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Monday, December 26, 2016

Leftover holiday foods that you can freeze

This happens to all of us, right? Too much whipping cream, a great deal on cream cheese, extra cranberry sauce, eggnog on markdown. All of these foods can be frozen.
  • whipping cream (the kind in a carton, not in a spray can). Whip with confectioner's sugar and vanilla, as you would for a dessert topping. Spoon dollops onto a saran wrap-lined baking sheet, or the inside of a metal lid to a cookie tin. Place in freezer for several hours or overnight. Peel frozen dollops off of the saran wrap and place in a large, ziploc freezer bag, and keep in the freezer until needed. Use one by one, as desired, thawing directly on top of pies, or inside cream puffs, for about 15 minutes before serving.
  • cream cheese freeze in the package. To use, thaw overnight in the fridge and use in spreads or making cheesecake. A small amount of liquid may seep out of thawed cream cheese. Just pour this off, or stir it back in. If using thawed cream cheese as a spread, I put it in a small bowl and beat it with a spoon, until soft and creamy again.
  • cranberry sauce freeze in an ice cube tray. Use in smoothies, in a glaze for meat, or as an accompaniment for roasts and poultry. My favorite way to use leftover, frozen cranberry sauce is blended with orange juice.
  • whole cranberries any leftover, whole cranberries can be frozen in a ziploc bag. Later in winter or spring, pour out what you need, rough chop them, still frozen, in your food processor and use in cranberry bread.
  • eggnog freeze as you would milk, by pouring a little out of the carton, to allow for expansion, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. The texture change is much like that of frozen and thawed milk. I don't drink eggnog, but my kids all agree, frozen, then thawed eggnog, is much better than no eggnog. 
  • gravy mostly I freeze sliced meat in leftover gravy. But every once in a while I have way more gravy than we have meat. I freeze leftover gravy in 1 cup amounts. When thawed, watery liquid separates from a gelatinous lump. Once heated in the microwave, the gravy can be stirred back together.
  • turkey carcass or ham bone if I don't have time to turn these into stock, right away, I wrap and freeze them to make good soup stock another day. I still have my turkey leg bones in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap, until I have some time to make a big pot of soup. I try not to let these sit in the freezer longer than a couple of months, for best flavor.
  • baked goods, including Christmas cookies, breads, dinner rolls, and slices of pumpkin or apple pie. All freeze well.
  • cut fresh herbs if you bought any herbs to use in preparing the holiday meals, you can mince and freeze whatever is left over. Freezing is my favorite way to keep fresh herbs like cilantro, which goes slimy, quickly, after cutting/purchasing. And having some herbs, minced and ready to add to sauces and soups makes future meal prep all that much simpler. I just put the minced herbs in a ziploc bag, freeze, then use within about 4 months. The amount that I need at any one time, easily breaks off of the frozen hunk.
  • part of a lemon or lime if I don't need the whole citrus in a recipe, I slice and quarter the remaining lemon or lime, put in a ziploc bag, and use later, in water or tea.
  • sparkling apple cider it will lose its fizz, but sparkling cider can be frozen, to thaw for a beverage another day, either on it's own, or mixed with other fruit juices, or part of the liquid when making gelatin desserts, or in a glaze for pork roasts, or in homemade teriyaki sauce/marinades.
  • cinnamon sticks and whole cloves from spiced, hot beverages whole spices, rescued from pots of hot beverages can be frozen and reused, later in the season. Having been used once, they won't have quite as much flavor as they initially did, but are still useful in lightly infusing beverages, or adding fragrance to the air by simmering in a pot of water on the stove or in a mini crockpot.
  • raw egg yolks or whites when I've only used a yolk or a white, and don't anticipate needing to use the other part of the egg within 2-3 days, I put the leftovers into a container for the freezer. Egg whites can be frozen, as is. Allow to come to room temp before using. Frozen egg whites don't whip as fluffy as fresh whites, but can still be used in whites-only recipes or added to omelets/scrambled eggs/quiches. Egg yolks need a pinch of salt to stabilize the texture before freezing, 1/8 teaspoon per 4 yolks, beaten into the yolk, then freeze.
  • hard-boiled egg yolks hard-boiled egg whites do not freeze well, but the yolks, do. This is a great method for freezing leftover fresh yolks. Slip the leftover, raw yolks into a non-stick pan with about 2 inches of water at the bottom. bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover and allow to stand for 12 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon, and freeze in a ziploc, to use, crumbled as a garnish or in egg salad, later.


  1. Hello, Lili--

    Hope Christmas was wonderful! This is a wonderful list! Thanks so much!


    PS... NO leftover whipped cream or eggnog here. We can finish it all off. It's not thrifty, but we enjoy it. LOL

    1. Good morning, Sara!
      Yes, thank you, we had a lovely Christmas! I hope yours was wonderful, as well!

      It's hit or miss, with us and whipping cream and eggnog. I found a great clearance on eggnog in November, so I bought several jugs of it, then. I froze part of it, and we just finished the last, this week. And I also had about a pint of whipping cream to whip and freeze this past week (I bought a quart just before Thanksgiving). So I think I just buy more than we can use/eat, in time.

      Have a lovely day, Sara!

    2. Glad you had a great Christmas!

      With our limited shopping resources, we're less likely to pick up "stock-up" proportions of that kind of perishable item on a great sale. We also have a couple of folks in the family who are notorious "clean-up batters" (to use the sports analogy) who tend to seek out whatever needs to get eaten, and eats it.

      I AM excited to hear that the eggnog DOES freeze and thaw well, because I could see a possibility that we might need to do that at some point in the future. Whooooo-hoooo!

      Cream, however, I find I can usually just alter my menu for the week to incorporate and enjoy any leftovers. And already whipped cream, we usually just make into a "fool" for the next meal or top waffles or something (though I can eat it by the spoonful, too!)

      I was glad you mentioned reusing mulling spices. I was so happy years ago when someone mentioned this to me. It's such a savings! I also sometimes put my used mulling spices into the humidifier on the woodstove.

      Have a great week! Sara

    3. Hi Sara,
      It goes in fits and spurts with family managing to eat whatever needs eating. I thought we'd go through the quart of whipping cream between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then twice, we were gifted cans of spray whipping cream, this season, so I only went through half of my carton of heavy cream.

      Wishing you a lovely week, as well, Sara!

  2. Wow, thank you for this wonderful gift of ways to make very good use of a variety of leftovers.


    1. Hi Jayne,
      I hope you had a lovely Christmas, and are now enjoying a peaceful Boxing Day.

      You're welcome! And have a wonderful day, Jayne!

  3. We had a very nice Christmas complete with my mom and dad. Mom only lasted two hours but she ate and participated in conversation and then she was so tired she had to go home!

    We had a simple meal of ham, meatballs, mashed potatoes, green beans, italian bread, applesauce and sponge cake with strawberries and whipped cream. We have just a small amount of leftovers and the ham bone was made into a split pea soup for lunch today (took one hour to make in my pressure cooker). We had my brother and his girlfriend over also so we had 9 people and it was a wonderful day yesterday. No presents but good family time.

    Today is the other side of the family get together and I'm bringing a hot vegetable casserole and an appetizer and dinner will be simple affair. I love simple meals.

    We have no leftovers to freeze and we're putting a dent into my freezer for our meals. I haven't bought anything special for any of this Christmas break except essentials and every meal has been special in it's own way.


    1. Alice, I'm glad you and your mom, et al, had a nice Christmas. Your "simple" meal sounds just about perfect to me! :) Wish you a happy get-together today, and all the best in the New Year! Sara

    2. Hi Alice,
      That sounds like your mom is making improvements, following her procedure. Any sort of medical procedure is draining, but I think more so when one is older. I'm just glad that both of your parents could join your family for Christmas.

      Ha ha! Your simple meal doesn't sound so simple to me -- ham, meatballs, potatoes, green beans, bread, applesauce and dessert! That sounds delicious!!

      I hope you're enjoying today with family, Alice!


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