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Healthy Eating by Shelby Shelby

Ideas for Your Holiday Leftovers

            Leftover turkey and dressing are commonplace during the holidays, but after putting in so much hard work to prepare these dishes it’s a shame to see them go to waste. Instead of throwing away those turkey and dressing leftovers, try out these ideas to repurpose your favorites into a new dish.

            Leftover turkey is a great lean meat to include in healthy meals. Throw turkey into any meal where you usually use chicken: turkey noodle soup, turkey and rice casserole, or even on top of a garden salad. Leftover turkey is also a great alternative to high sodium deli meat. Add your leftover turkey (and a little cranberry sauce) to a sandwich for a low sodium, tasty lunch option. If you don’t plan to finish your turkey right away, go ahead and freeze it for healthy meals in the New Year. Frozen cooked turkey lasts well in the freezer for 2 to 6 months. Use up your frozen turkey just as mentioned above.

            While dressing is undoubtedly a staple of Thanksgiving meals, leftover dressing is one of the most commonly wasted items. While it is a little harder to repurpose dressing, a little creativity can help you use it all up. Dressing is a great base for a casserole. Mix together leftover dressing, cheese, meat, vegetables and extra broth if needed and add the mixture into an oven safe dish. Bake until the casserole reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. To make this casserole a MyPlate meal for your family just add fruit and milk on the side. You can also convert your leftover dressing into savory muffins. Just divide leftover dressing into a muffin tin and cook until browned and crispy. Serve these savory muffins with breakfast or as a grain option at dinner. Freeze whatever you don’t finish. Another creative way to repurpose is to add leftover dressing to meatballs instead of bread crumbs. Think about how tasty those meatballs with be!

Try out these tips to avoid food waste this holiday season and share with us ways you like to repurpose your holiday leftovers.


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