If you’re like most people, you spend weeks and weeks planning your holiday menus and making sure you have a table filled with a dozen delicious dishes and desserts. After the holidays are over, your fridge may be stuffed with all the leftovers. Sure, the special meal was incredible but you don’t want to eat the same meal or sandwiches day after day for the next week or two. Well, you don’t have to. There are so many new dishes you can make out of your holiday leftovers. Even I, who only have to cook for 2 or 3 people at the most, make enough food to feed a family of ten. Why? Because I want all those leftovers so I can make new incredible meals the whole next week. All it takes is a bit of imagination and you can create amazing new meals all week. No one will even know they are eating leftovers!

1. Start with Leftover “Roast,” Veggies, Gravy and Mashed Potatoes…

…and make these Holiday Leftover Shepherd’s Pot Pies: cut 6-8 slices of leftover vegan “turkey” roast into bite-sized pieces. Heat 1 Tbs. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add one minced onion, one finely chopped carrot and one finely chopped celery stalk. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add any leftover veggies you have to the pan and cook for another two minutes. Add 1 Tbs. tomato paste, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 2 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley and ½ tsp. ground cinnamon. Stir and saute for 2 minutes. Next, stir in 1 -2 cups of leftover gravy. You want enough gravy so that the filling is moist. It will dry up a bit in the oven. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Add the pieces of roast to the pan and simmer for 5 or 10 minutes until everything is warmed through. Spoon the roast and veggie mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or individual ramekins and level it out with the back of the spoon. After that, spread the leftover mashed potatoes evenly all over. Sprinkle 3 chopped scallions on top of the potatoes, scatter 1 cup of vegan cheese shreds over the scallions and bake the pie in a 400 degree oven until the top is crusty and golden, about 25 minutes. Put the oven on broil for 2 minutes to get the tops of the potatoes browner. Remove from the oven and let the pie sit for about 10 minutes to set. Serve while hot.

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2. Start with Leftover Cranberry Sauce…

…and turn it into a breakfast jelly. I make this for my husband all the time and he loves it especially when it’s mixed with other fresh fruit. To make my Cranberry Pear Jelly: transfer 2 cups of leftover cranberry sauce into a small saucepan. Add 2 finely chopped pears and the zest and juice of one orange. Let it cook over low heat for 20 minutes until it thickens. If you want, you can add sugar but we think it’s delicious as is. Read more about How to Make Your Own Jams and Jellies without Gelatin.

3. Start with Leftover Mashed Sweet or White Potatoes…

…and make Crispy Potato Cakes. Put 2 cups mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes into a bowl and mix with up to ½ cup flour until they feel like they will hold together. Taste for any seasoning adjustment.  Form into 8 equal portions. Use your hands to form 1/2-inch thick patties. Heat 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pan-fry the potato cakes until golden brown, about 7 minutes on each side. Transfer from the skillet to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve hot.

4. Start with Leftover Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables…

…and make Jamaican Veggie Patties. For the pastry dough, in a small bowl, combine 1 ½ tsp. egg replacer and ¼ cup warm water. Stir and set aside. In a food processor, combine 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, ¾ tsp. baking powder, 1 Tbs. Jamaican curry powder and 1 tsp. turmeric. Process until everything is mixed well. Add ½ cup vegan butter cubes and pulse until it starts to look like crumbs, about 8 pulses. Add in the egg replacer/water mixture and the cold water. Pulse a few times until it starts to form a crumbly dough. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Knead lightly to form the dough into a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a smooth ball, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. While it chills, get your filling ready. Mix 1 cup leftover mashed white or sweet potatoes, ½ cup leftover veggies, chopped finely, 1 minced garlic clove, ¼ tsp. curry powder, ½ tsp. ground ginger, 2 tsp. fresh chopped cilantro, a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt to taste.

When the dough is chilled and the filling is ready, make the dough discs. Work with one half of the dough while leaving the other chilling in the fridge. Divide each half into equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-inch circle. Repeat with the other half of the dough until you use it all. To assemble the patties: preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set up an assembly line: you will need a bowl with 2 cups shredded vegan cheese, the bowl of filling, the dough discs, a small bowl of water, 2 forks, a pastry cutter (pizza cutter) and a ¼-cup measuring cup. Take a dough disc and place it on the work surface. Lay ¼ cup of filling onto the middle of the disc. Use a fork to spread it and flatten it a bit. Sprinkle some cheese on top of the filling. Using your fingers, wipe some water along the outer edge of the disc. This will help seal the dough. Fold the dough over in half to form a half-moon shape. Press the edges together. Trim any excess dough using the pastry cutter. Use the tines of the clean fork to press the edges of the dough. This seals it and makes those pretty lines along the edges. Poke 3 holes in the patty to let steam escape while it cooks. Place the patty on the baking sheet and repeat until you use up all the dough and filling. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven, brush the patties with olive oil and bake for another 12 minutes. Transfer the patties to a cooling rack. Serve warm.

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5. Start with Leftover Stuffing…

…and make Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms. Clean 24 mushrooms and cut the stems off so that the caps have an opening like a tiny dish. Mix 1 cup of leftover stuffing with 2 Tbs. olive oil, 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, 2 Tbs. vegan grated Parmesan and ½ tsp. garlic powder. Stuff the mushroom caps with the stuffing mixture. Spray or drizzle a little more olive oil on top and arrange on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

6. Start with Leftover “Roast” and Vegetables…

…and make Quick Quesadillas. Take the leftovers, cut them into bite-sized pieces and combine them in a bowl. For a Mexican flavor, toss them with ½ tsp. each ground cumin, paprika, ground coriander and chili powder. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and spray with vegetable oil. Place a tortilla in the pan and cook for 2 minutes until it starts to brown. Flip the tortilla and place a thin layer of the leftovers on one half of it. Sprinkle with some vegan cheddar or pepper Jack cheese and fold the tortilla in half. Cook a few minutes more until the cheese melts. Using a wide spatula, transfer the quesadilla to a plate and continue until you use up the leftovers. Serve with vegan sour cream, guacamole, salsa or your favorite condiments. You could use the same ingredients to make your own tacos or burritos with the leftovers.

7. Start with Leftover Cranberry Sauce…

…and make Gluten-Free Cranberry Buckwheat Pancakes. In a small bowl or mug, add 1 Tbs. ground flaxseed and 3 Tbs. warm water. Mix and let stand about 10 minutes until it has thickened. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup buckwheat flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 cup non-dairy milk, ½ cup water, the flax gel, and ¼ tsp. kosher salt. Whisk until the batter is smooth and let it rest for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Melt some vegan butter in a non-stick pan or on a griddle over medium heat. Pour ¼ cup of batter onto the pan for each pancake. Sprinkle 1 Tbs. cranberry sauce over the pancakes. When the top forms bubbles and you can see the edges getting brown, gently flip the pancake to cook on the other side. They should be golden brown. Transfer 3-4 pancakes to a plate and top with vegan butter and maple syrup. Or check out how to make Cranberry Maple Syrup.

8. Start with Leftover Cranberry Sauce…

…and make Gluten-Free Cranberry-Apple Muffins. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with oil or cooking spray. Mix 2 Tbs. ground flaxseed with 1/3 cup warm water. Let it sit about 10 minutes until it’s a loose gel. Mix 1 ½ cups gluten-free, all-purpose flour mix, ½ tsp. xanthan gum (if it’s not already in your flour mix), 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, and ½ tsp. ground nutmeg in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix the flaxseed/water, ¼ cup vegetable oil, ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce, ½ cup brown sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Add 1 cup apples that have been shredded and squeezed dry to the wet mix. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until the batter is smooth. Then fold in ½ cup cranberry sauce into the batter. Fill the muffin tin about ¾ of the way since the muffins will rise. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the tin and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

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9. Start with Leftover “Roast,” Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, and Veggies…

…and make Celebration Burgers. In a mug or small bowl, combine 2 Tbs. ground flaxseed with 1/3 cup warm water. Stir and let sit about 10 minutes until it thickens into a flax gel. Cut the leftover roast and veggies into bite-sized pieces and combine in a bowl with the potatoes and stuffing. Taste for any seasoning adjustments. Mix in 2 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley. Add chickpea flour, a few Tbs. at a time, and mix with a spatula or your hand, until you have a consistency that feels like it will hold up. When it’s thoroughly mixed, place the burger mix into the refrigerator, covered, and chill for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to cook, remove the mixture from the fridge and make the patties. Divide the mixture into 4 patties. Using a 3 ½” cookie cutter ensures a perfectly formed, dense, thick burger patty. Let the patties sit for a couple of minutes. Heat 1 Tbs. of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties until browned, about 6 minutes per side. You may want to flip them carefully several times to ensure that the inside cooks while the outside doesn’t burn.

10. Start with Leftover “Roast,” Vegetables, Broth and Cranberry Sauce…

…and make Cranberry Lo Mein. Lo mein is one of my favorite dishes for cleaning out the fridge so why should holiday leftovers be any different? In a measuring cup, combine ¼ cup tamari, ¼ cup hoisin sauce, 3 Tbs. brown rice vinegar, 2 Tbs. agave nectar, 2 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce, 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil, ¼ cup cranberry sauce, 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp. 5-spice powder. Mix well. In another bowl, combine 2 Tbs. arrowroot powder with ½ cup cold water or leftover broth. Mix well and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and cook 1-lb. of noodles until they are just shy of al dente. They will cook more in the sauce. Cut the leftover roast into strips or chunks and coat with 1 tsp. 5-spice powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder and ½ tsp. ginger. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the roast and cook until crisp, about 6-7 minutes, flipping the pieces from time to time. Remove them from the skillet and set aside. To the same skillet, heat another Tbs. of oil. Add 1 carrot cut into matchsticks and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 sliced scallions and 1 head of broccoli cut into florets. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add any leftover green beans or other veggies you have and toss to combine with the other veggies. Add the sauce mixture to the pan. Add the arrowroot/water mixture to the pan. Mix it all well. The sauce will thicken. Drain the noodles and add them to the saucepan. Toss to coat them all with sauce. Finally, add the roast into the lo mein. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve while hot.

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These are just ten examples of ways to take your holiday leftovers and turn them into new dishes. When you take the same ingredients and change them up a bit, you make every day feel special. How do you use your holiday leftovers? Tell us in the comments.

Image Source: Rhea Parsons