Giving leftovers a makeover

by | Dec 5, 2023 | Environment, Food Waste

‘Tis the season to get creative with leftovers. 

The holiday season is a time for joy and celebration. However, as the festive gatherings wind down, many of us find ourselves facing a common dilemma: an abundance of leftovers. Rather than weeks after weeks of uninspired reheats, why not embark on a culinary adventure by giving those leftovers a makeover? Getting the most out of the food we have is an important way to reduce the amount of edible food going to landfills and express our gratitude over the holiday season and beyond.  

Here are a few ways to make leftovers more exciting.  

Turkey (and other poultry, fish, and meat)

A cornerstone of holiday meals, turkey has many leftover options to carry you and your loved ones well beyond the holidays. Some of the best ways to extend the value of the turkey are:  

  • Make a rich and flavorful stock by using the carcass. This not only adds depth to your cooking but also honors the animal as a whole. 
  • Shred leftover meat and add them to your soups and stews. Prepare these fresh and freeze them for a taste of holiday warmth during the winter months.
  • Sandwiches beyond the basics! While sandwiches are a classic choice, explore new recipes to keep the week following the big holiday meal exciting. Experiment with different condiments, bread, vegetables and add-ons for a gourmet experience.  
  • If you have a green thumb, consider making bone meal from the turkey bones to enrich your garden soil come spring. 

Fruits and vegetables  

Just like with meats, freezing is a great option for leftover vegetables. A better way to keep things fresh is to take the produce, make something new, and then freeze it. Here are a few ideas to get you started:  

  • Combine assorted vegetable side dishes into a savory pie, pancake or omelette, creating a delightful dinner that utilizes every bit of your holiday table’s cornucopia. You can also stir-fry them: heat up a pan, throw in your leftover veggies, add soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, and you’ve got a stir-fry ready in minutes. Serve it over rice or noodles for a complete meal. 
  • Nutrition-packed savoury waffles: Incorporate fruits or vegetables into your waffle batter for a versatile dish that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. 
  • Transform mashed potatoes into crispy potato pancakes: Mix in some grated cheese, chopped scallions, and a sprinkle of flour, then pan-fry until golden brown. 
  • Kitchen Sink Soup Adventure: Create a “Kitchen Sink Soup” by assembling whatever you have in the fridge, adding protein or beans, broth or water. This fun and easy approach may lead to surprising new recipes that give those wilted herbs another life.  

Looking for more inspiration to make the best out of your pantry? We have plenty of resources for you: 

Art of the Pantry: Finding New Inspiration in Your Cupboards 

10 Clever & Easy Kitchen Hacks to Reduce Your Home’s Food Waste 

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