Tis the season for holiday celebrations, reconnecting with old friends and family, and of course, eating! With the abundance of food that will grace our tables over the next month also comes an abundance of leftovers, and for many, panic over what to do with all of the food that remains in our refrigerator once our friends and family leave.
4 Things to Do With Your Holiday Leftovers
If this sounds like you, here are four options for you to consider:
1. Prevention is the best medicine!
Nip this problem in the bud by preventing the leftover overload before it even occurs.
If you’re playing the role of host this holiday season, shorten your to-do list by sharing the role of head chef! Instead of single-handedly preparing your holiday feast, ask each party attending to bring a dish to share—a dish they will presumably take back home with them. This can be a fun way to try new dishes and create a diverse display of goodies without spending all of the time and money to do it yourself.
Alternatively, if you have a menu planned, consider assigning specific dishes or recipes to your guests to prepare. This will also help to prevent guests from making unsolicited food contributions, which will only add to your leftover load.
Save yourself some time, money, and stress this season by dividing and conquering your holiday meal!
If you do choose to make the entire meal, remember to keep it simple. You can prevent leftover overload by avoiding over preparation.
Of course you want enough food to feed your guests, but at the end of the day no one is going to care if there was only one type of potato instead of two, or two types of desserts instead of four, they are going to remember the conversations they had and memories they made with those they love.
So simplify, simplify, simplify.
2. Take it to-go!
Whether everyone is contributing something to the meal or you are making it all yourself, having guests come prepared with reusable containers is a great way to allow everyone a second opportunity to enjoy their favorite holiday dishes (and help with clean-up at the same time)!
Ask all of your guests to bring 2-3 containers in which they can pack up leftovers at the end of the meal. Or, instead of discarding all of those plastic carryout containers and yogurt tubs throughout the year, save them for occasions such as this!
Either way, your guests will not only go home with a tasty meal, but a delicious reminder of a wonderful holiday spent in the company family and friends.
3. Save it for later
If options 1 and 2 are out, or you are still left with more food than you know what to do with – save it for later. Take some of those reusable containers, scoop in single portions of your favorite foods to make individual meals, and pop those babies in the freezer for a later date.
The next time you get home late from work or miss a trip to the grocery store, you’ll love that instead of picking up the phone to order delivery, you can pull out a delicious, home cooked meal that will be ready to eat in a matter of minutes.
4. Toss them out
The most controversial option of all, but still an important one nonetheless.
If you can’t bear to take another bite of stuffing or you find yourself digging into the leftover pie just because it’s there, remember that you can throw these foods away!
Meals are meant to be enjoyed, so if you aren’t enjoying these foods anymore, why hang on to them? These foods served their purpose – they provided you, your family, and your friends a tasty and memorable holiday meal. Savor the memories of that day, and that experience, and look forward to repeating it again next year.
But, don’t turn your holiday meal into a burden, or an occasion to dread, by forcing yourself to finish unwanted leftovers. You may even find the act of tossing out unwanted food empowering, demonstrating that you are in charge of your food, it is not in charge of you.
Try one or more of these options this holiday season and you may be surprised how a simple strategy can make all the difference in preventing the ‘leftovers overload’! Do you have any go-to ways to deal with leftovers?