September 7, 2020
Re-Think Your Holiday Leftovers
Holidays always leave us with a ton of leftovers. I guess when you feed a house full of guests, you just get left with a heap of food. It's not entirely a bad thing, but sometimes it's hard to feel all creative about food that you just spent twelve hours cooking. Well, it is time to regroup and recharge, and rethink the typical leftover redoes. How do you turn holiday leftovers into something fun and exciting to eat? Here are a few ideas to help you get started on the path to cleaning out your refrigerator without boring your family. Shift CulturesIf your holiday dinner was the classic American feast, your table was filled with turkey or ham or lamb or beef, green bean casserole, stuffing, bread, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, corn, cauliflower, and just about everything else imaginable. Instead of just reheating the same dinner over and over again in exactly the same ways, with exactly the same flavors, why not shift your culture a bit and try something a little more outside what you're familiar with.Chop up your ham or turkey and mix it with some mashed potatoes, wrap it in a little wonton and make your very own Polish perogies. Spice up your leftovers with classic Italian seasonings and recreate them into soups, salads, casseroles or salads with a Mediterranean flavor. Get out your soy sauce, sesame oil, and turn your leftovers into Asian inspired dishes. Squeeze some lime, chop cilantro, and grab the tequila to marinade your leftover turkey to use in a simple Mexican inspired wrap. Use leftover bread and make a wonderful bread pudding using English inspired recipes.Shift StatesIn order to get really creative with your leftovers, all you have to do is shift states. No, not continental states, but science states. Remember learning about solids, liquids, and gasses when you were in science class? Yes, those states. For instance, you can transform a solid ham bone into a delicious stock for a bean and zucchini soup. You can also use that stock to cook rice or steam some vegetables. Your once-solid ham bone has now been changed into a liquid and a gas...and it never tasted better. Don't forget the frozen state. Puree your cranberry orange relish in some orange juice and turn it into frozen treats or ice cubes for drinks.Or, if you want to get super creative, and you have some small children at home, you can combine flour and your leftover mashed potatoes to make a mashed potato play-dough. Not only is it fun to mold, it is absolutely non-toxic, and, yes, edible. It's one of those things that, although doesn't really get eaten, the leftovers are put to a good use; keeping the kids busy. So, once again you have shifted the state of your leftovers; this time from a food to a toy! Shift Your BeliefsWhen you have a bunch of leftover food, the only way to really enjoy it during the constant reappearances is to totally rethink what the food is. You have to forget that the potatoes are potatoes, for instance, and think instead that they are a thickening agent, or play-dough! Turkey can be pureed, too, and turned into a pate if you like, and even used to stuff deviled eggs.Even desserts can be rethought. If you are fortunate enough to have leftover pecan pie, think about scooping out the filling into a sauce pan and melting it down. Then whisk in a good balsamic vinaigrette and pour it hot over a spinach and bacon salad. All the ingredients are there; they just needed to be re-imagined.If you want to use up your leftovers quickly and creatively, all you need to do is think about where your food is and where it can go. Your leftovers may need some creative seasoning. They may need to be transformed into different physical states. Get creative, get cooking, and help your leftovers reinvent themselves!
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