Holiday Leftovers

Myrna gave me a copy of the 1946 Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book that I treasure; this is a version of this iconic cookbook our mother used.  It is notable because although it is a “red plaid” cookbook, it is surprisingly thin, with only 200 or so pages.  My own first copy of the cookbook is from 1968, and probably weighs twice as much. 
But what really interested me is that this 1940’s version is the only cookbook I’ve seen with an entire chapter devoted to “Leftovers”.   This is pretty relevant during the holidays, when we probably cook too much and have food left that we don’t know what to do with.  Today I’m going to give you some suggestions from our Mom’s cook book, in use during wartime rationing and when the Depression wasn’t such a distant memory.
·         For vegetable leftovers, they suggest pickling them (like beets or beans), or marinating vegetables for salads.   Many vegetables can be added to white sauce and served over rice, pasta or breads. Of course, there are always uses for vegetables in casseroles, stews and soups, and they suggest quiche, although they call it custard.
·         For fruits, there are gelatin salads, sauces for desserts, toppings for puddings and cereals, or in cobblers and crisps or the suggestion that applesauce could be used in cake.
·         For meats, they suggest the usual sandwiches, creamed, in gravy, over dressing, wrapped in biscuit dough and baked, meat pies, a la king, in salads, jellied, in casseroles, etc.
·         Biscuits and muffins could be split, toasted and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.  Bread could be used in Brown Betty, French toast, and bread pudding.  The bread could be cubed for croutons or stuffing, or crumbed for meatloaf or casserole topping.
·         Macaroni and rice can always be added to soups, salads or casseroles, and rice also makes good hot or cold rice pudding.
·         Cake can be cut in strips to line a mold or bowl, pour in Bavarian cream and chill until firm.  Cake can be cubed and folded into whipped cream with chopped holiday cherries and nuts.
·         Cheese makes sauces and can be added to casseroles and soufflés.  Cube for salads.
·         Egg yolks can be used in Hollandaise sauce, cooked salad dressings and noodles.
·         Egg whites make white cakes, meringues, frostings and candy.
·         Sour milk can be used in pancakes, waffles, biscuits, ginger bread, corn bread, cake and cookies.
·         Sour cream is perfect in cake, cookies, gravies and meat dishes (think Stroganoff).
Most lunch meats freeze well too, even braunschweiger and pepperoni.  I wrap them in meal-size amounts in plastic wrap or cheap sandwich bags, and keep them in a larger freezer bag.
Some other ways to keep holiday sale items for later use...
Roasting Turkey for Canning
Home Canning Turkey
Turkey Stock to Can or Freeze
Home Canned Cranberry Sauce
Freezer Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Take an hour or so and go through your holiday leftovers.  Package them in useful sizes for the freezer or can them to use later, or put them on your menu to use quickly.   Make a list of what you put in the freezer to use that quickly too; I also keep them in a separate plastic box so I don't have to search for the leftovers I want to use.


  1. I have this cookbook also. I do think it is really neat that they added a leftover chapter.

    1. It has some good recipes too...that aren't in the later versions...much simpler and less rich.
      You are lucky to have one.


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