Here we are in that no-man’s land between Christmas and New Year when our fridges tend to be stuffed with a hotchpotch of leftovers in pots and bowls. From shredded turkey to the remnants of the cheese board, there’s always something that gets lost at the back!
I’m keen not to waste any of these morsels as they can so easily be transformed into another tasty meal. I don’t know about you but there’s something very satisfying about creating something from nothing. Plus when it seems like there’s always a family member or neighbour popping by, it’s handy to have something to rustle up at the last minute. I actually love leftover meals, as when I was growing up my mum would use every last thing up in her kitchen, usually in a soup or a stew.
So, if you can’t quite face another turkey sandwich or cheese and crackers buffet tea, here are five simple ideas to create a bit of magic with all those random leftovers:
1. Turkey Stronganoff With Soured Cream
This Eastern European-inspired recipe for a turkey stroganoff uses up leftover turkey (or any poultry, really) along with some red onions, mushrooms, mustard, soured cream and a few sprigs of dill.
It’s perfect for a buffet or for a quick family supper, and is in fact a firm family favourite for us all year round.
2. Polish-Style Open Turkey Sandwiches
Far more elegant than a bog-standard butty, these open sandwiches common to both Scandinavian and Eastern European cuisine, are the perfect vehicles for turkey (or other meat) leftovers.
Simply have a good loaf of rye or sourdough to hand and plenty of garnishes, such as radishes, pickles, tomatoes, cress, dill, sliced boiled eggs and kabanos (a type of smoked Polish sausage) and bingo, you’ve got a platter of loveliness to serve up to family or friends popping in for festive drinks.
3. Wholewheat Fettuccine with Kale
This comforting supper is taken from New York-based chef Amy Chaplin’s book At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. It’s perfect for any veggie guests you might be entertaining or if you’re just feeling like you’ve had enough meat!
Amy uses marinated goat’s cheese in her version, but I think any leftover creamy (or even crumbly) cheese can work well here. The recipe also calls for kale (cavolo nero) but you can happily use spinach in its place in this beautifully simple pasta dish.
4. French-Style Irish Beef Salad
Did you have roast beef over Christmas? Well here’s a wonderful protein-packed salad to make with the leftovers.
The tender slices of meat look stunning nestled amongst wedges of vibrant red tomatoes and yellow yolks of the boiled egg. I love the addition of lip-smacking capers, gherkins and French-style Dijon mustard dressing. All you need is a fresh baguette to serve on the side and a glass of chilled rosé.
5. Quick Risotto-Stuffed Vegetables
This recipe was born out of a virtually empty fridge and a visit from the cleverest cook in the work – aka my mum! It really does prove that you can make something out of virtually nothing.
We simply made a quick risotto using one of those two-minute pouches of rice, some vegetable stock and a tin of tomatoes. You could add some shredded turkey in with the rice before stuffing it into some pre-baked peppers. To pretty up the plates we served ours with some tiny cubed courgettes and a really good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
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What do you do with YOUR leftovers? I’d love to hear about the creations you’ve been rustling up, so share your ideas below!