The holidays are a time of giving, sharing, and eating delicious meals and treats. It also is a time of excess food that gets wasted, uneaten, and binned. Globally, about a third of all food produced is wasted or lost, with 60% of this occuring at the consumer level.
Don't let the fruits of your hard work end up in the landfills these holidays. We can all play a part in turning around these figures, and with a little bit of creativity and planning, not only will you help in reducing your environmental footprint but you will also save a lot of money.
End the year with better intentions, and become a food waste warrior this Christmas.
From leftovers of popular main dishes like turkey and pork, to stale bread, try our recipe suggestions on how to use up your holiday food leftovers.
Turkey, chicken, pork, beef or fish - make sandwiches, tacos, fried rice, broth from the bones, or you can try making a matzah ball soup with the recipe below courtesy of Candadian chef Jessica Rosval, as part of Massimo Bottura's Cooking is an Act of Love anti-food waste campaign.
Jessica Rosval, the young Chef of Casa Maria Luigia shares her family recipe for Matzah ball soup turning leftover Thanksgiving or Christmas ingredients into a tasty heartwarming soup in aid of Food for Soul's campaign, Cooking is an Act of Love.
Try this recipe for turkey rolls with prosciutto and parmesan served with zucchini: it's an easy-to-make everyday meal for the family. Remember you can always replace prosciutto with bacon, likewise, zucchini with any other seasonal vegetable - this dish is all about easy and delicious, so make it yours.
Store-bought puff pastry is one of those things that can save any weeknight dinner drama. Use it here with some vegetables and leftover turkey for an easy lunch or dinner for everyone.
Leftover roast pork makes for a great pork sandwich but place them on small slices of bread (if the bread is stale, toast them up to add crunch) and they will become a great appetizer for everyone to share. Feel free to use store-bought mayonnaise if it's available to you.
Any cooked meat, both white and red, can be chopped into smaller chunks and thrown into fried rice. Use this recipe for egg fried rice as a base to create your own delicious version with what you have left after your festivities.
Try making these Thai fish cakes with any fish you have left on the platter. Nobody will notice they were from last night's dinner!
This one is from the home kitchens and the back streets of Naples, where savvy local cooks have always come up with ways to reuse leftovers, including pasta. Any uneaten pasta can be transformed, with or without sauce, into a pasta frittata the following day.
Adapt it to your needs - throw in any leftover veg if you like, it will add extra fibre and make it even more nutritious!
Mashed potatoes and vegetables
Mashed potatoes are a staple at almost every holiday table. Transform it into crunchy potato croquettes the next day and serve it with your favourite dipping sauce.
Pesto adds oomph to what could otherwise be a boring veggie soup. Any oven roasted vegetables will work in this recipe, just keep in mind cooking times to prevent an overcooked mush.
Bread is the second largest food item that is wasted in the UK - a whopping 2.6 billion tonnes of bread is binned every year! There are many things you can do to prevent this, like slicing up any whole loaves and storing them in the freezer to eat later, but if your bread is already stale, you can turn them into croutons for soup, breadcrumbs, or even better, cook a Tuscan ribollita soup.
The ribollita soup is the perfect example of Tuscany's cucina povera ("peasant cooking"). It uses cheap, seasonal vegetables like cabbage and carrots, along with cannellini beans and stale bread, that all come together in a rich, comforting and nutritious soup. Make some extra and keep them in portions in the freezer to warm future winter nights.
Discover how to make this hearty Tuscan soup by chef Bernardo Paladini at Torno Subito, W Dubai - The Palm, transforming leftover bread and parmesan cheese into an unforgettably tasty Italian starter. A recipe shared in aid the Food for Soul campaign, Cooking is an Act of Love.