3 Easy Ways to Elevate Holiday Leftovers

How to turn sumptuous celebrations into gifts that keep on giving.

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Posted in , Dec 18, 2019

Holiday leftovers

“Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories,” said the English writer and historian Thomas Fuller, “stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart.”

Holiday meals are famous for their sumptuousness—and the glorious way their surpluses fill our bellies for days after the celebration. But after the sandwiches have been made and the repeat plates fixed, some of us might want to make new memories with favorite holiday foods. 

1) Make a Grain Bowl

The beauty of a grain bowl is that it’s a composed dish made up of small servings of several different foods, giving you a chance to dip back into a number of holiday favorites. Cubed meats or cheeses, chopped vegetables and cranberry or other sauces can be beautifully spooned over warmed leftover rice, lentils or anything else you have on hand including roasted potatoes. Take the opportunity to combine different temperatures (think cold cranberry sauce, warm green beans), and sprinkle some fresh lettuce or chopped cucumber into the mix for a fresh crunch.

2) Change the Flavor Profile

The savory flavors of the holiday table are generally earthy, starring thyme, sage and other warm herbs and spices. For a fresh take on leftovers, try to shift its flavor profile altogether. For example, try a stir-fry of leftover roasted meat and vegetables cooked in sesame oil with lots of garlic and soy sauce, and served tossed with noodles topped with toasted sesame seeds. Your holiday favorites will enjoy showing up to an entirely new party, and your taste buds will be rewarded with a rich and complex flavor experience! 

3) Put It on a Pizza

Who doesn’t love to make their own pizza? Most grocery stores stock fresh pizza dough you can easily roll out at home (frozen discs of dough work just as well). Heat your oven to the max, lay your dough onto a pizza stone or sheet pan lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal, pop open your holiday storage containers and get going! Try individual pizzas to let everyone make their own, and don’t forget to top the whole works with some shredded cheese that can melt everything together into a holiday-themed pizza party.

How do you elevate your holiday leftovers?

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