There are only a couple of things better than a big family dinner: a big holiday family dinner is one of them, featuring a roast and everyone’s favorite side dishes. And there’s only one thing better than a big holiday family dinner: eating the leftovers!
According to blogger and cookbook author Stephanie Le, leftovers are at their best when you can take them and totally transform them into something new, a theme that’s demonstrated in her new book Easy Gourmet: Awesome Recipes Anyone Can Cook. A number of the recipes in her book call for ingredients that are likely to be kicking around your fridge after a traditional holiday meal. Whether you need to use up a leftover ingredient like fresh herbs or extras from a full-blown main or side dish like a pork roast, the odds are good you can find an easy-to-make, gourmet recipe in this cookbook to help you use them up.
So, how do you actually utilize last night’s dinner the next morning? Here are a few clever ideas for some common leftovers.
Kale, spinach, collard greens, and Swiss chard all hold up to cooking (and re-cooking) well. Stephanie’s recipe for coddled eggs calls for fresh spinach, cooked until it’s slightly wilted. If you don’t have raw spinach on hand but have leftover cooked collard greens or Swiss chard, you can use them in the recipe instead — it will even save you the step of cooking the greens down until they’re wilted.
Click here to see Stephanie’s Coddled Egg recipe.
Roasted Root Vegetables
One of my favorite ways to use leftover roasted carrots or sweet potatoes is to mash them up and add them to cooked oatmeal. Then, sweeten the oatmeal with some maple syrup and sprinkle it with a little bit of cinnamon for a delicious spin on a healthy breakfast.
You can also cut roasted root vegetables into small pieces and toss them into omelettes, frittatas, or a quiche.
Click here for some of our favorite egg recipes.
If you like sweet and salty flavor combinations, consider making pancakes for breakfast the next morning. Stephanie’s pancake recipe calls for pulled pork and bourbon syrup but you could easily use shredded roast turkey or cubes of oven-baked ham. Just about any meat you have on hand will taste amazing on top of these fluffy, bourbon-drenched pancakes.
Click here to see Stephanie’s Pulled Pork Pancakes recipe.
Use up leftover stuffing (and potatoes) by making a quick breakfast hash. Top the hash with eggs for a hearty breakfast.
Click here for our Stuffing Hash and Eggs recipe.
It’s hard to believe these savory waffles are made with leftover mashed potatoes, but mashed potatoes can easily be used as the base of a number of dishes. Here, they’re transformed into waffles that are golden brown and crispy on the outside, and that have tons of flavor from the addition of bacon and green onions to the batter. As Stephanie Le says, “leftover mashed potatoes always lead to good things.”
Click here to see Stephanie’s Potato Waffles recipe.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.