Leftovers Can Actually Be A Reason For Entertaining

Leftovers are usually a problem for many people, but they're a bigger problem during the holidays when there seem to be multiple gatherings full of food but limited refrigerator space. There are many ways to use up leftovers, from freezing them to bringing them to work for lunch -– just don't be that person who warms up fish in the communal microwave! An idea suggested by Choose to Reuse in Hennepin County, Minnesota, involves swapping leftovers with a group of friends for a change, saying the swap is "a useful crowdsourcing hobby" that can bring some variety to dinnertimes. 

Leftovers can be a boon, though, when you have a free evening and need to think of something for dinner. Some people are satisfied with just warming up whatever is leftover; they don't mind three nights in a row of a full plate of Thanksgiving food. Others quickly grow bored of the repetition and come up with super creative ways to use up their leftovers, like a Thanksgiving leftovers pizza. A quick Google search for your specific leftover, like leftover rotisserie chicken or leftover mashed potatoes, can give you a shot of much-needed enthusiasm for dinner instead of saying "macaroni and cheese, again?" to your partner or roommate.

The tried and true veggie tray appetizer is the perfect leftover

If you're hosting plenty of gatherings this holiday season, you probably have the appetizer staple veggie or crudité board. Save those leftovers, though, because the veggies are the perfect canvas for a stir-fry. Advocated by Missy Frederick, writing for Eater, it's become a coveted meal and "an amusing challenge to spike [her] creativity, and help ease [her] back into a regular cooking rhythm" after the holiday entertaining season. Veggie tray leftovers take a lot of the tedious prep work out of creating a stir fry -– the veggies are already chopped; you just need to combine them, a stir fry sauce, and either noodles or rice. A veggie tray stir fry is a no-recipe recipe, where you can throw anything in there and come out the other side with something delicious, but there are specific recipes you can follow if you have an abundance of bell peppers or broccoli left over, like steak stir fry or beef and broccoli. Don't be afraid of adding condiments like sambal, gochujang, or Thai chili sauce to amp up the flavors.

Leftovers are the perfect opportunity to spark some creativity and stretch your culinary muscles and abilities when you have limited ingredients -– you could even pretend you're on an episode of "Cutthroat Kitchen." And who knows, you may even find your new favorite dish hidden among all those leftovers.