What to do with Christmas Leftovers?

I know, I know, I know! You haven't even thought about Christmas Dinner in all that much detail let alone what you are going to do with the Christmas Leftovers! The thing is that this one meal (The Christmas Day Roast) is probably one of the most expensive meals that you are going to make all year and making sure that you get your moneys worth means that you do have to start planning now about how to use the leftovers. Maximise the number of meals that you get from the leftovers and suddenly the extravagance doesn't seem that bad. Hopefully my suggestions of a few recipes will help you decide what to do with your Christmas Leftovers!
A Christmas Dinner - What would you do with the Leftovers?

So why are there always so much leftover after the Christmas meal? I believe that it is due to the number of courses, the infrequency in which we prepare feasts such as this and also because we think that a well fed family is a happy family. A normal meal that you have during a working week may have two courses. Normally this would be a main meal and a pudding. When you go out for a meal you might push the boat out and have a starter and a main meal and split a pudding but for me and many others Christmas Dinner is three courses. If like some families Christmas dinner takes on epic proportions you might find that it takes several hours to eat (when I was young it would regularly take over four hours for us to eat the meal) and you might stretch to four or possibly five courses.

What are these courses? Why do they cause so much confusion and over buying of produce? A traditional United Kingdom Christmas Dinner is a starter, followed by a main course, followed by the pudding (this is where we would stop), then a Cheese course and lastly Coffee and chocolates. And to explain further as to why someone might over buy let me explain what these courses are.

The Starter

Well we can blame the French for this course. It was them who invented it according to history. This course is a prelude to the rest of the meal, a sort of warm up for the main event. A starter can be almost anything that you fancy. Top Ender and Big Boy will often have a starter of melon and grapes, whilst I prefer something like Salmon or Prawns and Daddy loves to have Pate as his starter. You can of course have an onion tart, a soup, a salad, stuffed mushrooms, potted crab or anything else that you love. Talking of which I wonder if I could have that baked Brie again this year...

The Main Course

The main course is generally some form of roast at Christmas; Traditionally it is Roast Turkey (or Goose, or Chicken, or Duck, or Capon, or Pheasant, or Roast Beef, Or Baked Ham or even Pork!) served with Stuffing, Vegetables (such as Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cabbage, Peas, and more besides!) Sausages wrapped in bacon, Roast Parsnips, Roast Potatoes, Boiled Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, New Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Redcurrant Jelly and if you are lucky like me, Yorkshire Puddings too. Oh and don't forget the Gravy and Bread Sauce!

The Pudding

The pudding could of course be Christmas Pudding, or Christmas Cake, Trifle, or Ice Cream, a Bombe, a Torte, or fresh fruit or even some Mince Pies. In our house it's normally a combination of all of those things with cream. And of course cream comes in all different sorts, single, double, clotted, thick, Brandy, whipped and Daddy's favourite in a can to squirt.

The Cheese Course

Three of four cheeses served with grapes and bread and crackers. You can create your own cheeseboard, buy one preprepared or even just grab a couple of your favourites from the fridge. With so many festive cheeses on sale at this time of year it is very easy to end up buying more than three or four different sorts though.

Coffee and Chocolates

My family would always "retire to the Living Room" when coffee and chocolates were served. They would be accompanied by a dram of Whisky, or a glass of Port or Sherry and in some cases a snifter of Brandy! This was the time to relax and to let the food settle and these drinks were enjoyed and savoured. For the children or non drinkers you can serve punch or fruit juices or virgin cocktails and I always made a cup of tea or a mug of Hot Chocolate for those who were in the mood.

As you can see when you look at the variety and choice that is available to anyone preparing a Christmas Dinner there are plenty of reasons to buy more than you need and to subsequently have to find new and creative ways of using up the Christmas Leftovers. So check back for the rest of this month for some ideas of dishes you can make with your Christmas Leftovers! And if you want a quick link here they are;

Turkey Soup or Scottish Broth
Turkey Pie
Pasta Bake (two different dishes)
Turkey Sandwich
Turkey Salad