Storage & Cooking

Savour Your Christmas Leftovers

It’s Christmas – a time for people to meet loved ones, to share a great dinner together… and enjoy the best leftovers of the year. However, it’s also a time when a lot of food goes to waste. With that in mind, here are some ideas that might help you to use some of your Christmas leftovers this year.

Turkey

Cooked turkey can be delicious in a panini, in a toasted sandwich, or cold. It’s great with cheese, lettuce or leftover veg. Turkey leftovers work well in many other hot dishes such as a creamy mushroom vol-au-vent. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not make a round-the-world after-Christmas-meal, like a Mediterranean tajine, a Chinese-style broth or (as recommended by our Belgian intern Perrine) a Belgian waterzooi with turkey, vegetables and any leftover cream.

Ham

If you ate too much of the Christmas dinner, you might want something light and easy to eat. It’s hard to beat the ham sandwich. Ham also works well in easily prepared dishes like omelettes, quiches, or pasta carbonara.

Brussels sprouts

Like them or loath them, chances are, there’ll be some Brussels sprouts leftover in your household this year. Use them up in a stir fry, try roasting them, or even eat them cold or raw in a salad if you’re starting into the health kick early.

Smoked salmon

As a chilled product, smoked salmon should be one of the first items to use up promptly after opening. Luckily, smoked salmon goes well with many ingredients, so it will not be too tricky to find a way to use it up. Salmon quiches (with goat’s cheese, spinach or leeks, for instance), or a smoked salmon omelette/scrambled eggs can be an easy and healthy way to eat the salmon that remains in your fridge. It can also be used to transform your wraps, paninis, toasted sandwiches, or pasta dishes into something really tasty. Yum!

Potatoes

Cooked potatoes can stay in a fridge for up to 3 or 5 days, and in the freezer for up to a year.

For a tasty second use, mash boiled/steamed potatoes with a pinch of nutmeg, and either butter, olive oil or cream or roast them in a pan. It’s possible to incorporate some boiled spuds into a puréed soup with other veg too.

A good way to transform mashed potatoes into something different is to make potato cakes and fry them in a hot pan.

Roasted potatoes rarely taste the same the following day when they’ve been heated in the microwave. Instead heat them by roasting again in the oven, or fry them up in pieces in a hot pan with some nice additions such as onions, ham pieces, herbs or spices.

Cranberries

Cranberries are a good addition to cakes, scones, muffins or yoghurts. Use up leftover cranberry sauce as an accompaniment to goat’s cheese, in a sandwich with cold turkey, or heat it up as a sweet treat to top ice cream.

Christmas pudding

Use up any leftover Christmas pudding by mixing it into vanilla ice cream or adding a small amount to muffin mix for festive buns. Another homemade gift idea is chocolate truffles with Christmas pudding inside, but be warned … this is one you may not want to part with.

Cream

Cream can be added to many different dishes at Christmas. Often it’s remembering that it’s there is the biggest challenge to using it up! Use a drop of opened cream to improve a soup, a sauce, mashed potatoes or a pasta dish. Use it up in scrambled eggs or a quiche, not forgetting those Irish coffees. It is Christmas after all.

Wine

The longevity of an opened bottle of wine depends on willpower but also a number of additional factors. The taste may alter within hours. The best way to keep a wine tasty for some days is to seal the bottle with a hermetic stopper (particularly for sparkling wines) and to store it in the fridge. Red wines tend to keep for longer than white and rosé wines.

If you don’t drink it, red or white wine can be used up in a sauce, for instance a cranberry sauce, or in different types of stews. Poached peers in red wine makes for a tasty dessert. It’s also possible to freeze wine in ice cube trays and use it in cooking at a later date.

Beer

We all know that it is not really very nice to drink an “old” beer. However, lots of resources have gone into producing it so let’s ensure that none goes to waste. Many beers, ales and stouts can be used as a good base for slow cooked stews. Leftover beers can be used up in batters, breads or sweet cakes such as a porter cake or chocolate Guinness cake.

For further information and advice regarding food safety at Christmas, visit safefood.eu

Cover photo by Claudio Schwarz @purzlbaum via Unsplash

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