Transforming holiday leftovers into mouthwatering meals

Gathering with friends and family for special meals is a beloved part of the fall and winter holidays. Spending time preparing dishes that everyone looks forward to somehow feels less like a chore and more like a tradition during this time of year. And, of course, you don’t want anyone to go away hungry, so the amount of food that comes out of your kitchen is usually nothing short of monumental.

Even if you send packages home with guests, it’s inevitable that you will have leftovers. You might even have enough for a few days’ worth of meals. But eating the same dishes day after day gets old quickly. Instead of letting your menu get stale, rethink the concept of leftovers. Rather than viewing leftovers as a finished dish, consider these foods as ingredients for delicious new entrees.

When you find yourself staring down a refrigerator full of holiday leftovers, use these tips to transform these dishes into new meals your family will love.

* The centerpiece of many of those holiday meals is often a turkey, and there’s nothing quite as lovely as a golden brown bird ready for carving. One simple tip can make your turkey taste better on the day of the celebration – and as leftovers. As you’re seasoning the turkey prior to roasting, spread on Hellmann’s(R) Real Mayonnaise for a juicy, crispy, flavorful meal.

* Mashed potatoes are a universally loved side dish during the holidays. They can warm up even the coldest days and make any meal more comforting. With the extra helpings left from your holiday-sized batch of mashers, make your own interpretation of shepherd’s pie. Mix the vegetables and meat of your choice with herbs, salt and pepper to taste before adding them to a baking dish or casserole. Top the mixture with mashed potatoes (and a few small dabs of butter), and bake until warmed through. If your potatoes have gotten a bit stiff, add a bit of cream or milk to soften them up.

* Whether you know it as “dressing” or “stuffing,” the dish is a staple of the cold weather holidays. Regional naming differences aside, it’s a versatile leftover that should be praised as much on the day after your celebration as the day of. These rich, herbal flavors pair exceptionally well with pork, so use it (or reuse it) to create delectable stuffed pork chops.

* The sweet-tart taste of cranberry relish is great with turkey, but you can also add it to sweeter dishes for a different spin. Get started the very next morning after your gathering by heating up a griddle for crepes or pancakes. Mash your cranberries to a more jam-like texture to use as a zingy topping on whichever kind of griddle cake you prefer.

Your loved ones will certainly appreciate your efforts to make the holidays delicious, but the praise will go even further when you test out tasty new recipes for leftovers. For more ideas, visit www.hellmanns.com, and get started by trying Hellmann’s(R) Turkey Casserole recipe.

Turkey Casserole

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients:
4 cups leftover prepared stuffing, divided
4 cups coarsely chopped leftover cooked turkey (about 1 pound)
3/4 cup Hellmann’s(R) or Best Foods(R) Real Mayonnaise, divided
1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 8-inch baking dish with no-stick cooking spray. Spoon in 2 cups stuffing, then top with turkey.

Combine 1/4 cup Hellmann’s(R) or Best Foods(R) Real Mayonnaise with cranberry sauce; evenly spread over turkey.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup Mayonnaise, potatoes and cheese in large bowl. Evenly spread on turkey, then top with remaining 2 cups stuffing.

Bake 40 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with dried cranberries.

Also terrific with Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise.

Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 680, calories from fat 350, saturated fat 9 grams, trans fat 0 grams, total fat 39 grams, cholesterol 100 grams, sodium 1330 grams, total carbohydrates 47 grams, sugars 7 grams, dietary fiber 5 grams, protein 35 grams, vitamin A 10 percent, vitamin C 8 percent, calcium 20 percent, iron 15 percent

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