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Will the Kids Eat the Leftovers?

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You’ve hosted a household of people; now you’ve got a house full of food. Everyone liked the meal the first time around, but will they be willing to give it another try…and another…and another?

Unless you have extremely open-minded kids, they are likely to turn up their noses at a re-heated (and slightly less tasty) version of last night’s dinner. Put it in a completely different format, however, and they may reconsider. Who knows; they might even like it better the second time around. Here are some suggestions to get you going:

Trains: For whatever reason, our kids seem to like food more when it’s cut into trains. Leftover lasagna? Cut it into long rectangles and line it up on a “track” around the plates. Or if you want to think on a bigger scale, take all of your remaining foods (chunks of chicken, some ham salad, dollops of cranberry sauce, green beans, guacamole – you name it), put a small amount of each food on a different cracker, and make an enormous food train that snakes around your dinner table.

Teeny-tiny sandwiches: Got loads of turkey or roast beef left over? Go ahead and put it on sandwiches, but make it interesting. Create teeny-tiny sandwich squares (or make shapes with cookie cutters) and alternate wheat and white bread to make a checkerboard pattern. If you have leftover dinner rolls, use them to make club sandwiches and decorate them with frilly toothpicks.

Parfaits: Loaded up on holiday fruit this year? Chop the fruit into small pieces and let the kids layer them with yogurt for colorful parfaits. Extra bonus trick: We crunched a few (undecorated) gingerbread cookies and added them to the middle and top layers for a gingery crunch.

Omelets: Too much spinach salad left over from last night – or any vegetables, for that matter? Chop them up into small pieces and make confetti omelets for breakfast (or lunch or dinner).

Quesadillas: What are tortillas good for, if not for wrapping up all sorts of leftovers? Take thin slices of your leftover ham, chicken, pork, or beef and toast them with cheese between two whole-grain tortillas. Then slice the quesadilla into triangles and serve it like a pizza.

Pot Pie: Leftover meat and gravy? Chop the meat into bite-sized chunks, add chopped leftover vegetables (or frozen vegetables if you need more), heat it all up with the gravy, pour it all into a pie crust and add another crust on top. Bake until golden brown, and serve it as if they’ve never seen it before.

Hungry yet? Then come on over to our house – we’ve got plenty of food!

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