What To Do With Your Holiday Leftovers + 21 Recipes
The holiday season often means more time with loved ones and many delicious meals.
But it also likely comes with more leftovers than you know what to do with and the consequences of over-indulgence.
Thankfully, we have solutions to both of those possible problems!
First, if you feel bloated and more tired than normal, then you might have over-indulged (you are not alone here!).
Your instinct might be to eat much lighter for a few days, but that might not be the best option.
Eating normally, maybe mixing in some detoxing meals , will fuel your metabolism and help to regulate blood sugar, insulin levels, and hunger hormones.
If you need help or tips for reducing bloat and getting back on schedule after the holidays, check out this Post-Thanksgiving Survival Guide , which also works for other holidays, such as Christmas and New Year.
Next, you need to figure out what to do with your leftovers. Don’t throw them away, but reuse them to create delicious meals that save you space, time, money, and food, or find other uses!
Consider giving items like desserts, snacks, muffins, and more away. Send guests home with little goodie bags or find shelters that are taking food. Be sure to store them in airtight containers and in the fridge or freezer, if necessary.
You can also consider making pet treats, adding certain foods to your dog’s meals, or composting your leftovers.
Just be sure you’re not giving your pets harmful foods. Here’s a good list of People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets , but also take precautions by consulting with your vet!
My favorite way to reuse leftover holiday foods is by trying new recipes. Here are a few of my favorites:
You can elevate almost any breakfast by adding shredded leftover turkey or chicken and leftover veggies to your eggs.
If you don’t have ground turkey, add whatever you do have to this scramble for a perfect meal-prepped breakfast meal! It’s packed with protein and lasts 3-4 days in the fridge.
This recipe calls for sliced ham or deli-roasted turkey breast, but you can substitute that with leftover turkey, ham, or chicken.
Just cut it into thin pieces and use it as you would’ve used the deli meat!
Like the previous recipe, this one is great for leftovers by replacing the deli meat the recipe lists with whatever leftover protein you have from the holidays.
And, honestly, these wraps make a satisfying meal all day, not only for breakfast!
Turkey doesn’t have to be ground to work in this casserole.
It’s full of our favorite things, baked together to make a delicious morning breakfast idea… If you still have people at the house, this is wonderful for feeding a crowd!
Mix this flavorful frittata by including whatever leftover veggies and meat you have.
The tastiness of Christmas dinner will continue in your morning meals! Prep ahead to have breakfasts for the whole week.
This tasty breakfast loaded with protein and nutrients is great for mornings after a big meal!
It’s fun and easy to make, so consider having your kids join you in the kitchen. Children are more likely to eat healthy if they’re part of the cooking process !
Soup and Salads
Salads are some of my favorite meals and a go-to after Holidays. This one is even more perfect because any leftover turkey can create a delicious flavor combination!
It doesn’t get quicker and easier than this!
Grab your ingredients out of the fridge, whisk your simple dressing right into the bottom of a big ole salad bowl, pile in your ingredients, toss everything well, and dive in.
It’s really that simple.
Make extra use of the leftover turkey by doing some prepping! That way, you have delicious meals like these salads for several days.
Soup is probably my most favorite way to use leftovers because it’s easy, versatile, affordable, nutritious, and comforting.
Not to mention delicious. This soup, in particular, is an EXCELLENT way to save money while creating another meal from a previous one.
This works very well with a turkey carcass too!
The flavor combination, high protein, and nutritious veggies make this a soup you’ll love feeding your whole family! It stays refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
This lemon ginger soup is tangy and fresh-tasting, which is unexpected and SO appreciated throughout the colder months!
Also, ginger’s many benefits include helping fight nausea and indigestion, soothing muscles and arthritis pain, being linked with lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and being good for your brain.
Another excellent option for any leftover chicken you may have! I’m sure we could all detox after the holidays, which is terrific for a full body cleanse and reducing inflammation.
Packed with protein and veggies for a nutrient-dense soup for those cold days ahead. It’s EXCELLENT for cleaning out the fridge and using any veggies you may have.
Wraps, Burritos, and Casseroles
I love big sandwiches with sliced bread as much as the next gal… but some days, I want a lower carbohydrate option, especially after the indulgence of the holidays.
This is perfect for that!
Use whatever chicken and veggies you have on hand for a delicious, bubbly casserole that’s filling and cozy, especially throughout the colder months.
This recipe is perfect for helping stretch the family dinner budget while filling up those bellies with fresh, whole-food ingredients you carefully choose.
Here’s a simple meal idea for any time of the day, both lunch and dinner.
It’s a SUPER quick, protein-packed cobb “salad” wrap recipe to use up any leftover roasted chicken or turkey.
These burrito bowls are great for meal planning and for days when you don’t have enough time to spend hours in the kitchen cooking.
With a crockpot, you can throw everything together in the morning, let it simmer all day, and then return to a meal ready to be enjoyed!
I LOVE lettuce wraps, especially for the days after huge holiday meals. They’re full of flavor and protein while being a bit lighter on calories and carbohydrates.
Need a tasty and quick lunch on the go? You will love these turkey ranch club wraps! You can also substitute the turkey with chicken if that’s what you have in your fridge.
With only a few basic ingredients, you can create something super crave-worthy, and your family will think you put in way more effort than you did!
Also, quinoa contains several vital minerals – including magnesium, iron, and zinc – and may help lower blood sugar levels, so the recipe has several pros!
Turns out just as great using turkey instead of chicken.
I love every single one of these meals. Pick your favorite, or get creative with your leftovers to make something you’ll LOVE!
But when using leftovers, always remember Safety First . Most foods will stay fresh for up to seven days, but throw it out if it looks or smells even a little funky!
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite way to use leftovers is!
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