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the leftovers party by Stephanie Cloutier | 1 2 3 

After you've put away your Bing Crosby records and stashed the untouched fruitcakes in the back of your freezer, you find yourself faced with two daunting inevitabilities in the post-Christmas aftermath -- your next Visa bill… and holiday leftovers.

You might be familiar with this scenario: the festive spirit itches away at you, and like many others, you get the urge to throw your own swanky holiday party in your own fabulous space. You organize a holiday event that includes a dinner, where you end up spending more money than you had anticipated and end up with platters full of untouched food. You soon realize that you're not alone. You leave a friend's festive dinner with a Tupperware or two of leftover eats only to add to your own growing collection of festive fare accumulating in your fridge. What's a quick and creative way to get rid of holiday food and still keep the holiday spirit going? Throw a Leftovers Party.

post-holiday fever
Ok, 'leftovers' may not seem appealing at first but it's not as repulsive as it sounds! Here are two reasons why you want to throw this party: it'll give you a chance to find creative recipes for that mountain of holiday leftovers and provide the perfect excuse to organize a party that everyone can attend after the hectic schedule of pre-Christmas events.

If you happen to celebrate Christmas, there's a lull between that date and New Years where nothing happens. We stress prior to the holidays but when it's over, we suddenly begin to feel a little disappointed, as if we were cheated of a great reward after all the hard work we put into the preparations. So instead of putting away the lights, the tassels and the miniature Rudolph figurines on your mantel, organize a casual lunch or low-key soiree.

Try to organize this party a few days after Christmas. When it comes to leftovers, the basic rule to remember is to eat them within a few days. At the same time, giving your guests a chance to recuperate may be a good idea. This will allow them to think of unique ideas for recipes, as well to regain their strength and the stomach to tackle the leftovers for your party.

all-in-one combo casserole
This dish can incorporate all of your leftovers in one plate. This is a great way to finish off any cooked vegetables and leftover gravy.

1 Preheat oven to 350F. Sauté a rough amount of chopped onions, celery, and carrots in butter or olive oil for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add salt and pepper.
2 Remove vegetables and transfer to ovenproof dish or aluminum tin.
3 Add pieces of turkey and leftover vegetables (this can include cooked peas, carrots, Brussels sprouts, etc) to the dish. With a spoon, mix the veggies and meat together so all pieces are evenly distributed in the dish.
4 Reheat leftover gravy in small saucepan or in microwave, or add a can of condensed cream of soup (either mushroom or chicken will do) mixed with 1 cup of milk. Pour into meat-veggie combination dish.
5 Dollop mashed potatoes over food and spread evenly with spatula. Add grated Parmesan cheese on top.
6 Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese has melted and potato has formed a crust and is golden brown.

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