How to Use Up Leftover Party Food

28 Recipes to Use Up the Bulk Food You Overbought at Costco

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How to Use Up Leftover Party Food

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What were you thinking buying vegetables in bulk at Costco? When you loaded up on veggie platters for a party, did you really expect everyone to eat healthy? Most likely, all the chicken wings, chips, and cookies were gobbled up and you're left with boatloads of celery, carrots, grape tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower. These recipes can turn that miscalculation into a masterful move.

Braised Celery

braised celery

Sometimes simplicity is all you need. Turn extra celery sticks into a pleasing side dish with the addition of butter, bouillon, and a few herbs and spices. This may become a new family favorite.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Carrot Cake

carrot cake

Shred those carrots, combine them with ingredients already in your pantry, and you'll have a cake in the oven in 20 minutes, thanks to this straightforward recipe. If you're counting calories, skip the cream-cheese frosting.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Vegetable Stew

hearty vegetable stew

Carrots and celery combine with a host of hearty ingredients — including always-thrifty kidney beans — in a stew that can satisfy as a main course. It will not only please vegetarians but also provide leftovers for lunch the next day.

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

Roasted Grape Tomatoes

roasted grape tomatoes

Claire Robinson, famous from "Five Ingredient Fix" on the Food Network, offers a rich, tasty — and super simple — treatment for grape tomatoes. Pass the bread!

Recipe: Food Network

Cauliflower Tempura

cauliflower tempura

Cauliflower florets go from bland to blazing with an impressive transformation into a Japanese-style appetizer or entree. The recipe is actually British, but Yanks shouldn't hesitate to give it a go, noting that 100 grams of flour equals 7/8 cup.

Recipe: BBC Good Food

Red Pepper Relish

red pepper relish

Martha Stewart has a simple-yet-sophisticated take on basic red peppers. This versatile creation can be a condiment or an ingredient in chicken or tuna salad, pasta, or grilled cheese. A batch will last four days in the fridge.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

Inside-Out Stuffed Pepper Rice

inside-out stuffed green bell peppers

This clever dish is more of a casserole, calling for green peppers that are already sliced, rather than whole peppers for stuffing. You can omit the meat for a veggie version.

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

Grape Tomato Salad

fast, fresh grape tomato salad

Sweetened rice vinegar adds an unexpected level of flavor to an extremely fast and simple recipe, which turns grape tomatoes into an impressive dish.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Cauliflower Gratin

cauliflower gratin

Ina Garten to the rescue! Her rich take on cauliflower provides a hearty side dish or meat-free entree that can be prepared the night before.

Recipe: Food Network

Baked Carrot Fries

healthy baked carrot fries

Craving french fries? Perhaps you'll settle for carrot "fries" instead, once you taste this clever and healthy baked treat that comes together in a total of 30 minutes.

Recipe: 2teaspoons

Mushroom Pepper Stir Fry

mushroom-pepper-onion stir-fry

This recipe was born on a camping trip, so it's pretty straightforward and involves only a handful of basic ingredients. The dish can be finished in an hour.

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

Broccoli Salad

broccoli salad

Trisha Yearwood shared her broccoli salad recipe on a graduation-picnic episode of "Trisha's Southern Kitchen." It's not only easy but also savory enough to serve all year.

Recipe: Food Network

Cauliflower Soup

cauliflower soup

This recipe uses up not only cauliflower but carrots and celery to boot. Cheese and a dash of hot sauce add depth.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Roasted Broccoli

roasted garlic lemon broccoli

This is a simple — simple — recipe that's so highly rated you might want to try it tonight. It can be made in less than a half-hour and requires only the most basic ingredients.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Tomato, Olive and Spinach Pasta

grape tomato, olive, and spinach pasta

This meatless pasta dish takes advantage of sweet grape tomatoes for its base. If penne's not your thing, sub with a preferred pasta. You can also use cherry tomatoes or larger sliced tomatoes.

Recipe: Cooking Light

Greek Pasta Salad

easy greek pasta salad

If you like your pasta cold, check out this recipe. It's a potluck-perfect, make-ahead dish that's got a bit of heft to it, especially when you add the optional grilled chicken.

Recipe: Spend With Pennies

Broccoli Soup

pureed broccoli soup

Even with an optional touch of half-and-half, you can feel virtuous as you enjoy this gluten-free, high-fiber, vegetarian soup using broccoli and celery.

Recipe: Eating Well

Grilled Mixed Peppers

grilled mixed peppers

Calling leftover peppers of every kind — you're going into this easy, 30-minute recipe that packs a punch of vitamin A.

Recipe: Good Housekeeping

Roasted Cauliflower

balsamic & parmesan roasted cauliflower

Chase winter's chill with this earthy side dish, where low-calorie and low-carb don't mean less taste. Roasting nicely browns the cauliflower, and the recipe can be made in 35 minutes.

Recipe: Eating Well

Broccoli salad slaw

light & easy broccoli salad

This healthy spin on a Southern favorite uses all parts of leftover broccoli florets, not just the stems. It also pares back the amount of mayonnaise for a lighter approach. Dried cranberries can be subbed for currants.

Recipe: The Kitchn

Thai Celery Salad

thai celery salad with peanuts

Take that basic celery and serve up a super-simple, restaurant-quality dish that bursts with flavor thanks to cilantro, lime juice, and fish sauce.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

Roasted Butter Carrots
Tatiana Volgutova/istockphoto

roasted brown butter honey garlic carrots

So, brown butter, honey, garlic ... oh, yes, there are carrots in there, as well. This recipe will have you starting to drool before it's done, and it takes only 25 minutes to make.

Recipe: The Recipe Critic

Broccoli bread

broccoli bread

Bet you didn't see this one coming — leftover broccoli can be turned into bread. This recipe is a savory offering with a touch of sweetness, comparable to a cornbread, and loaded with fiber and calcium.

Recipe: Cooking Light

Carrots Amandine

carrot 'n' celery amandine

Carrots and celery get a crunchy boost from toasted almonds in this one-pot side dish that comes together in 15 minutes.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Vegan Portobello Steak with Julienned Collard Greens, Broccoli and Noodle Stir Fry
Vegan Portobello Steak with Julienned Collard Greens, Broccoli and Noodle Stir Fry by Jeffrey Coolwater (CC BY-NC-ND)

simple mushroom broccoli stir-fry noodles

This quick, thrifty, and tasty recipe transforms tired broccoli into a main course in minutes. (Although the recipe calls for frozen broccoli, you can sub in the fresh florets you have left over.)

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Carrot Ginger Soup

carrot soup with ginger and lemon

Go for fresh ginger and you'll be rewarded with a zesty soup ideal for lunch, dinner, or anytime you need warming up. Lemon peel adds an extra kick.

Recipe: Epicurious

Veggie Omelet

veggie stuffed omelet

This recipe leans on peppers, but feel free to experiment with whatever veggies you have on hand for a one-of-a-kind creation.

Recipe: The It Mom

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

cauliflower crust pizza

Valerie Bertinelli's recipe is for intermediate-level chefs, but if you want to make the most of that cauliflower, it's time to step up. At least one reviewer praised this as "a wonderful, gluten-free way to enjoy the taste of pizza."

Recipe: Food Network