Big celebrations in life often result in a refrigerator (or two) full of leftovers. This can lead to a juggle of transferring said leftovers to a freezer in an effort to save them for a little longer when there’s no way to eat it all before it goes bad. And after two years, what was once a leftover freezer bag of Aunt Rita’s casserole ends up in the trash with a bunch of other freezer bags that look like ice monsters.
While 40% of all food generated in the US ends up in a landfill, have no shame—it happens to the best of us. But this year, let’s vow to reduce post-secondary consumer food waste (which accounts for 4–10% of food waste nationally) with these three clever ways to create annual traditions that will make you look forward to eating your leftovers.
Post-Holiday Friendsgiving Parties
Plan a leftover potluck the day after a big holiday and invite friends and family that you didn’t get to see. Everyone brings leftovers from their celebrations and you get to try it all. This also can solve the logistical problems with in-laws.
Have a house full of people? Most savory leftovers can be easily refreshed for breakfast the next morning with little more than a couple eggs. To keep things simple, enjoy leftovers in a scramble, frittata, or strata. Go to the sweet side and indulge in dishes like rice and bread puddings by baking leftover grains or baked goods with eggs and sugar.
Prep for Life After the Party
Plan post-holiday menus before the big day. While turkey noodle soup might leave little to be desired, look for recipes that can easily use turkey in place of chicken, like spicy tortilla soup or Asian noodle bowls. A leftover hambone makes for a satisfying split pea soup and a lucky New Year’s Day tradition.
And there is nothing better than a classic sandwich layered with turkey, stuffing, cranberry, and smears of gravy on Black Friday. The key is to already have some recipes in mind and ingredients on hand so you aren't stuck trying to get creative in the midst of a holiday hangover.