What to do with your Christmas leftovers

After Christmas, the fridge is normally heaving with food and an awful lot of it is wasted. See the stats here for 2023 on the amount of food (including 2 million turkeys and 5 million Christmas puddings), tin foil and packaging that will end up in the bin.

In the first instance, try to use up food in your freezer in the weeks leading up to Christmas to make room for your leftovers. And when you are shopping try not to over-buy in the lead up to Christmas. Make a shopping list and try to stick to it and not be seduced by supermarket special offers.

And if you can keep your fridge cool between 0-5 degrees centigrade, this can help make your food last longer.

Countrysideonline.co.uk supports British farming and has lots of recipes for using up the traditional Christmas dinner. Here are more delicious ways to use up your leftovers:


According to Ruth Jordan from Priscilla’s Kitchen in East Garston, meat will be fine in the fridge for 3 days after your meal but she recommends taking it off the bone as soon as possible.  (FYI her trick on keeping a turkey moist is to add a lot of butter, and use a good stuffing and push it right through to the skin layer of the back, cover with streaky bacon which also adds fat and will keep in moisture. Cover with tin foil to keep steam in and baste regularly. Take off foil for last 20 minutes to crisp the skin).

Chicken & Chorizo Jambalaya
Leftover turkey can be used to make this tasty dish (and is easy to do in a slow cooker if you’ve got one).

Bubble and Squeak
Basically just chop up all your leftover veg (and some meat if you like), bind it with mashed potato ( or chopped up roasties), fry and serve with gravy. Quantities don’t have to be exact but here is a recipe.

Christmas Pie
Chop up all the leftovers (veg, meat, pigs in blankets, stuffing etc.) Fry in oil in a frying pan, then when crisping add the leftover gravy until hot, stirring in. Pour into a pie dish, cover with mash or sheet of pastry and cook in oven until crisp on top. Or cool without the top and freeze or refrigerate, and just add top and cook when you are going to eat it. Serve with fresh veg and gravy it just by itself!
Contributed by Rebecca Pay

Very Easy Chicken/Turkey, Bacon/Gammon & Mushroom with Puff Pastry Lids 
Heat up a large deep frying pan or saucepan, add the bacon/gammon and saute for a few minutes to create some fat, add the chopped mushrooms with a reasonable knob of butter and cook for another few minutes.

Add in some plain flour to make a roux and cook for 2 minutes.  Gradually add either homemade chicken stock (or from a cube) and stir to make a sauce then add in some double cream until you are happen with the consistency (or to make it even easier use a tin of mushroom or chicken soup)

For the pastry lid – use packet of puff pasty.  Roll out on a flour surface and cut 4 circles approximately 13 inch/5 inches diameter rounds.  Place lids on a baking sheet, brush with beaten egg and bake for 15 minutes – Fan oven 200, conventional 220, gas mark 7.

Serve the chicken mix with the lid on top and serve with green vegetables.
Contributed by Nicola Wood

Leftover Vegetable Soup
Chop up all the vegetables you have in the fridge – don’t worry too much about the size.

Heat 2 tbsps of vegetable oil in a large saucepan, saute any onions, leeks and carrots for a few minutes, then add the rest eg artichokes, broccoli (the bigger the stem the better), potatoes and cauliflower.  Saute for another few minutes until slightly softened

Add 1 litre hot stock, bring to the boil cover and simmer for 25 minutes until all the vegetables are soft. Leave it cool slightly and blend.Lovely served with grated cheese and crusty bread.
Contributed by Nicola Wood

Turkey & Cheese Soup
Dice the cooked turkey (or chicken) into small pieces, add to gravy stock with the juice from the meat, single cream, grated cheese, a pinch of salt and blend! Easy.
Contributed by Michael Anson

Turkey Chowder
See this Jamie Oliver video for inspiration.


Cranberry Ice Cream or Smoothie
Blitz homemade cranberry sauce and cream/custard and freeze as ice cream or add lemon juice and water/fruit juice for a smoothie.

Easy peasy Ice Cream with Christmas Pudding or Mincemeat (from Mary Wilson)
Whip together one large pot of double cream and half a small tin of sweet condensed milk until reasonably stiff.

Add crumbled Christmas pudding or mincemeat.   Mix well and freeze.  NO NEED TO TAKE OUT AND WHIP!!  Line a plastic tub with clingfilm and then turn it out and slice it, rather than spooning it out.

Christmas Quesadilla
Penny made up this Christmas Quesadillas recipe with tortillas, leftover Christmas pudding, cake or mincemeat and grated cheddar. It sounds weird but tastes great!

Festive Rocky Road
Melt any leftover chocolates, blitz leftover biscuits and nuts and pour into a shallow dish and put in the fridge. Slice and enjoy!

Mini Christmas Pudding Truffles
If you’ve got any Christmas pudding left or some mincemeat left over, Mini Christmas Pudding Truffles are a fun idea for using them up.


Got a few unfinished bottles of plonk around the house that you can’t face? Did you know that you can freeze wine? Click here for tips including freezing wine in an ice-cue tray for cooking or making sangria etc (freezing can affect the flavour so you might not want to drink it straight)





Photo credit: (c) Can Stock Photo / AndreyPopov


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