Reusing Christmas Leftovers

Transform holiday leftovers with these simple and creative recipes.
Related To:

If you feel apprehensive about serving cold meats or leftover desserts after the main event, or if you've over-cooked during the holidays, try these simple, delicious recipes that will use up those Christmas leftovers.

Parsnip and Apple Soup


2 leeks, washed and sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery sticks
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
6-8 leftover cooked parsnips or 3 raw parsnips, diced
3 apples, peeled and cored
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
salt and pepper
4 tbsp. heavy cream (optional)


1. Place the leeks, onion, carrots, celery and garlic into a saucepan and cook them until soft, but without taking on any color.

2. Add the parsnips and apples and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, and then add the cinnamon (optional).

3. Using a hand blender, blitz the soup until smooth. Adjust the seasoning, add the cream (optional) and serve.

Serves six to eight people

Pea and Ham Soup


1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 leeks, washed and sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups ham, diced
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
1 x 14 oz. bag frozen peas


1. Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks, onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and cook them until soft, but not taking on any color.

2. Add the ham, stock and seasoning, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the peas, bring the soup back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or so.

3. Using a hand blender, pulse the mixture until the soup has a rich, coarse texture. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Serves six to eight people

Winter Pilaf


1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
dried chili flakes — you choose amount
1 mug basmati rice
approximately 1 1/2 mugs chicken stock
a small handful golden raisins or raisins (optional)
some leftover chicken or turkey meat
1/2 mug peas (leftover or frozen)
salt and pepper
a pat of butter
a few toasted almonds or cashews (optional)
fresh cilantro, chopped (optional) 


1. Quickly fry the onion and garlic in the oil in a pan on low to medium heat until soft, then add the spices and fry them for a minute. Add the rice and fry for a minute, stirring all the time. Add enough stock to the pan so that it comes to a fingernail depth above the rice.

2. Add the golden raisins or raisins, the chicken and peas. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat so the stock is simmering. Add the seasoning and a good pat of butter, give it a stir and put on the lid.

3. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. There should be no liquid left in the pan once the rice is cooked. Scatter over toasted nuts and fresh cilantro.

Serves two as a main course with Indian chutneys, or four to six as a side dish

Bread and Butter Panettone


2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, and its seeds
4 egg yolks
4 tsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. sugar
7 oz. leftover panettone
4 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup golden raisins
2 tbsp. demerara sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the milk in a saucepan with the vanilla beans and pod. Heat on medium heat until the milk begins to simmer, then remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool so the vanilla infuses in the milk. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar.

2. Bring the vanilla milk back to a boil, and pour it over the egg mixture. Then pour all the ingredients back into the saucepan. Put the saucepan back on the heat, and stir until the custard begins to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the custard to cool. Cut the panettone into slices and spread each slice with a little butter.

3. Place the panettone slices evenly in an ovenproof dish, scattering the golden raisins between the layers as you work. Pour the custard over the panettone and bake for 30 minutes, or until the custard has set. Serve immediately.

Serves two to four people

Keep Reading

Next Up

Christmas Cactus Care

Easy growing tips for this seasonal favorite.

Outdoor Holiday Decorating Idea: Mini Christmas Tree

Spread the holiday cheer to your front porch with this easy-to-decorate mini Christmas tree. A few handmade touches make it special.

How to Make a Boxwood Christmas Wreath

Why settle for plastic evergreen wreaths or natural greens that will dry out in a few weeks? Make a preserved boxwood wreath that will keep its good looks throughout the holidays and beyond.


Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.