5 Ways to Use Leftover Christmas Dishes

5 Ways to Use Leftover Christmas Dishes

Don't let your Christmas party leftovers go to waste! Here are some ideas on what you can make with them.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m cooking for a once-a-year occasion like Christmas, I go all out and make extras to last me a few days while I’m at it! I love leftovers and the endless number of permutations I can make with them. 

Leftover vegetables can go into frittatas, roast chicken can be torn up and mixed with potatoes to make delicious begedils, and leftover cheese can be used in rice or a pasta bake, like a yummy Kimchi Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, Cheesy Baked Tomato Fried Rice, or a Masala Baked Chicken Rice. Pro tip: mix together a selection of cheeses for the ultimate flavor bomb! 

Here are some of my favorite things I like to do with leftovers:

1. Toasties

Cheesy toasties. Photo: Getty

Almost everything can go in a toastie - leftover proteins, sauces, vegetables...you name it!

For me, a star toastie should include cheese (anything from cheddar to halloumi to blue cheese), a spread (mustard, ginger scallion sauce, Kewpie mayonnaise), a protein (ham or shredded roast chicken/lamb/beef/pork), and an acidic element (pickled onions, kimchi, jalapeños). Leftover grilled vegetables or mushrooms would be a good addition too! 

Pro tip: brush some Kewpie mayonnaise on the exterior of the bread that will be in contact with your pan. This will form a golden-brown umami crust on your toastie - heaven!

Related: 10 Of The Cheesiest Cheese Recipes Ever

2. Flaky Pizza

Sprinkle your favorite toppings on leftover puff pastry for a Flaky Pizza. Photo: Getty 

If you have leftover puff pastry, Flaky Pizza would be the perfect canvas for using leftovers on, and it is incredibly easy to make! There are no rules to the toppings, so go ahead and use whatever you have on hand! 

Here's a simple recipe for a Japanese-Inspired Flaky Pizza:

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 can tuna flakes, drained
  • 3 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise
  • 3 oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ onion, sliced into rings
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Handful of shredded cheese
  • Shredded seaweed
  • Bonito flakes
  • Cilantro

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Defrost the puff pastry - either leave it in the fridge overnight, or take it out into room temperature for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Fold in ½” of each side on itself to create a crust, and prick the rest of the base. Blind bake in the oven for 8 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the tuna with the Kewpie mayonnaise.
  5. Once the pastry is ready, remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 180ºC. On the pizza, layer the tuna, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and onion. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle cheese all over the pizza. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Top with seaweed, bonito flakes, cilantro, and a drizzle of Kewpie mayonnaise, and serve!

Related: 10 Sweet and Savory Pastry Recipes to Make at Home

3. Shakshuka

One-Pan Curry Shakshuka

Shakshuka is one of my go-to dishes for leftovers because they’re so versatile! If you have picky eaters at home, this dish is a great vehicle to sneak vegetables in! Best part of it all, the clean-up is easy because all you need is one pan. 

Traditionally, it is done with a tomato base, however you can also make it with leftover curries or stews for an Asian twist! Here is an easy Thai-style Shakshuka recipe that you can use leftover red curries in. It is a meatless recipe, however if you have leftover sausages, they could go in too and add lots of flavor! If you want to keep it vegetarian, pulses such as chickpeas and lentils would add great texture to the dish too.

Related: Spice Up Your Life With Amazing Asian Curries

4. Stuffed Peppers

Stuff your bell peppers with leftover proteins and cheese. Photo: Getty

Another easy and presentable way to use up leftovers is to stuff it into a bell pepper! Once again, almost anything can go in here. Go ahead with leftover proteins, grains, and top it off with some cheese to bake till bubbly and golden brown!

Here is a recipe you can make with leftover chicken curry:

Ingredients:

  • 3 bell peppers, with tops sliced off
  • 1 cup curry chicken
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Combine the curry chicken and chickpeas and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Brush the tops of the peppers with olive oil, and fill it with the chicken and chickpea mixture.
  4. Bake for 35min at 200ºC, or until the peppers are tender.
  5. Remove from the oven and top with shredded cheese, and return to the oven for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese turns golden brown.
  6. Serve with a side salad and enjoy!

Related: Don't Bin It: How to Turn Food 'Waste' into Something Delicious

5. Tacos

Assemble your own tacos. Photo: Getty

If you have guests coming over the day after a big dinner, there’s no need to fuss over cooking up a new menu if you’ve got leftovers! This would be the perfect time to set up a Build-Your-Own Taco Bar! 

Aside from heading out to get some tortilla wraps and taco shells (depending on your preference), the only thing left to do is chopping and shredding the rest of the toppings!

This is my favorite way to use up roast chicken or pork! Tear the proteins up, and accompany that with some thinly shredded cabbage, mashed avocados, and sour cream. Any remaining gravies or sauces would go perfectly well too. 

Lay it all out and sit back and relax while your guests serve themselves!

Cooking with leftovers is something I really enjoy because it challenges my creativity, and more often than not, it turns out even more delicious than the original recipe because all the flavors had time to sit and develop over time. 

Let me know what some of your favorite leftover creations are! Happy Cooking and Happy Holidays!

 

Charlotte Mei is a nutritionist and self-taught cook based in Singapore. She frequently cooks up nutritious, delicious dishes - and the occasional indulgent treat too. Follow her on all her socials at @thecharlottemei.

For more delicious recommendations and recipes for Christmas, see our Festive Feasts page. 

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