The holiday season is full of traditions, not the least of which is the menu. With all the family gathering back around the table, perhaps even for the first time in a long time, the food is likely going to be top-notch and served in lawa pono (abundance). But with lots of food comes lots of leftovers too. And you don’t want all those ono grinds (good foods) to go to waste.
This year, the Salty Wahine ohana wants to help you make sure to get the most out of the delicious holiday feast you put a lot of time and effort into. As you know, our motto is “Making Eating Healthy AND Fun”. Well, this holiday season we also have another motto: “Making Reheating Healthy AND Fun!”
In this blog post, we’ll share the best tips and tricks for giving, storing, reheating, and repurposing your leftover holiday dinner, so you’ll never have to worry about throwing out tasty grinds (foods) ever again.
Get in the spirit of the season
One of the easiest ways to get rid of all the extra leftovers around your table is to send them on their way with your guests. As part of your preparation for your ohana holiday gathering, purchase some disposable food storage containers that you can dish up any remaining food into and hand off to family and friends on their way out the door. Even a disposable muffin tin can do the trick so you can send a portion of each dish home and pop it right back in the oven to be reheated.
Another idea is to take those full containers and give them to families or individuals in need. Or, if you have leftover unopened ingredients that you weren’t even able to make use of, consider donating them. Many local food pantries or non-profit charities take canned or boxed nonperishable goods, and some might even take fresh produce or uncooked proteins. We always donate to the Hawaii Food Bank with our extras.
Keep your leftovers for later
Of course, some of your leftovers are so good you want to just save them for yourself. After all, you put a lot of work into making those delectable meals; you might as well not cook for another week or two if you can help it! Here are a few tips to store your leftovers properly to make sure you get the most out of them safely.
Tips for the freezer
- Label the containers, so you know what leftovers you are grabbing.
- Put 1-2 servings of a dish into separate containers to make them easier to store and easier to reheat.
- Most leftovers in the freezer should be used up within 2-3 months for preserving optimal taste and flavor.
- When storing liquids, make sure you leave a little space at the top of the container for the liquid to expand.
- For cookies and pastries, put them in airtight containers with wax or parchment paper in between layers to prevent them from sticking together.
- Once something has thawed out, it cannot be re-frozen.
Tips for the refrigerator
- Store your leftovers within two hours of cooking them.
- Put small portions of leftovers in small containers, so they cool faster.
- Use high quality food storage containers as they’re easily cleanable and expert tested for air tightness and food safety.
- Try not to stack containers on top of each other in the fridge, if you can avoid it since it traps the heat longer.
- Most leftovers in the refrigerator should be used up within 4-5 days for preserving optimal taste and flavor.
Tips for reheating
- Reheat liquids like gravy and soup by bringing them to rolling boil.
- Cover food when reheating in the microwave and rotate it periodically for even heating. Make sure the cover is microwave safe and allows for steam to escape.
- Do not use slow cookers for reheating.
- Sometimes the freezer can remove a bit of the flavors. A dash of your favorite Salty Wahine seasoning can put a pep back in the meal.
- Use a cooking thermometer to check that your leftovers have been heated to at least 165 degrees before eating.
Create new dishes with repurposed leftovers
If you are looking to be a little more adventurous, try turning your leftovers into something completely different for your upcoming meals. Holiday foods can be turned into just about anything!
Use any extra turkey, chicken, or ham in an egg-citing skillet, omelet, or hash and topping with our Island Volcano Seasoning. Fry those extra mashed potatoes up for a unique hash brown pancake. Get on the gravy train and turn biscuits and gravy into breakfast rolls with turkey and gravy.
Maybe you have some leftover potatoes or butternut squash. Consider puréeing them for a savory soup. Use that extra turkey and add it to some white rice and broth. Possibly even throw in some leftover veggies. Top it off with our Award-Winning fresh ground Hawaiian Passion Fruit, Orange, Guava Pepper.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with tossing in just about any leftovers into a glass dish and baking it in the oven. Consider a noodle bake or squash risotto. Layer in the turkey, potatoes, and veggies and top it off with some stuffing.
Those extra dinner rolls will make perfect ends for a turkey and gravy sandwich. Or, you could try something a little more bougie with some cranberry sauce, turkey, and pesto. Such an ono (delicious) lunch the next day while watching the game! Get creative and try mixing and matching different leftovers on top of a bread slice, biscuit, roll, or cornbread.
An easy way to clear your fridge is turning those leftovers into small snacks and appetizers to munch on. Try using those extra fruits and veggies to make a fresh salsa or create miniature holiday dinners on a stick with tasty kabobs. Revive your mashed potatoes with a new dressing, cheese and leftover veggies.
Let us help put taste back on the table
Whether you decide to give your leftovers away, store and reheat them for later eating, or make them into something new altogether, you can never go wrong with spicing the food up with a little extra flavor.
At Salty Wahine, we have traditional and tropical spices to add to the overall flavor profile of your leftovers. Consider using our Hot Lava spice for a little extra zing in your cooked veggies or our Hawaiian Star Fruit, Lemon Pepper to reinvigorate the flavor of your thanksgiving casserole. Looking for some extra zest in your soup? We’ve got you covered with our Island Curry, a 2 time – first place Scovie award winner.
Well, the night is late…your leftovers are all put away, and the guests have gone home. It’s time to relax. How about a delicious cocktail to cap off the night? We have your order!
We call it the “Salty Breeze”
In a chilled glass half filled with ice, combine the following ingredients and stir for 10 seconds. Top with Honeydew melon foam. Garnish with Salty Wahine Black Lava Salt and cracked pepper
- 1 ounce Balvenie 21 Single Barrel Scotch
- ¾ ounce Kapena Hawaiian Chili Infused Tequila
- ½ cup fresh pressed honeydew melon juice
- Whipped honeydew melon and egg white foam to top
- Salty Wahine Black lava salt
- Cracked pepper
Whatever you choose, we’d love to be a part of your ohana for dinner or the leftovers afterwards.
Aloha from the Salty Wahine family to yours! We wish you the happiest of holidays this Thanksgiving season. We are thankful for you.