6 Ways to Make Holiday Leftovers Better Than Before
It turns out, making your leftovers even better is totally possible. Here’s how to make the flavors of your favorite holiday meal stand out when reheated or eaten for breakfast.
1. Heat your mashed potatoes up with aromatics.
The holidays are the perfect time to whip up your favorite mashed potatoes with aromatics, like chives, sage, and shallot, cooking them until the potatoes are creamy and warm but still hold their shape. While the mashed potatoes are heating, fry some eggs or an omelet or two. And don’t forget to serve the potatoes immediately with plenty of butter and sour cream.
2. Dump a couple of quarts of mulled wine into your stuffing.
During the holiday season, you’ll find yourself scrambling to make do with what’s on hand and using just about everything you can get your hands on. And a little mulled wine goes a long way in making your traditional stuffing recipe a little richer and sweeter. Toss two cups of mulled wine with a 20 percent meatball base in a slow cooker, stirring occasionally. Cook on low until heated through. Serve warm alongside your Thanksgiving meal.
3. Make a broth.
During the holidays, there are likely some leftover turkey bones and broth from the bird, and you can use those bones to make a delicious broth. Get a pot boiling over low heat, and add the bones from the turkey. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Then pour into a blender and puree with a bit of butter and a cup of red wine to create a rich broth that’s ready to go the next day.
4. Make gravy that goes beyond butter.
When you have some leftover turkey, you’re going to want to make the most of it. To make gravy that has a hint of fresh cranberry in it, use up any leftover turkey and broth to make a homemade gravy. Add half and half, a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch, enough turkey drippings to achieve the right thickness, and cook over low heat until thickened. Serve immediately over mashed potatoes.
5. Make a spread for pancakes or waffles.
To make a more interesting side, buttermilk-cured bacon becomes a delicious spread for homemade or store-bought pancakes or waffles. Chop up the bacon in 1/4-inch pieces and mix with cheddar cheese, scallions and chives for a decadent sandwich spread. If you have any leftover stuffing from your Thanksgiving meal, chop it up into 1/4-inch pieces, mix with egg, 1/2 cup melted butter, and then season to taste. With your favorite pancake recipe or waffle recipe, pour the batter into a greased pan. As the batter is cooking, spread the sauce over the pancakes and waffles, turning once to fully cover.
6. Grill up leftover side dishes.
You’ve probably already made a couple of batches of stuffing or pumpkin pie, but do you have any leftover sides? Turn those out and place them on a grill with a couple of inches of warm water for at least 15 minutes, so the veggies are tender. Grill a few cut-up turkey legs as well to add flavor and more protein to your meal.
Make sure all food is warmed back up to at least 165 degrees and then held at least above 140 degrees while serving.
Important food safety note: Do not put hot food in the refrigerator. It needs to cool down to room temperature (or left out 2 hours) before refrigeration.
Final Pro Tip, leftovers should be enjoyed within three or four days. Then, it’s time to discard.