Never sure what to do with your Christmas leftovers?

‘Christmas time, mistletoe and wine…’ and copious amounts of food, glorious food! The question that might play on one’s mind though is what else can be done with all the Christmas leftovers other than just turning them into a turkey sandwich? We have a few ideas for you as well as a selection of our own tried and tested leftover dishes to (hopefully!) inspire you.

The 25th of December is one of the few days of the year when it seems to be a necessity to prepare enough food to feed more than triple the number of guests we’re expecting for lunch or dinner. Perhaps this is because it is also the one day of the year when we relax our strict dietary monitoring and enjoy the indulgent feast, time and time again. However, regardless of the number of times we pile our plates high with another delicious serving, there is invariably enough food left over to last for another week.

There are countless dishes you can prepare with the leftovers but often we just can’t think beyond turning them into a sandwich to satisfy our hunger. Hopefully these tips will help give you some post-Christmas culinary inspiration:

  • Use a selection of your leftover ingredients to make a hearty soup.
  • Add flavor to your breakfast omelet with uneaten ham or vegetables.
  • Use leftover meat (chicken, beef, turkey) to make a tasty stir-fry.
  • Create a casserole by combining chicken, vegetables, rice noodles and chicken soup for an easy all-in-one meal.
  • Bake a savoury pie with leftover meat plus a variety of delicious veggies.

We (being the rather foodie ladies in the office) have put together our own tried and tested suggestions for Christmas leftover dishes, which will hopefully give you a flash of inspiration when you open the door to your fridge on Boxing Day.

A Wholesome Idea

Gaby says ‘I love Christmas leftovers, and never get bored of eating bits of the same meal over and over again. I do, however, seriously object to eating cold leftovers when it is freezing cold outside. We normally eat this after a long walk on Boxing Day – it takes about 10 minutes to heat up.’

  • Roast potatoes chopped up into large cubes
  • Leftover vegetables (roughly chopped) – parsnips – if any left, carrots, Brussels sprouts, peas
  • Turkey
  • Bread Sauce
  • Gravy

Strip the turkey and flake the meat. Add to a saucepan with all the other ingredients and some boiling water. Cook over a low heat until all heated through. Season with black pepper and serve!

Gingerbread Delights

Liis says ‘My family has an annual tradition of baking gingerbread biscuits. Although my childhood years of

creating and decorating Hansel & Gretel gingerbread houses have now passed, we still enjoy the baking side of things which is done with gusto. We inevitably end up with a huge pile of biscuits that smell great, taste great (sometimes even look great), but no-one is realistically able to eat such a mountain of biscuits.’

We have come up with a few ideas over the years for what to do with the excess supply:

• Turn them into a cheesecake
• Blend them into breadcrumbs
• Be generous and give them away
• Freeze them

Sunnier Climes

Laura says ‘A traditional Christmas for me is one spent in the Southern Hemisphere when summer is at its peak in December. Family and close friends usually get together to enjoy a typical ‘braai’ or barbecue as it is more commonly known. An assortment of meat is cooked and there is always plenty left over to nibble on after Christmas day.

Lunch and dinner on Boxing Day is usually a make-it-yourself affair. I usually opt for something simple to prepare:

  • Chicken, avocado and mayonnaise in a fresh, crispy roll with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Potato salad and cold meat with a mixed salad
  • Barbecued chicken salad with feta cheese, plum tomatoes, mixed peppers, green olives, pine nuts and avocado. Drizzled with an infusion of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, herbs, crushed garlic and lemon juice.

Veggies in the Spotlight

Alex says ‘I come from a totally vegetarian family where leftover turkey sandwiches brimming with cranberry sauce are a definite no-go… so Christmas leftovers always focus on the vegetables and the annual untouched bowl of Brussels sprouts.

This is my dad’s favourite Boxing Day treat…’

Heat turmeric, cumin seeds, ground coriander, paprika and a small amount of cinnamon in a pan for a few minutes in order to cook the flavours and natural oils out, and then add vegetable oil, a chopped onion and the glorious Brussels sprouts (halved). Add lots of chopped fresh tomatoes and some vegetable stock and simmer. The slower and longer you allow this to cook, the better it will taste!

When ready to serve add fresh coriander and serve with boiled rice or naan bread… And as it is Christmas – some luxury chutneys.

It’s the perfect non-conventional Christmas curry.