Re-inventing Holiday Leftovers

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Photo courtesy of Carlos Porto at freedigitalphotos.net

A few days ago on Thanksgiving I spent time with my boyfriend’s family for the day. It was a wonderful afternoon with good company and lots of food. Though we were only four there was so much food that between my family’s Thanksgiving and theirs we’ll have leftovers for two or three weeks.

Since my family hates to waste food, this time of  the year has always proved to be creative with transforming thanksgiving leftovers into two or three different meals. We then have to freeze the rest of it.

Today I’ll share with you some of the ways you and your family can waste less this year through re-inventing holiday leftovers! This will also prove to be a great teaching moment for young kids about the importance of wasting less and helping their parents in the kitchen.

1.) Hot Turkey Sandwich: Homemade gravy, turkey, peas, and carrots mixed together and ladled over an open faced sandwich. This quick meal was one of my favorites growing up because it was similar to a chicken pot pie. Which brings me to my next idea.

2.) Chicken Pot Pie: If your feeling creative you can make a chicken or turkey pot pie and throw in leftover veggies. Add in some potatoes and your all set.

3.) Homemade Stock: Not wanting to waste even the bones of a Thanksgiving turkey or chicken I made my own stock this year with carrots and celery. Freeze the rest and you’ll have stock for meals months after the holidays are over.

4.) Turkey Cranberry Wrap: Before I went to collage I never thought of this possibility, but it’s a delicious one. Take a tortilla wrap and place slices of turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and spinach leaves in it. Roll it up with some mayo or mustard and your finished.

5.) Meat Stew: Make stew with leftover veggies, potatoes, and meat either turkey, chicken, or lamb.

6.) Potato Latkes: And here’s another idea. Take those mashed potatoes and turn them into Potato pancakes with homemade applesauce.

These are just six of the ways you and your family can get to transform holiday leftovers. There are many other ways that would work and incorporate cultural foods as well.

Get cooking this holiday season! And if your stumped as to how to get your kids involved visit some of my past blog articles such as Kids Kitchen: Tasks for Every Age

 

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Initiatives to Stop Food Waste

In the last post we talked about what food waste is. Today we will talk about some of the government’s initiatives intended to stop food waste.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) partnered with the USDA in 2013 to launch the Food Waste Challenge to cut food waste in half by 2030. As part of this initiative the EPA created a Food Recovery Hierarchy  in order to reduce food waste from the most preferred method to the least preferred method. Below is a picture of that model that came from the EPA website. www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-hierarchy

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From the info-graphic above we can see that the most preferred method of food reduction is reducing the amount of waste period. This includes being aware of how much we put on our plates, what we buy in the grocery store etc.

The least preferred method is discarding food waste in a landfill which can increase greenhouse gases in the environment.

As the consumers we can help reduce waste at any part of the food hierarchy.

Re-fed Solutions to Food Waste

In addition to the government initiatives, there are also the initiatives put forth by non-profits. Re-fed is one such non-profit that is sponsored by community, business, and government organizations committed to reducing food waste by 2030.

They have created a model similar to the Food Hierarchy known as the Road map to Reduce US Food Waste. This map can be downloaded from their website if you sign-up for their newsletter. The map is part of an economic based study and can be summarized in three parts.

1.) Prevention– Much like the EPA’s model prevention simply means diverting food from landfills. Making sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. Examples include, educating yourself, your children, and your families, buying only the essentials of what you really need, creating shopping lists, and not taking more than you will eat.

2.) Recovery– Re-distributing edible/extra food to those who need it. An example of recovery is gleaning, which is collecting excess foods from farms, gardens, markets, etc. for those who really need it. The Society of St. Andrew is one such non-profit that gleans food for distribution.

3.) Recycling – Reusing what you can or giving something old a new purpose. Examples included turning leftovers into more meals or composting. Although, composting is low on the Hierarchy it’s still better than a landfill.

To read more about Re-fed and the EPA follow the links or read more at WM Media Room.

Tune in the next few weeks and we’ll talk about 2 ways you can re-invent your holiday leftovers and get you back in the kitchen with your kids this season.