How to Make The Most Out Of Christmas Leftovers

Food waste places a huge strain on our natural resources. By helping to reduce our food waste we are taking positive steps towards a more sustainable future.

Despite how hard we try there is bound to be leftovers after our Christmas Day celebrations and sadly a lot of food goes to waste.

Let’s fight food waste together with these tips from our Nutritionist and recipe creator Casey-Lee Lyons for how to make the most out of Christmas leftovers.

On Christmas Day

Keep your food cool as much as possible. Be mindful of how long food has been out for and try to return it to the fridge after clearing the table so you can make the most of leftovers and nothing goes to waste.

Store leftovers correctly

Cover leftovers and place straight in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible.

Store food in air tight, leaf proof containers. I recommend storing in clear containers so you easily see what you have inside. Stackable containers are ideal for easy storage and organisation and will make your leftovers look inviting. Make sure you label leftovers, including a date. When you open your fridge and can easily read labels you are more likely to be reminded of what you have to use up first.

Keep meat, fish and poultry in the coolest part of your fridge.In my Mitsubishi Electric Fridge I place these items in the coolest drawer, being the Supercool Chilling Case which stores at -3°C – 0°C.

I store deli meats and cheeses in my fridge’s Wide Chilled Case keeping them at approximately 0°C – 3°C.

Freeze any leftovers that you wont use straight away, ideally in portions to make it easy to reuse later. This is a great time saver for simple lunches or dinners ahead. Some fridges, like this model, have a specific shelf for “extra cooling” where food is not quite frozen but extra cool to keep fresher longer. This would be ideal for leftovers that contain meat, poultry or seafood.

Store fruit already cut separately to whole fruit. The moisture content of cut fruit can spoil uncut fruit and should be eaten first.

Be deliberate as to where you put your put your fruit and veg. Keep delicate fruit separately so you don’t bruise or it gets lost at the bottom. I keep delicate fruit such as berries and tomatoes on a designated shelf in my fridge.

Before refrigerating or freezing, remove cooked meat from bones/carcase and store in air tight containers.

Use a “first in, first out” rule. Eat the oldest food that went in first.

Be mindful of how long your fridge doors stay open so the temperature doesn’t change too much as well as helping the fridge to moderate its temperature when hot food goes in. Most modern refrigerators can handle hot food being placed into a fridge. The Mitsubishi Electric Fridge has an”instantly cool” function for exactly this! Or when your fridge door has been open too long and you want to cool the fridge back to temperature quickly.

Make the most of your leftovers

So what can we do with our Christmas leftovers? There are so many ways we can utilise leftover ingredients and meals to reduce waste. Here are some of my favourite ways to use up leftovers.

  • Portion leftovers into containers and freeze for upcoming family dinners. Portion out a full meal including protein and vegetables into each so you can easily defrost and reheat without fuss.
  • Label your leftover ingredients with a date and place a star next to the ones you know need to be eaten first. This takes the guessing away and makes things easier.
  • Get creative with leftovers. Take your leftover ingredients and be innovative with what you can make out of them. Changing the way you serve the same ingredients will make sure you don’t get bored of the same food.
  • Add spice to jazz things up. You can change flavours by adding spices, chilli or even fresh herbs to freshen meals up. Curry powder can also transform a recipe.
  • Use wilted herbs to make pesto or freeze in ice cube trays to use later.
  • Pesto will give an edge to any leftovers. Add to turkey, chicken, ham, veggies, sides to give them a lift.
  • Make up a quick creamy dressing to give new life to leftover salad ingredients or leftover veggies. Such as tahini + lemon juice + touch of water or extra virgin olive oil + lemon juice and fresh herbs.
  • Brunch is a great way to use up satisfying ingredients.
  • Leftover fruit can be frozen to add to smoothies
Here are some clever ways we can revamp your Christmas leftovers into meals your family will love:

Use leftover cooked turkey and chicken by:

  • Adding to salads. Thai style salads are great for adding shredded turkey or chicken to.
  • Making rice paper rolls
  • Add to pasta dishes
  • For simple sandwiches
  • Make a chicken or turkey pies
  • For family friendly tacos
  • Adding to quick and easy fritters.

Use leftover cooked ham by:

  • Adding to egg recipes such as quiche, frittata, baked eggs or omelettes
  • Pasta bake
  • Top you pizza
  • Make ham & egg burgers
  • Add to fried rice.

Use leftover roast veggies to:

  • Add to salads
  • Make breakfast hash
  • Bake savoury egg muffins with vegetables mixed in
  • Make a dip with leftover roasted vegetables.

I hope these tips inspire you to reduce food waste this Christmas and encourage you to enjoy delicious family meals using up your leftovers. For more tips on how to reduce food waste at Christmas read more here

Let’s fight food waste together and share your food waste tips and leftover hacks in our Facebook community or please leave your ideas in the comments below.

My Mitsubishi Electric Fridge has the latest features providing solutions to help reduce food waste and with the extra internal storage space and a deep freezer drawer perfect for freezing leftover meals. To find out more about my Mitsubishi Electric French Door Fridge or to have a sneak peak inside visit their website.

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