Easy Food dishes on Christmas leftovers

Easy Food dishes on Christmas leftovers, easyfood

What’ll Christmas dinner be without lots of leftovers? Past and present Easy Food team members dishes on their favourite ways of using leftovers to create some of the tastiest meals ever.

Christmas leftovers, Caroline Gray, easyfood

Caroline Gray, Editor

“In a way, the Christmas dinner is almost a means to an end — the end being my all-time favourite leftovers sandwich. Forget eggs or toast, my go-to breakfast (and lunch… and dinner…) on 26 December onwards is always a plain croissant smeared with cranberry sauce and a bit of mayo, topped with warm turkey, a layer of stuffing and a healthy drizzle of gravy. Christmas isn’t officially over until the last provisions to make this sandwich run out!”

Christmas leftovers, Jocelyn Doyle, easyfood

Jocelyn Doyle, Deputy Editor

“Anything involving cheese is right up my alley, and this extra-special mac ‘n’ cheese is the ideal comfort food for that ‘lost week’ between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I love how it turns out slightly differently every time, depending on which cheeses you have in the fridge. Make a roux from butter and flour, then gradually stir in full-fat milk to make a béchamel sauce. Grate any hard cheeses you have left over and add to the sauce, then chop or crumble any softer cheeses and stir in until they’re all completely melted. Season with black pepper and stir in some shredded ham, turkey and Brussels sprouts. Add cooked macaroni or other short pasta and stir to combine, then transfer to a baking dish and scatter over some breadcrumbs. Bake at 180˚C/160˚C fan/gas mark 4 for around 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the edges are bubbling. Pour yourself a nice glass of wine and dig in!”

Christmas leftovers, shannon peare, easyfood

Shannon Peare, Food Stylist

“Ever since I was small, I’ve always believed dinner tasted better the next day. After consuming a large quantity of ‘real ham sandwiches’ in my pyjamas over two days, there comes a time for something different. My Mam makes a delicious mushroom and white wine sauce, adding in the leftover veg, turkey and ham. In a large pot, fry off some onion and add 1 tin of cream of mushroom soup. If you have leftover white wine, stir in a half a tin; otherwise use water. Stir in chopped turkey, ham, carrots and some peas. Allow to simmer on the hob until slightly thickened, then add to a casserole dish and top with a puff pastry lid. Bake the pie at 180˚C/160˚C fan/gas mark 4 for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and serve with mash or rice. This is one of my favourite dinners, and sometimes my Mam transforms it into puff pastry parcels. After dinner, there’s nothing better than curling up in your Christmas pyjamas watching a comedy DVD with the whole family and enjoying more Christmas goodies.”

Christmas leftovers, Pauline smyth, easyfood

Pauline Smyth, Food Stylist

“I’m guilty of making enough food to feed an army… although, if I’m honest, it gets me out of cooking for a couple of days! The big question is how best to transform turkey, ham and all the trimmings into leftover delights; I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say ‘Oh no, not ham again.’ I have a little Christmas notebook where I write up my leftover recipes if they turn out tasty — at this stage it’s ragged, but it has become a treasure over the years. For my family, some of these recipes have become as traditional as turkey and ham, and one of our favourites is Christmas couscous. Cover 250g couscous with 400ml turkey or chicken stock and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Fry 4 shallots in butter until soft, then toss in with 250g each of shredded turkey and ham, along with some fresh parsley and thyme and 50g toasted pistachios. Gently fold the turkey mixture into the couscous and season to taste. Sprinkle with 50g each of pomegranate seeds and dried cranberries. Roll 250g leftover stuffing into balls and fry gently in butter, then use to top the couscous. Sprinkle with a little extra parsley and some chopped pistachios.”

Christmas leftovers, Aga, easyfood

Agnieszka Wypych, Photographer

“Binning the leftover food has always been a big NO in my family house, and thus I always try to reincarnate leftovers and use them for lunch the following day. There are many great recipes that require pre-cooked ingredients, so try to plan your meals in advance or just get creative with what you already have. I love Brussels sprouts and usually make more to enjoy the next day in a quick frittata with bacon and Gruyère. Preheat the oven and position a rack 15cm from the top. In a small ovenproof pan over a medium heat, cook 100g diced bacon until softened. Add 1 chopped shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, beat 4 large eggs with 2 tbsp milk and some seasoning. Stir in 60g grated Gruyère and some snipped chives. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook for five minutes over a medium heat until the eggs start to set and the bottom is lightly browned. Transfer to the oven and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the centre is just set. Run a rubber spatula around the edges and slide it onto a serving plate, then cut it into slices and serve.”

Christmas leftovers, charisse van kan, easyfood

Charisse van Kan, Food Stylist

“An impressive but quick and easy way to use up leftover Christmas cake, pudding, mince pies or panettone is to turn them into this dessert that you can keep in the freezer for a festive party or delicious treat. Line a standard sized pudding bowl or loaf tin with three layers of cling film. You will need 1½L good quality ice cream (either vanilla or salted caramel), along with your leftover baked goods. For extra flavour, you can add vanilla extract, caramel sauce or — for a boozy indulgent adult version — some salted caramel Baileys. Take ice cream out of the freezer and allow to come to room temperature. Tip it into a large bowl, crumble in your baked goods and stir in your chosen flavouring. Spoon the mixture into your pudding bowl or loaf tin and freeze until set. To serve, remove from its container and top with salted caramel sauce or melted chocolate. Slice and enjoy!”