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Green Holiday Ideas: Reserving Christmas & Thanksgiving Leftovers

Green ideas for how to reuse leftover Holiday food this Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter. Creative ways to reserve leftovers, conserve food, & save money. 


There are a variety of ways to be green this holiday season, from using energy efficient Christmas tree lights to using natural foliage instead of plastic versions in holiday decor. Another way to reduce your holiday waste is to not throw away your holiday dinner leftovers.

Green Holiday Ideas: Reserving Christmas and Thanksgiving Leftovers

The holidays, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and even Easter can often mean an abundance of food. After weeks of cookies, work parties, family gatherings, and other holiday festivities that include holiday eating, we can be tempted to toss out our holiday leftovers.

This holiday season, save money and eat well by reusing your leftover holiday foods such as ham, gravy, potatoes, dinner rolls, or leftover roast vegetables.

Listed before are several ideas on how to reuse and reserve your holiday leftovers into tasty meal ideas.


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Reserving Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter Leftovers such as Ham, Turkey, & Gravy

Leftover holiday meats such as ham or turkey can be used in a plethora of tasty dishes.

Cut up leftover ham and use the pieces in a tasty quiche or omelet. You also might consider using ham in a tasty ham and pea soup.

Use your leftover turkey and gravy to make a savory meat pie. A meat pie is simple. Just make a basic pasty recipe for two crusts, one for the top and one for the bottom of the pie. Fill the pie with cut up turkey, mixed vegetables, and gravy. Turkey also goes well in turkey noodle soup or with homemade dumplings. Diced turkey is also tasty added to your favorite curry recipe.

Don’t throw away your leftover turkey carcass either. Boil the carcass up with a few carrots and sticks of celery to make your own cheep broth. Strain the broth when finished cooking and freeze for later use. Turkey stock is useful all year round in making delicious soups or for sautéing foods.

If you do not feel like eating the meat right away, cut up and freeze for later use. Diced Ham can be a tasty addition to other recipes or family meals such as salads, baked potatoes, scallop potatoes, scrambled eggs, and others. Just take out the portions of frozen diced meat later when ready to use.

Reusing Holiday Vegetables such as Mashed potatoes and Bread

Leftover holiday vegetables can also be converted into tasty meals. Consider using leftover mashed potatoes when making a shepherd’s pie. There are a variety of recipes for both vegetarian shepherd’s pie and meat versions of this traditional English casserole. Another English recipe that uses mashed potatoes is called sausages and mash. This is basically cooked sausages baked with mashed potatoes. This is also a tasty recipe using leftover mashed potatoes that is worth looking into for a creative way to reserve leftover mashed potatoes.

Vegan shepherd's pie - Reserving Christmas and Thanksgiving Leftovers
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie (Reserving Christmas and Thanksgiving Leftovers)

You also could use leftover mashed potatoes in fish cakes. Many recipes for tuna cakes, salmon cakes, and crab cakes, require mashed potatoes. Find a recipe that piques your taste buds.

Mashed potato can also be used in recipes for potato bread. Make a tasty loaf of potato bread and serve it as a side with a potato soup or blended harvest vegetable soup, both of which also use leftover mashed potatoes.

You also can reuse leftover holiday rolls or bread that you do not think you will be able to eat or don’t want to freeze. Make rolls or bread into croutons. You also can turn stale bread into breadcrumbs which are useful in many recipes.

Other Ideas for Using Holiday Thanksgiving Leftovers

Remember, you can always freeze leftovers for later use. If you have any baked or canned goods you do not think you are going to be able to use, donate them a local non-profit organization or low-income assistance center. Many schools or churches also collect canned food around the Christmas season.

For food you really can’t use, start a compost pile in your backyard. A compost pile creates healthy soil, useful in gardening. Composting organic materials also reduce the amount of trash you produce each week.

You also can reduce the number of holiday leftovers you have by cooking only what you and your family really need. Over the holidays there is a tendency to bake or cook excessive amounts of food. Be realistic about what you and your family can eat and cook only as much, or a little over what you really need.

Cooking a little less over the Holidays can have other benefits. You will save money on food, first of all. Additionally, the less time you spend in the kitchen means more time you can spend with family and friends, which is what the holidays are really all about. Also, having less baked goods and other tempting treats around the house can also help you and your family be healthier and avoid weight gain over the holiday season.

Reserving your Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers doesn’t only save the environment by promoting conservation of resources. Using your leftovers can also save you money, which over the holidays, is always a great idea.

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