Repurposing food instead of tossing it in the trash after a couple of days is better for the environment and also provides an opportunity to teach your children about the importance of avoiding food waste. Use this as an occasion to model how to be an eco-friendly eater for your children! Here are some Thanksgiving leftover ideas to help you get started with repurposing those tasty dishes.
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Adding unique spices and sauces to leftovers can create fabulous new flavor combinations, and make those leftovers feel like entirely new dishes. Think curry paste, pesto, peanut sauce, or your favorite herbs and spices.
For a twist to your traditional nachos, use leftover sweet potatoes to make nutrient-packed nachos. Slice leftover baked sweet potatoes into coins, rub with olive oil, roast until crisp, then top with leftover turkey and beans, cheese, avocado, cilantro, or your other favorite nacho toppings. You’ll pack in the fiber and keep your taste buds happy!
Salads are an easy and versatile way to transform those leftovers into something new and fresh. Mix your favorite greens with a scoop or two of leftovers, top with your favorite dressing, and voila – you have lunch or dinner ready to go!
TIP: Making your own salad dressing is also a fun activity to do with your child! Try this delicious Lemony Herb Salad Dressing recipe. Find more ideas in my new plant-based cookbook.
Leftover bread rolls can be repurposed into tons of other meals! Then use your leftover rolls for small burger buns, to make mini sandwiches, or transform them into French toast, bread pudding, or croutons. You can also pop your rolls into the freezer for use later.
While you may enjoy those leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes day, after day…after day, if you feel like mixing it up, potatoes can be repurposed into TONS of other dishes! Here are a few Thanksgiving leftover ideas for potatoes:
Casseroles are another great way to create new flavor and texture combinations with that leftover food. Simply layer a few (or more!) of your leftover dishes in an oiled casserole pan, then bake at 375 °F for about 35 to 45 minutes.
In addition to salads, soups are another great way to use up leftovers, especially turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or other roasted vegetables. Plus, soup is also the perfect way to take the chill off of those cold November evenings. The Cuisinart Smart Stick* is great for pureeing and creating a creamy-like consistency if desired.
Try these creative ways to use your leftover cranberry sauce:
Rolls aren’t the only thing you can freeze. If you’re overwhelmed by how many leftovers you have, you can toss them in the freezer for use later. Make sure to squeeze all the extra air out to prevent freezer burn. Then label and date them, and enjoy the defrosted frozen rolls at another time when your taste buds aren’t sick of days of leftovers!
Scoop out the pumpkin from the crust, and make a bowl with Greek yogurt and walnuts. If you’re a smoothie lover, mix the scooped-out pumpkin pie with almond milk, Greek yogurt, and ½ a banana for a creamy and sweet snack or dessert. You can also try one of Super Crew kid Andy’s favorites – a pumpkin smoothie.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, you can start to plan ahead to make sure none of your food goes to waste! Choose one or two of these new Thanksgiving leftover ideas to keep your taste buds happy, to eat nutritiously, and to have fun being creative in the kitchen for the start of the holiday season!
To keep the Thanksgiving cooking inspiration alive, check out my new kids’ breakfast cookbook and have fun cooking with the kids.
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