remove the stuffing before storing the turkey or goose. To make the refrigerator less full and make it easier to use leftovers, remove the meat from the bird before storing. (Use the bones to make stock!)

Store all leftovers in sealable plastic bags or air-tight containers in a refrigerator that is no warmer than 40 degrees F.

Many refrigerators are colder in the back, so store leftovers there, if possible. If you’re worried about anything lasting, freeze it and use within four months.


Give it Away

Give leftovers away to your guests. Purchase inexpensive sealed containers (such as the “disposable” containers sold by Ziplock) for this purpose so your guests don’t have to worry about returning dishes.


Using Holiday Leftovers


Meat and Cheese

Leftover cheese and meat make great appetizers if you cut them into bite sized pieces and add crackers of your choosing.

Ham refrigerates well and can be reheated for another meal. Cut up salmon, turkey, or goose and add to casseroles, soups, stews, enchiladas, burritos, shepherd’s pie, or similar dishes.



Round left over potatoes can into pancake shapes and fry with some herbs for a hearty breakfast or dinner side dish. You can also make a mashed potato salad.

Sweet potatoes make an excellent addition to baked goods like muffins.


Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce can be mixed with plain yogurt for breakfast or lunch. Or add some chopped nuts (and perhaps applesauce) and serve it as chutney.



Vegetables are a great addition to quiches, casseroles, soups, and stews. Or, freeze them in small batches to throw into such dishes in the months ahead. Vegetables and leftover meats can also make scrumptious stir fry.


Bread and Stuffing

Leftover bread makes great French toast. For a special treat, take “tea” or “quick” breads (like pumpkin bread) and make French toast from them. Or make bread pudding for dessert. You can even chop or crumble bread, freeze it, and use it for breaded dishes in the coming year.

Stuffing can be reused to stuff squash, or press the leftovers into muffin tins (coated with cooking spray) and bake at 350 degrees F until crisp on top.


Candy Canes and Desserts

If you have left over candy canes use them as stirrers for coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or other hot or cold drinks. Or crush them up and use them to decorate cookies for New Year’s, or to sprinkle on ice cream sundaes.

Cakes and pies can be frozen; try slicing them into servings and placing each in it’s own freezer bag.


Check out the video version of this article on YouTube : Using Holiday Leftovers

Using Holiday Leftovers


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