Assess your post-holiday spoils. You might have a jar of olives or marmalade, a tin of mixed nuts, caramel popcorn, or shortbread cookies that seemed like a good idea at the time — in your gift-giver’s mind, at least. Yes, it’s the thought that counts. But then again, that thought takes up kitchen cupboard and fridge space … possibly until 2020.

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Be realistic. Say you can’t re-gift that Harry & David-style food basket (or won’t; you’re so nice). How are you going to use it? Here’s how.

1. Glaze chicken with orange marmalade.

Got a jar of marmalade from a well-meaning friend or coworker that you know will just take up space in your refrigerator door for the next year if you don’t use it somehow soon? A little Dijon mustard, grated ginger, garlic, and a half cup of that marmalade can glaze some chicken thighs for an easy, affordable weeknight dinner. Get the recipe.

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2. Toss those cured meat sticks into the pot, pan, or pizza.

Use that meat tube like you would pepperoni and put thin slices on a pizza. Or chop up those logs of cured meat that came with the cheeses in your gift basket for a paella or a nice big pot of jambalaya. Sure, it’s not andouille sausage or tasso (a type of cured ham) but your meat stick is smoked, salty, and flavor-packed. It will work just fine in this forgiving, spice-filled Cajun recipe. Get our Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya recipe.


3. Make peppermint desserts with candy canes.

It’s not Christmas without a few too many candy canes, especially if you have children. You’re not going to suck on them. So crush them. You can make our Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Peppermint Buttercream Filling recipe with excess candy canes or those little alien-saucer-shaped peppermint candies.


Too much work? This idea for repurposing your peppermints requires only four ingredients. Get our Peppermint Hot Chocolate recipe.


4. Use olives in a stew.

Make some chili in your slow cooker and dump in those suckers. For a forgiving weeknight winter comfort, an easy Crock Pot taco soup is another option for getting rid of those gifted olives. You can use any ground meat you have, plus all sorts of canned beans and tomatoes. Get our Crock Pot Taco Soup recipe.


5. Make nutty tarts or bars from that can of assorted nuts.

What pairs well with nuts? Fruit — any fruit — plus pastry. You could even use that marmalade we already mentioned and make our Italian Jam Crostata recipe. It doesn’t have to be exactly like the recipe. Just the general idea.


Use leftover cranberries (that you dry) instead of dried cherries and dump out that can of mixed nuts and mix them with some oats, honey, and spices to make some convenient cereal bars that are packed with fiber and protein. Get our Cherry Power Bar recipe.


6. Transform your Panettone into French toast.

Here’s an easy repurposing idea. That box of fruit-filled bread you got? Make it a nice weekend brunch meal with a little egg, cream, cinnamon, and syrup. It’s a cinch, and more enjoyable than the original. Get the recipe.

Olives + Okra

7. Put your caramel popcorn in your cookies.

A little salt, a little sweet, and you get a whole lotta awesome in cookie form when you put your caramel popcorn gift to another use. Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen Cookbook recipe, this salted caramel popcorn cookie has got all the flavor and texture pairings you could desire. Get the recipe.

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8. Make football food with your specialty mustard.

Take that mustard jar you found in your basket and make great munchies for the final football games of the season, maybe even the Super Bowl. You can use any kind of mustard, sweet or spicy, for our Honey Mustard Snack Mix recipe.


Or spread that gifted mustard on your brats, hot dogs, our Soft Pretzels recipe, or our Soft Pretzel Bites recipe.


— Head Image: Paste Magazine.

Related video: The Christmas Gift Basket, Deconstructed

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