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Look Forward to Leftovers With These Ideas

November 25, 2014

USDAgovSoldierMealIt’s the dreaded word – LEFTOVERS. Especially after the holidays there comes a point looking at one more bite of turkey or ham or leftovers of any kind is just unbearable. It doesn’t have to be this way! There’s recipes that use leftovers that are so good you’ll fix extra and hope for leftovers!

Leftover Christmas food can be used many ways. If you think about it how many recipes you see online or off call for a cup or two cups of diced ham or diced turkey – so you already have cooked ham and turkey – cube or dice it for a leftover meal that is as good as the original one!

One of my favorites is with leftover ham – unfortunately we seldom have enough leftovers! From many moons ago in a high school home ec class we learned to plan to use food without wasting. Leftovers in home ec were no more welcome than those at home, but after making ham croquettes it changed! I’ve since altered the idea to taste and dependent on how much leftovers I had.

In a 10 inch heavy skillet heat ¼ cup vegetable oil over medium heat. Peel and finely chop a medium onion and add to skillet, cooking until soft. Add three tablespoons flour and a cup of beef or chicken broth. Cook for 1 minute, stirring to insure a smooth, thick result. Combine 2 cups finely chopped ham, ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, ½ teaspoon dried thyme and a tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Mix this in with the broth mixture and put in a baking dish then in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool enough to shape. You can divide into 4 patties or make meatballs with them. Dip into a lightly beaten egg then bread crumbs and fry in oil over high heat until brown, about 3 minutes each side for patties. You can add to this also a cup or so of leftover stuffing you didn’t want to toss out, and I have even used leftover mashed potatoes in the mix. You can also add a little mustard, or garlic powder to the ham mixture. This also can easily be doubled!

Diced ham or turkey and small amounts of vegetables can also be used in macaroni and cheese, or mixed with diced potatoes and eggs for the morning after breakfast. Steam rice or make up pasta then add diced leftovers and cheese. These principles also work on any leftovers all year ’round. It makes use of a cup or two of leftovers, or leftover ham or turkey. Add diced turkey to chili or for a larger amount make sloppy joes with diced turkey. You can even plan for this when clearing the table – when bagging up leftovers dice the meats in 2 cup bags, put a couple in the refrigerator and the others in the freezer. You then have pre-measured precooked meat to pull out for breakfast or casseroles any time. Have a clean, washed out ice cream bucket in the freezer and that odd half cup or cup of vegetables goes in there. When it adds up make a casserole with it or stick in the crockpot for “whatever stew”.

Leftovers don’t have to be a bad word. It doesn’t have to mean groans of “turkey AGAIN” for a week afterwards. Enjoy leftovers! They save you time and money!


  • These leftovers meals make use of leftovers from an economy and timesaving standpoint.
  • Instead of leftovers think timesavers – precooked!
  • Casseroles, breakfast and many other ways to use leftovers.
Did you know…If you save a half cup of leftovers per meal six days per week that’s six cups per week. Think vegetable pasta soup – free lunch, or free meal the 7th day.


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