Christmas leftovers

So it might be a bit random to be writing about Christmas dinner leftovers in February but I wanted to make some notes for next [this] year as I was pleased with how Christmas cooking went last Christmas.

First up was that I went for the very easy option with the turkey. And also did a tiny head count and realised that with only 2.5 people actually eating it in our house at Christmas, there was no point getting anything any bigger. This is a very very easy M and S turkey breast, which you just stick in the oven in the tray it comes in. It was perfect. It did Christmas dinner, and then I turned the remains into turkey pie on Boxing Day. And that was it. No turkey hanging around for days and days and days. Yes, per kg it’s more expensive than buying a turkey sized turkey but there was no waste at all so it felt like value for money.

I got the big bags of “a little less than perfect” carrots and parsnips and am still none the wiser about why they’re considered a little less than perfect. Definitely getting them again. They were also incredibly cheap AND on special offer with sprouts and potatoes so even cheaper – it was something like all your Christmas veg for £2, and that was enough to last us a week! Our online shopping is with Ocado, hence the Waitrose products.

Then there was the trifle, which was extremely yummy. I used up the leftover glacé cherries from the Christmas cake on top of it. I had half a pack of sponge fingers leftover from making the trifle, so I made a sort-of trifle in early January, involving soaking them in a bit of orange juice, adding some frozen blueberries and some custard on top. This was also very tasy!


Finally, the Christmas cake. I decided to make mini ones, based on this Lakeland recipe, mainly because, with hardly any of us here to eat it, it ended up hanging around for ages. Last year I ended up eating about two thirds of it myself, which isn’t ideal as I have to go for a diabetic blood test in January to get a profile of my blood sugar control over the last three months (I’m not diabetic, but I did have Gestational Diabetes, which puts me at much higher risk of developing diabetes in the future, hence the annual blood test).

The mini cakes worked brilliantly. We ate one of them over Christmas itself, and sent my Mum home with one. The other one we then ate up before we got back to work, without feeling like we were eating endless Christmas cake.

Another short cut I did was buying ready-made brandy sauce, having discovered its existence last year. I’m trying to maintain traditions from both my family and the OH’s, who had custard with their Christmas pudding, whereas we always had brandy sauce, and I couldn’t be bothered to make both on the day!

What do you make with your Christmas leftovers and what shortcuts do you use for Christmas cooking?


  1. I love Christmas cooking. The only shortcuts I do is in preparing things early. Christmas cake in October, cranberry jelly as soon as fresh cranberries hit the shops, freeze breadcrumbs as they are available. Admittedly, this year we ate Christmas dinner at my sister’s so that saved a lot of effort. However, I still cooked all the trimmings on boxing day so we could eat leftovers all week.
    There’s a brilliant leftover pie in the Pie Minister book. Basically you make a creamy sauce and add all the leftovers to it and then cover in pastry. The other good leftover is to get two tins of croissant dough, lay them in a ring put leftovers in then fold over the points and bake.


  2. Looks like a very yummy and successful Christmas meal!

    We always do a mish-mash of German and British traditions. If we are at home we tend to cook a goose because that’s my (German) traditional Christmas meal and we all prefer it. It’s also a lot less elaborate than the British meal, because it’s only served with red cabbage and potato dumplings and that’s it! I also cheat shamelessly with both the red cabbage (tinned, brought over from Germany by relatives) and the potato dumplings (out of a packet), but this is normal – I don’t really know anyone in Germany who makes all this from scratch.

    The next day I tend to turn the goose carcass into soup, the leftover dumplings get sliced and fried in a bit of butter with the rest of the goose meat, and if I have goose fat left over (not cooked), I sometimes make Gaenseschmalz, which is goose fat, pork fat, onion, apple, pepper and salt, all fried up together and then cooled in the fridge until set. It’s delicious on sour-dough bread. 🙂


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