Your Christmas Leftover Survival Guide

Christmas is about giving, not throwing away, but it's almost inevitable you're going to end up with a whole heap of leftovers. Follow Bella's top tips on how you can survive the festive season without accumulating food for days (or months!).

We've all been there - LEFTOVERS. It's a love/hate relationship. The first day is awesome. When you roll out of bed with a sparkling shiraz inspired hangover, there is no better cure than a thick slice of ham on toast with plenty of butter and a slathering of dijon. By the time day five rolls around, you promise yourself you'll never eat ham again (until next Christmas, that is). Here are my top tips on how you can balance generosity and sensibility, and not have an over-abundant supply of food.

Quality over quantity

Focus on quality rather than quantity, with these following tips:

- 400g of protein is more than enough per person, so do a little bit of maths before you go shopping
- Consider making either turkey or ham rather than both, or buy a smaller cut
- Even if your budget means you buy less, try to get the best quality Australian prawns rather than cheaper unsustainably sourced imports
- Make sure you invite anyone who may be lonely on Christmas
- Provide plenty of fresh light salads and go easy on the bread and heavy carbs
- Have some recycled takeaway containers handy to send your guests home with leftovers

Recycled ham recipe ideas

Leftover ham freezes very well for up to three months, so try it with these recipes:

- It's ideal for making pea and ham soup - use the skin and bone to make a rich and delicious stock, and the chopped up meat should be added to the soup at the last minute so it doesn't overcook.

- Leftover ham makes a fantastic tortilla espanola, a traditional Spanish potato and egg dish

- Chopped up ham meat can be defrosted and added to quiche, risotto, potato salad, a mac n cheese bake, toasted sandwiches, pizzas, or try it with your next slow cooked braise or pie recipe. It’s excellent with a boeuf bourguignon or chicken, leek and mushroom pie.

Recycled turkey recipe ideas

Turkey doesn't freeze very well as it's a dryer meat. To help rehydrate dry turkey, shred and let it soak in some of its cooking juices, adding a touch of water or stock if necessary. It's best to use it up right away with one of these recipe ideas:

- Try a summer turkey and grilled peach salad with a dressing made with leftover cranberry sauce (a variant of our turkey and nectarine salad)

- Or try a turkey waldorf salad, with plenty of crunchy cos, walnuts, and apples

- If you’re after something a bit retro – try my grandma’s curried turkey salad, it’s addictively 70’s, we promise! Chop the turkey, and mix with corn kernels, chopped fresh pineapple, cheddar cheese, chives and a generous dressing made with lashings of mayo and Keen's curry powder. It’s even tastier when left to marinate in the fridge overnight, and is fantastic as a sandwich filling, or toss with some crunchy lettuce for a quick salad.

Seafood leftovers (?)

I doubt you'll have much seafood leftover....but if you do, mix it all up and make some delicious seafood arancini! They freeze really well and are fantastic to pull out for cocktail parties and summer entertaining throughout the season. 

Dessert leftovers

And last but not least, the sweltering Australian Christmas usually means there’s always leftover Christmas pudding and brandy custard. Why not make a hot-weather friendly semifreddo with the leftovers? 

Happy Christmas from Sammy & Bella, and all our family! We wish you all the very best, with loads of f-words – family, friends and fun!

Take a look at our full collection of Christmas Leftover Recipes! 

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