Top 5 Uses for Holiday Leftovers

The holidays are awesome. Everybody makes their best dish, which usually leaves enough food left over for a small army. Rather than continuing to gorge yourself on reheated, plain-old leftovers, here are some ways to help gobble up what's left.

5. Make it with beans - Although this only really works for the meat (and best with ham), it's still a good way to get rid of leftovers. Soak your bean of choice overnight, rinse, toss in some water, cooked onion, a few bullion cubes, and your leftover diced ham or turkey in a crockpot, and by the time you get home at night you will have a pot full of gassy goodness. If using meat from a bone-in ham, put the bone in your pot while cooking as well.

4. Freeze it - Most meat can be frozen for a couple of months without freezer burn for later use in stews and casseroles. Certain sides (like mac and cheese and some veggies) also tend to fare pretty well once reheated, although there is a definite mush factor involved.

3. Pot pies - Nothing beats the (sometimes) cold weather like a steamy, warm pot pie. There are fancier ways to make a pot pie, but in this case, the simplest things tend to work best. Pot pies can usually be made with things you have in the freezer or pantry, with about 20 minutes or less prep time. Make a crust of your choice (enough for a double crust) or cheat with a refrigerated crust, press half into the bottom and sides of a pie or casserole pan. Mix together a can of cream of mushroom, about a cup each of frozen mixed veggies and cubed leftover meat, plus a little of your favorite seasonings, and add to the pie. Top with the second crust, cut a couple of slits in the top for ventilation, and bake at 350 for about an hour.

2. Sandwiches - There is something glorious about a leftover sandwich. Sliced turkey with pesto and caramelized onions and mayo... Ham and turkey with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. Toss on some cheese and toast it all together, and it's heaven in a bun.

1. Take it to work - When all else fails, and the possibility of you finishing half a turkey's worth of leftover seems grim, bring it to someone else to eat. Think of it as a leftover potluck - someone is bound to not be able to pass up free food.

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Becky Means