Holiday Leftover Ideas
by Rachel Paxton
The holidays are a time for friends and family and good old-fashioned home cooking. Who can resist the tempting smells coming from the kitchen at this most favorite time of year? Holiday dinners were among my favorite, most memorable meals as a child. Our family shared our holiday meals with different relatives each year, but wherever we were and whoever we were with, we always knew to expect good food and enjoyable family gatherings that we would remember for months to come.
When I was a child, it was always a tradition in our family to have turkey for Thanksgiving and ham for Christmas. We would also always enjoy mounds of creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams with lots of butter, brown sugar, and melted marshmallows, and I could always count on sampling my dad's famous fruit salad. He would meticulously cut each fruit into bite-size pieces (apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, and raisins), and mix it all together with a generous portion of homemade whipped cream. Homemade cranberry sauce was also always a special holiday treat.
Now that I'm married we have even more family to share our holiday meals with. With so much family, though, we rarely get to host dinner at our house. It's always nice to go to someone else's house to eat, but then we don't get any of the leftovers! We usually end up taking advantage of the holiday sales at the supermarket though, and then we can have our own little feast. I've had a lot of fun over the years devising ways to use up the leftovers from our own holiday meals--and I'd like to share some of my favorite recipes with you.
Turkey and Rice Soup
- 2 1/2 cups turkey, cooked and diced
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 6-ounce box long-grained rice
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, grated
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients with 6 cups of water. Simmer, covered, until rice is cooked, approximately 30 minutes. Great with fresh bread.
- 8 oz. spaghetti or other pasta
- 1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
- 3/4 c. grated mild cheddar cheese
- 2 c. leftover cooked, diced turkey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional - diced celery and/or diced onion to your taste
Prepare soup as directed. Prepare spaghetti as directed then drain. Combine spaghetti, soup and remaining ingredients. Stir until cheese melts. Serve and enjoy!
Mashed Potatoes and Ham Bake
- 2 cups mashed potatoes
- 2 tablespoons mustard
- 2 cups ham, cubed
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, mix mashed potatoes and mustard. Spread potato mixture in the bottom of a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Arrange ham on top of potatoes. In a small bowl, mix cottage cheese and cheddar cheese. Spread over ham. Bake until mixture is heated through, about 30 minutes.
Chopped Ham Sandwiches
- 2 lb. leftover ham, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 c. ketchup
- 1/4 c. vinegar
- 1 c. water
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Fry ham in a skillet and sprinkle flour over it. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour and serve on toast or hamburger buns. Makes 15 to 20 sandwiches.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of five. For recipes, cleaning tips, gardening, frugal living, holiday hints, and more, visit her site and sign up for her weekly newsletter at www.creativehomemaking.com
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!
More Money-Saving Tips for Families
- Snap up these 9 deals in August
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- How your family can make a difference on $5 or less
- The perks of part-time work
- Modeling impulse control for your children
- Business ideas for kids
- This week's Readers' Tips