Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Leftovers - A Holiday Gift That Keeps on Giving

With the Holidays quickly approaching everyone is gearing up for some good home cooked meals. Sometimes the second night is better than the first when leftovers are involved. Who doesn't love a turkey sandwich the next day after the big Thanksgiving meal?

In our family we break out the turkey sandwiches that night, after our Thanksgiving dinner because we can't wait for the next day! Holiday leftovers are the best by themselves or used to make up another everyday meal for our family. Nothing goes to waste in our household during the holidays and every one's jeans seem to fit a little bit tighter by the New Year. Here are a few soul warming food recipes and some leftover ideas for your family that will keep their mouths watering through the cold winter months.

Leftover Recipes

Here are my favorite leftover recipes that I love from Thanksgiving and Christmas food leftovers. I hope you will at least like one of them or maybe all of them and try something new this year.

Thanksgiving dinner
Turkey leftovers that make you go Yummmmm.
Turkey Leftovers -- Turkey Pasta Salad

Cubed turkey leftovers
1 box of (14.5oz) uncooked rotini pasta
2 cups of fresh broccoli florets
1 cup of raw zucchini, chopped
1 medium stalk of celery, chopped
1/2 cup of almonds 

Use 1 1/2 cups of your favorite dressing or whatever you happen to have in the fridge or cupboard. I have used Ranch, Cesar, Poppy Seed or Italian Cheese Dressing in the past and they have all turned out great.  

Cook pasta as directed on the package, omitting salt for a healthier salad, and add broccoli for the last 2 minutes of cooking. Next drain the pasta and broccoli, rinse with cold water to cool, and then drain it again.
In a large bowl mix the turkey, pasta, broccoli, zucchini, and celery. Next add your favorite dressing and top with almonds. Now enjoy an easy pasta leftover turkey meal.

Yam Leftovers -- Candied Yam Muffins

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups mashed, cooked yams
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

All ingredients should be at room temperature. Cream butter, sugar and yams until smooth. Add eggs. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add milk slowly while stirring. Fold in nuts. Fill muffin tins, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Ham/Scalloped Potatoes/Corn leftovers -- Ham Casserole 

This is the easiest leftover of them all and it tastes so good. My Mom usually has this about the 4th day after Christmas when everything else has been picked through. All you do is take all your leftover Ham, scalloped potatoes, and corn and mix it in a deep dish pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. You can even add a cup of shredded cheese for some extra pizazz.  

Mashed Potato Leftovers -- Mashed Potato Patties

4 cups of leftover mashed potatoes
1 onion, diced
1 egg
1 cup of cheese, grated
Salt and pepper

Combine mashed potatoes, onion, egg, and cheese. Shape into large size balls. Roll in flour and flatten into patties. Melt butter in frying pan and brown about 5 minutes on each side. Salt and pepper to taste.

Here are some helpful websites that also have great leftover ideas that you might like.  
All Recipes
Left Over Chef
Top 10 Best Leftover Recipes
Rethinking Thanksgiving Leftovers 
Closet Cooking Top 10 Recipes

I think what makes leftovers better year after year is simply using your imagination. You can't go wrong with what is in your fridge; you already ate it once and liked it the first time, so it's sure to be a winner once you jazz it up! Who knows, maybe you will come up with a meal that makes it to the first night instead of the second. Share your favorite leftover recipes in our comments section!

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer

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