Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Healthify Your Leftovers!

After hosting a big party like a holiday dinner or a Super Bowl shindig, you're likely left with a lot of... food. Or, things that you enjoy eating as a once-in-a-while, enjoy-yourself-on-occasion treat. If you're like me, you also hate wasting food. The thought of just tossing leftovers makes me cringe.

I've been thinking about this ever since December, and realized that I've collected a few tricks to avoid throwing away leftover treats while maintaining a healthy diet. I'm no nutritionist, and definitely not a chef, but without further ado...

Leftover Drinks: Wine
I hosted a holiday party in December, only to realize the next morning that I was left with three (yes, THREE) bottles of white wine that were opened to pour a single glass. Nothing hurts more than wasting wine! But, I knew I wouldn't go through two and a half bottles (not while training for a half marathon, at least!).

My fix: I did some research and - duh - you can cook with white wine! I ended up using a bottle in this slow cooker recipe for turkey breast with rosemary, and it was delicious. Just Google "cooking with wine" and you'll find plenty of recipes.

Leftover Appetizers: Cheese
Ohmygosh I love cheese. But, we all know full-fat dairy can impede our weight loss/maintenance goals, and some people flat out advise that dairy is bad for you. Like everything else, I'm happy to eat cheese in moderation but when I have a huge chunk of delicious Monterey jack in my fridge... moderation usually gets thrown to the wind.

My fix: As soon as the guests leave, I shred big blocks of cheese. On one hand, I do this for a practical reason... no pieces laying around to grab every time I walk through the kitchen! On the other hand, I do this because I can use the shredded cheese to add a little fat and protein to a variety of meals (usually omelets or fajita salads, two of my faves) - a tablespoon or two is enough to add flavor without packing on the calories.

Leftover Dessert: Ice cream
I almost never eat regular ice cream - mostly because I like froyo and smoothies just as much if not more, so I don't see any reason to eat it. But, we have a tub of vanilla bean ice cream in our freezer from our last dinner party - and lately, it's been calling my name.

My fix: I took about two tablespoons of ice cream and popped it in a food processor with frozen fruit - strawberries, peaches, and raspberries. The result was a delicious frozen treat that was 75% fruit and packed with vitamins and fiber!

Leftover Finger Food: Pizza fixins'
There's nothing easier than making homemade pizza for a crowd. But, how many days in a row can I justify eating pizza? Not many.

My fix: When I buy ingredients for homemade pizza, I always grab an eggplant. If I have leftover cheese and sauce, I can make a delicious and healthy version of eggplant parm - I grill the eggplant with a little Pam and salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then I layer it in a baking dish with tomato sauce and whatever other veggies I have laying around (usually spinach and onions). A little sprinkle of mozzarella on top and 15 minutes in the oven and, voila!

How do you healthify your leftovers?

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