5 ways to use your holiday leftovers

Leftover Christmas foods? We’ve got some tasty recipes for that.

Photo courtesies from left to right: Morton’s The Steakhouse | The Flexible Chef

When I have a party, I’m always surprised by what I have left over. I have enough cheese to keep me going for years, but no crackers. Only half of my cocktail shrimp have disappeared, and there are eight kinds of dip in my fridge.

When my family gets together for the Christmas season, we have not just one, but a couple of big dinners … and the amount of leftovers is enormous. Though it’s nice to have an encore of a delicious meal, after a while, it can also be nice to change things up, and make those leftover pieces into something entirely new, whether it’s throwing leftover ham into an omelette or making a sumptuous sandwich.

MORE TO READ: Real-life recipe: grab and go breakfast biscuits for the whole family

If you have a few Tupperware containers in your fridge today, and are looking for some fresh ideas, look no further than these recipes. They are sure to get the creative juices flowing.

The first three recipes come from Nealy Fischer of The Flexible Chef:

Greens salad with roasted Brussels sprouts

5 ways to use your holiday leftovers

Photo Courtesy of The Flexible Chef

If you plan to eat this salad as a main dish, it pairs well with some grilled turkey or chicken.

Makes: approx 4–6

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: easy


2 cups of brussel sprouts, washed
bundle of mixed green lettuce (mesculan or baby romanine)
½ cup of pecans, roasted and chopped

1 ½ tbsp of honey mustard
1 tsp of minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp of tamari
1 clove garlic
1 tsp of salt
½ cup of olive oil
1 tbsp of fresh chives


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Place Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt.

3. Roast Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Don’t over bake, you want them crispy, not mushy.

4. When Brussels sprouts are ready, allow them to cool. I like to make these ahead of time 
and keep refrigerated.

5. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl whisk all dressing ingredients together except for the oil.

6. Whisk in the oil last to emulsify the dressing. If you have a high speed blender, use that.

7. Toss salad ingredients together and dress lightly right before serving.

Shaved Brussels sprouts slaw salad with Turkey

5 ways to use your holiday leftovers

Photo Courtesy of The Flexible Chef

“My Shaved Brussels Sprout Slaw Salad has the texture of coleslaw yet seeps with a robust flavor (thanks to the radicchio and Parmesan),” says Nealy. “Top it with simple slices of grilled chicken or leftover turkey and there’s a healthy lunch or dinner sorted for the day.”

Makes: approx 4 side servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Difficulty: easy


2 cups of Brussels sprouts, washed
1 head of radicchio
½ cup of green onions
⅓ cup of toasted pecans
turkey or chicken, optional

2 tsp of mustard
1 clove garlic
1 tsp of honey
¼ cup of lemon juice
⅔ cup of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, optional for serving


1. Prepare vegetables: thinly slice Brussels sprouts and radicchio.

2. Add green onions and pecans and set aside.

3. Make dressing: whisk mustard, garlic, honey, lemon juice and olive oil in a medium 
size bowl.

4. Pour desired amount of dressing to coat the slaw and top with Parmesan cheese.

5. If desired, top with grilled chicken or turkey.

6. The slaw is very robust in flavor so the protein is best cooked simply.

Nealy’s Tip:
Feel free to top the slaw with any fish or meat protein of your choice, it doesn’t need to be chicken or turkey.

Beef lettuce cups

5 ways to use your holiday leftovers

Photo Courtesy of The Flexible Chef

“This new appetizer is a favorite of mine. It was created by accident one day (as many good recipes are) when I had some leftovers to play with,” says Nealy. “Chop up a salad and drizzle some extra tahini all over. YUM.”

Makes: 4–6

Prep time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: easy


butter lettuce, one head
1 onion, chopped

1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic
½ lb beef (ground, cut into small chunks, or shredded)
½ red bell pepper
½ yellow bell pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste

Tahini sauce:
½ cup of tahini paste
½ cup of water

juice of ½ lemon
1 clove garlic

salt and pepper, to taste


1. Sauté onions and mushrooms until soft and slightly brown.

2. Add beef and garlic and cook until slightly pink.

3. Add peppers and seasoning and cook until an aroma develops, just a few minutes. 
Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, place all tahini ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

5. To assemble, spoon a heaped tablespoon of beef into the center of a piece of butter lettuce.

6. Drizzle with tahini and serve immediately.

Herbed garlic butter crusted grilled oysters

5 ways to use your holiday leftovers

Photo Courtesy of Morton’s The Steakhouse

This recipe is courtesy of the chefs at Morton’s The Steakhouse.

Makes: 6

Prep and cooking time: 40 minutes

Difficulty: medium to hard


herbed garlic butter (yields enough for 30 to 36 oysters)
2 ¼ sticks (10 oz) butter, unsalted, room temperature
¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup of panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp of minced garlic
4 tbsp of chopped parsley, fresh
2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
2 tsp of Tabasco sauce
2 tsp of minced chives, fresh
½ tsp of salt
½ tsp of cayenne pepper

24 Blue Point oysters, 4″ minimum
16 cups rock salt
24 ¼” thick slices herbed garlic butter
2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
4 lemon halves
4 large sprigs parsley or watercress


1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with a sturdy wire whip until all ingredients are completely incorporated.

2. Place a sheet of foil on the counter. Place an equal sized sheet of plastic wrap on top of the foil. Using a rubber spatula, remove the butter from the bowl and place it on the plastic wrap. Roll the butter into a log by taking one edge of the plastic over the butter and compressing the butter back and outward on both ends. Roll the butter in the remaining plastic wrap.

3. The log should be approx. 6″ long by 2 ½ inches in diameter. (This is important in that the ½ oz slice used will fit perfectly inside the oyster shell.)

4. Then, roll the plastic wrapped log in the foil. Twist off the ends of the foil, compressing the butter. Trim the ends of the foil. Place the rolled butter in the freezer.

5. For the Oysters: Using an oyster knife, carefully open all the oysters, being careful not to lose the liquid inside the oyster. (Be sure to wear a protective glove on the hand holding the oyster to avoid dangerous cuts from the oyster knife. The knife can and often does slip while opening the oysters.)

6. Place 8 cups of the rock salt on a sheet pan. As the oysters are opened, set the oysters on the rock salt making sure to keep them level. Place one slice of herb garlic butter, centered on each oyster.

7. Preheat an oven to 500°F. (The oysters can be baked or cooked on a grill.) Place the sheet pan in the preferred cooking device. Bake or grill for 8 to 10 minutes until the butter has browned.

8. Place 2 cups of rock salt on 4 serving plates. Sprinkle the pepper flakes over the rock salt. Carefully place 6 prepared oysters on the rock salt on each plate. Garnish the plate with the lemon and parsley or watercress and serve immediately.

Leftover Turkey Frittata

5 ways to use your holiday leftovers

Photo Courtesy of Pasta Fits

This recipe will use a host of your leftovers! It comes courtesy of Pasta Fits.

Makes: 8 small wedges (approx 6 people)

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: easy


2 oz ditalini
1 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 cup/4 oz of leftover green beans, cut into 1” pieces
1 ½ cups/6 oz of leftover turkey, shredded or cut into bite-sized pieces
1 ½ cups/6 oz of leftover pearl onions
1 ½ cups/8 oz of leftover stuffing
6 large eggs, beaten


1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ditalini according to package directions. Drain and reserve.

3. Heat an 8” or 9” sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter and coat the bottom of the pan. Strew the green beans, turkey, pearl onions, stuffing, and pasta around the pan. Pour the eggs over.

4. Cook until just starting to brown along the bottom (about 2 minutes). Transfer to the oven and continue to cook until the eggs are set (about 20 minutes). Allow to cool slightly before cutting into 8 wedges.

No matter your leftovers, hopefully these recipes have inspired you to re-purpose yesterday’s goodies with style!

Cara Strickland
Cara Strickland
Cara Strickland is a freelance writer living in the Pacific Northwest. She writes about food, faith, singleness, and relationships for a variety of publications in print and online. You can find more of her work at carastrickland.com.

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