When it comes to feeding people at parties, my philosophy is along the lines of “too much isn’t nearly enough”. No matter how often I swear I won’t overdo it on the food, I still find myself making too much, buying too much, and wondering what to do with the leftovers.
When it comes to meats and vegetables, I try to get them packaged up and refrigerated as quickly as possible so they’ll be available for meals later in the week. Likewise for salads that can be served again — I don’t saved dressed green salads as they get mushy. Heck, I rarely serve green salads at parties for that very reason.
Also, between you and me, it turns out most of my guests opt for the less healthy options over the healthy options. I don’t blame them. I go straight for the chips, too!
Speaking of chips, they are my favorite ingredients for repurposing after parties. I use potato chips as a breading for chicken. Or as a topping for a tuna casserole. Or in cookies. Here’s a great recipe I found for Chocolate Chip Potato Chip Blondies.
Of course, I always have leftover tortilla chips as well. They’re great for making an enchilada-style casserole or in place of breading. But they’re also the basis of one my favorite breakfasts (or breakfast-for-dinners): chicken chilaquiles. This dish is a party leftover two-fer: you get to use up the extra salsa as well!
Another favorite leftover is mashed potatoes. Sure, I’ll happily eat them just as they are with every meal for the rest of my lift, but if you like a bit of variety, top off a gluten-free shepherd’s pie with mashed potatoes and bit of seasoning. Make fried potato patties. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can turn your leftover mashed potatoes into gnocchi.
As for things like hummus and onion dip, well, those go fast in my house. Sure, I try to be good and dip crunchy veggies in them, but, well, they work fine with crackers and chips as well.
What are your favorite party leftovers and how do you repurpose them later on?
Tip of the Week
Don’t put everything you’ve bought to feed party guests out at once, particularly perishable items. Keeping cheeses, dips, and other foods safely stored until they’re needed reduces the amount you’ll have to throw away later. Refill bowls as needed.
Recipe of the Week: Chicken Chilaquiles
This great gluten-free recipe uses up two leftover ingredients: tortilla chips and salsa. Maybe three if you count the chicken. I prefer green tomatillo-based salsa, but red salsa is delicious as well. I toss in shredded chicken and some greens if I have them. Modify the ingredients as needed, and adjust proportions based on what you have on hand.
- Chicken Chilaquiles
- Scrambled Eggs