The Days After (What to do with Leftovers)


This week, I had plans to write an article on how to “detox” after the holidays, but I decided to go a different route. A more practical route, if you will. (Oh, but If you do want to know about detox, read here). 

Today, we will discuss the following: What to do with ALL THOSE DAMN LEFTOVERS!  No matter the holiday, every household always ends up with leftovers — cakes on Christmas, candy on Halloween, turducken (seriously, people?) on Thanksgiving, and hot dogs on July 4th.

And while leftovers are seen as mere annoyances —

“Mom, what are we having for dinner tonight?”

“Hot dogs, Jimmy.”

“AGAIN?!” (Jimmy rolls eyes and stomps off to room)  

— keep in mind the importance of reducing food waste. Yes, little Jimmy might not want to eat leftovers 4 nights in a row, but it’s better than throwing out a week’s worth of food over boredom.

And while that task might seem undoable, there are ways to spice up your leftovers, to make the most of your meals in healthy and exciting ways.  C’mon, chefs — challenge yourselves!

Read on for meal inspiration galore.

Leftover Challenge:


-Crumble up leftover patties and toss in a marinara sauce.  Use spaghetti squash in place of noodles for a low-carb, high fiber pasta dish.  

-Crumble up leftover patties and throw into a taco salad with avocado, tomato, and romaine.

Crumble up leftover patties, combine with olive oil and onions, stuff the mixture inside red and green bell peppers, and bake!


-Grill leftover triangles of watermelon, toss with chopped basil, and drizzle balsamic reduction on top for a fun watermelon “salad.”

Hot Dogs:

-Follow this recipe to make a “Chicago Dog Salad

-Make a stove-top breakfast hash using diced leftover hot dogs, chopped potatoes, onions, and olive oil.


-Follow this recipe to make a fresh, cold corn salsa recipe with leftover corn 

-Turn on the grill and prepare a fiery corn and bean salad for the family to share.

-Follow this recipe for a more decadent side: a Nantucket corn pudding!

For extra inspiration, watch an episode of Chopped. Seriously — those chefs will teach you how to make decadent dinners and desserts out of anything.

PS: What do you make with leftovers?  Sandwiches? Salads? Leave a comment!

Gigi Nally

1 Comment

  1. Robert walton on

    Those are some really great tips that I’ll have to try in the future. Unfortunately after our 4th of July barbeque for friends and family my wife decided that all the leftovers were no good so she threw them all in the garbage. There was probably enough stuff for at least a week’s worth of meals.