3 Fresh Takes on Holiday Leftovers

Try these easy, tasty ways to give your surplus feast new meaning.

Posted in , Nov 17, 2021

Turkey chili

There are as many ways to do holiday leftovers as there are to do holiday meals. From grain bowls to chili to sandwiches or soups, the delights of the holiday table are seemingly endless.

But what if you want to lighten up your leftovers, see them in a new way? Here are three ideas for fresh takes:

1)  Give Them Away
A local shelter or soup kitchen might be open to receiving a large pan of, say, dressing or leftover sweet potatoes. In my town, there’s an “Everything Is Free” page on Facebook where people offer all sorts of things they want to give to someone who wants or needs it. Why not offer your leftovers to a neighbor who would delight in receiving a plate of holiday cheer fresh from your table?

2)  Freeze Them for Later
We all know winter is coming—“real” winter, when festive meals aren’t on the weekly agenda. Holiday favorites like cranberry sauce, soup or casseroles freeze beautifully, and can quickly elevate a weeknight dinner to a meal fragrant with warm holiday memories.

3)  Double Down on Gratitude
The holiday season is, perhaps above all things, an opportunity to express gratitude for the gifts and blessings in our lives. Instead of stressing out over, “oh, great—turkey again?” why not re-frame the “problem” of leftovers as an invitation to extend our thankfulness for a few extra days? 

Share your gratitude with loved ones whose recipes, tableware and presence made your holiday meal special. Remember traditions that were passed to you through the generations. And as you tuck into your leftovers, be sure to feast on gratitude as well as green beans and mashed potatoes.

What are some inspiring ways you think about leftover holiday foods?

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