Updated: Dec 27, 2022
One of our favourite parts of hosting Christmas dinner is all the leftovers; there's so much fun that can be had with all this food! A recent survey by Waitrose found that over half of shoppers overbuy during the festive period resulting in 13% of food being thrown in the bin.
More than a third of shoppers confessed to being unsure of how to use up certain leftovers, with sprouts, cheese and cranberry sauce topping the list of tricky foods. Not only is perfectly good food getting thrown away, but also the resources used to grow it and the money you bought it with!
In this blog post, you'll find some super simple recipes which will hopefully help you to waste a little bit less food this Christmas. And remember, it's not all about perfection. Relax, enjoy yourselves, and use these recipes to inspire some kitchen creativity this Christmas!
If you have lots of leftovers, it might be worth freezing some of them straight away! Check out our previous blog post for freezing tips.
Skip to recipes:
Roast Potatoes → Loaded Potatoes
Everyone loves potatoes, but over Christmas, you might have had rather a lot of roasties. If you have any leftovers, you can either freeze them for once your penchant for potatoes returns or turn them into a new and exciting dish!
Whatever other toppings you have (I’m thinking any leftover meat, cranberry sauce, gravy etc.)
Layer potatoes on a roasting tray and cover with your chosen toppings
Generously grate any leftover cheese from your Christmas day cheeseboard over the top
Whack under the grill until the cheese has gone all melty, bubbly, and golden and ensure your spuds have heated through nicely
If one recipe to spice up your spuds wasn’t enough, you’ve got to try these seriously tasty taters below:
Roast Potatoes → Bombay Roast Potatoes
1 onion, sliced
A nob of ginger, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large Green chilli, finely diced
½ a tin of chopped tomatoes
A handful of coriander, stalks and leaves separated
A splash of vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garam masala
A pinch of chilli powder
Leftover roast potatoes
Add your onions, chilli, and finely sliced coriander stalks to a saucepan on medium heat and cook for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Then add your cumin and mustard seeds and toast for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
Next, add your ginger, garlic, and ground spices and fry on a low heat for another few minutes until fragrant.
Then add your tinned tomatoes and stir well. Top up with water and let it simmer covered for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
Tip in the potatoes and cook for three to five minutes to absorb the flavours. Check the seasoning, stir in the chopped coriander and serve.
Leftover Potatoes → Gnocchi with Pesto
This is another great way to use up spare potatoes and flour and is great if you want a little break from Christmas food. It can also be really fun to make with kids. You can easily jazz these up with any herbs or greens you have lying around by making a simple pesto! The classics include basil, but I also love to use up broccoli stalks, carrot tops, leftover herbs and kale this way! Let the contents of your fridge guide you. Sauteed garlic mushrooms? Yes, please!
1kg floury potatoes, peeled
100g plain flour
Add the potatoes to salted boiling water for 10-15 minutes until soft (test with a knife).
Strain the potatoes and mash them until they are lump-free
Make a hollow in the potatoes and add some of the flour. Using a fork, combine the flour mix, adding more as necessary but as little as possible to keep the lovely flavour of the potatoes. Top tip: the less you work the dough, the lighter it’ll be!
On a floured surface, roll out the dough into sausages about 2cm thick. Pinch into little pillows about 3cm in length – this is your basic gnocchi.
Now gently roll each piece down the back of a fork to add grooves, which will help your sauce to stick
Cook in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes – as soon as they come up to the surface, they’re ready. Remove with a slotted spoon and toss with melted butter
Any Leftovers → Boxing Day Toasties
There’s nothing better than a deliciously oozy toastie on Boxing Day. I might even go as far as to say it's better than Christmas dinner itself. You can really cater to your own preferences here by using your imagination. An absolute winner for me is turkey, cranberry sauce and cheese. You could also do ham, chutney, bacon, tomato and mustard, or turkey, sprouts, stuffing and bread sauce! Fun extras to help you get creative include: chutney, cornichons, spring onions, chilli flakes, or even parsnip brings a delicious flavour!
The tricks to a fabulous toastie are:
Lightly butter the outside of the bread
Allow your toastie maker to get up to temperature before putting the sandwich in
Try not to open the toastie maker during cooking
Don’t slice your bread too thin
Leftover Veg → Roasted Vegetables
If you’re overwhelmed with vegetables, roasting them is the perfect way to use them! It doesn’t matter if they’re looking a little sad, as this will give them a delicious new lease on life.
Literally any veg
Salt, oil and seasoning of your choice
Cut your veg into bite-size pieces
Toss them in olive oil, salt, and your favourite seasoning
Roast them at 160-180 degrees Celcius for around 45 minutes or until nice and golden
Leftover Gravy → Homemade Stock Cubes
Gravy can be hard work to make, and it’s not easy to repurpose it into leftovers. So, don’t repurpose it! Reduce it down to use again in any future dishes, such as casseroles, stews or pies to add some extra flavour without any hassle! It’s easy. Keep your gravy on the stove reducing down until nice and concentrated. Once your gravy has cooled, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. These frozen cubes can then be used when you need them by adding them straight to your cooking!
Leftover Wine or Juice → Poached Pears
Poached pears feel really luxurious but are also a very simple yet healthy dessert - the perfect antidote to all that Christmas food! You can poach pears in vanilla syrup, wine, or even leftover fruit juice!
4 pears, peeled, halved and cored
750ml pressed apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
750ml orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp lemon juice
20g greek yoghurt
Optional: chopped nuts, e.g. pistachios
1. Put the pears in a saucepan with the juice and other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and poach for 15 minutes.
2. Remove the pears. Then, boil the liquid for 8-10 minutes until thick and syrupy.
3. Mix 2 tbsp of the reduced liquor with the greek yoghurt, then serve with the pears.
4. Serve sprinkled with chopped nuts, and use more cooking liquor as a sauce.
Stale Mince Pies → Mince Pie Brownies
We can also confirm this recipe from BBC Good Food is GENIUS. Think gooey, indulgent brownies with bites of actual mince pie dotted throughout.
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