Christmas Leftovers – part 3. Turkey Burgers; Cheesy Pasta; Parsnip Dahl; Parsnip soup

Dec 28, 2020 | 4 comments


Part 3 of our attack on those Christmas leftovers.

more turkey ideas

Using stale, dead, bread, that’s been whizzed into breadcrumbs, use the zombie burgers basics, and add some finely chopped turkey, ham, beef. Add in some stuffing if you have any, a sprinkle of cranberries, use any leftover roasted veg, or grate some parsnip, shred some sprouts, very finely sliced red cabbage, what have you. If you bought too much bread for Christmas Day tea, now might be the time to turn it into breadcrumbs and use it for these burgers.

Having made your burgers, have you got any lovely tasty fat stashed away, from the turkey, ham or beef? Or any leftover goose fat from roasting potatoes? Use it to fry the burgers for an added layer of delicious flavour.

using up odds and ends of cheese

leftover cheese

This is another of those generic recipes, and not just for using up Christmas leftovers.

First up, make a cheese sauce. This amount makes enough for 4 people. Put 50g of butter in a pan and melt it.  Add 50g flour and stir it around for a bit over a low heat until it comes together. Now add a splash of milk, keeping the heat low, and stir it, it will amalgamate with the flour and butter. Add another splash of milk and keep repeating until the sauce is the thickness you would like, about 500ml altogether. Season with pepper and maybe a little grainy mustard. No salt yet.

Now add the cheese. Have a look and see what you have left. Brie melts wonderfully in cheese sauce and makes a gorgeous creamy base. Stilton gives a much stronger flavour of course. I have used goats cheese too very successfully. Stir in whatever combination of cheese you want to use until it melts and keep tasting until it is as you like it.

Assemble some veg. Got any leftover from Christmas still? Sauté an onion, add a bit of cauliflower, broccoli, some chopped carrot and anything you want to use. Cook some pasta, about 25g per person and mix it in with the veg. Add in the cheese sauce and give it all a good stir. Tip into a dish and top with more cheese if you like, and maybe a sprinkle of breadcrumbs.

When you are ready to eat, pop it in the oven or under the grill until hot.

I use this base recipe all the time with any combination of veg that happens to be around.  We like fried mushrooms in it, and a general melange of veg.

a surfeit of parsnips

cooking parsnips

Bought too many parsnips, don’t know what to do with them? Fed up with boiled parsnips or roasted parsnips? Try this Veggie Stew and Dumplings. It doesn’t taste anything like Christmas, which by now, may be a good thing 😉

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, in his Veg Everyday book introduced me to having parsnips grated and raw. So rather than cooking parsnips, I’m having them raw sometimes. They taste mild and creamy and are really nice in a salad. Might sound a bit odd I know, try just a little bit and see what you think.

I have also eaten raw grated swede for many years, I like it as part of a salad, it’s peppery and zingy.

I love dahl’s, and parsnips would work very well as a replacement for the spinach in the Spinach and Coconut Dahl.  Take your 400g of parsnips, slice them into medallions, toss them in oil, salt and pepper, and roast them until soft and golden. Make the Dahl and stir through the roasted parsnips. You could have them with the spinach as well of course, or any other combination of veg.

There is a delicious Spicy Parsnip Soup in the archives that will use up a few, it’s one of our favourites. Would be extra delish made with ham or turkey stock.

Other ideas for leftovers

Christmas Leftovers – part 1. Soup, a Turkey & Cranberry Toast Topper, a Cheesy Tart


Christmas Leftovers – part 2. Clementine salad; Preserved Clementine’s; Turkey, Brie & Cranberry pie; Welsh Rarebit


Christmas leftovers – part 4. Chestnut Soup; Fruit Crumble Toppings; Mixed Nut Butter; Turkey Zombie Burgers

Christmas Leftovers – part 5. Turkey Liver Paté ; Cottage Pie; Stock

Christmas Leftovers – part 6. Ten ways to use up that surplus bag of Brussels sprouts lurking in the fridge


And here are some more ideas in a post I wrote for Skint Dad


That’s all for today, a few more recipes and ideas to come tomorrow 

Christmas leftover recipes



  1. Lesley

    I remember Shirley, she had some great ideas. I’ve still got something I cut out of a magazine that was written by her.
    That £55 of loose change sounds amazing. With your skills, I bet you make it last

  2. Lola Davis

    My total haul of loose money from handbags,pockets,car and my brown coin tin etc. came to £54.99.There was over £5 in 1p coins and over £6 in 2p coins.This figure also includes £9.75 in 5p coins,which I had forgotten,plus some 10 and 20p .I stayed up to 2a.m. counting it all, like some old miser! But I am very pleased with this – about £13.50 for housekeeping each week,except that I don’t need to spend anything for up to two weeks,so I might actually start a little savings pot again for next year’s January challenge to myself. The only problem is that I’ve got to get to the bank to change the bags of coin. I won’t be very popular if I try to shop with pounds of 1 and 2 p coins. The idea of saving brown coin came from reading a book on budget cooking by Shirley Goode,who was an influential writer in the 70s. Another of her good ideas was to make a week’s wages ( you did actually get paid a week’s wages in cash each week then) last 8 days,so eventually you had a week’s money saved. I did try it but found it a bit difficult to organise,so gave that one up. She also costed all basic foods stores up ( eg the cost of an ounce of this or that),sticking a label on the jars so she had a quick way of costing up every recipe.She also published ultra cheap recipes,some very acceptable,a few rather horrid, but as a young housewife I found her ideas very helpful.I hope some young cooks are tuning into your site now . It will give them a very sound foundation for eating well but economically.

  3. Lesley

    Hi Lola, that pear and mincemeat crumble sounds good, as does the scone idea. I still have 1.5 big jars of mincemeat left, but as they have such a long use by date, no worries.
    I also still have masses of food stashed away in the Armaggedon cupboard and the freezer. I feel really pleased with myself when I make a soup from scraps, but then find I’ve got 8 or so portions to store in the freezer somehow, and I’ve got more to put back than I took out.
    I’m hoping that if I keep doing it, I will get those stores down. There are only two of us for goodness sake!
    Love the idea of the back of the sofa challenge for January, let us know how it goes

  4. Lola Davis

    Dear Lesley,the last three articles have been excellent and really inspiring. My turkey and leftover soup turned out very tasty and I have three bags of frozen turkey bits to use in some of your suggestions. I’m going to tackle the leftover mincemeat/mince pie suggestions next,so thanks for them. My own favourite recipe to use up mincemeat is usually a fresh pear and mincemeat crumble.I also add it to scones and cake instead of dried fruit. I too have lots of cheeses and bread,vegetables and fruit, plus a whole Xmas pudding and other “goodies” ,so your ideas are going to be very helpful in the next few weeks,especially since I like to spend as little on housekeeping in January to make up for the Xmas extravagance.

    Traditionally I have always done a personal budget for the coming year during the time between Xmas and New Year,trying to balance projected income with projected necessary and optional expenditure. I always build in a bit for charity and for savings It helps keep me on track. I always resolve to keep tabs on every penny throughout the next year.It never happens. Generally,as early as late May,I run out of enthusiasm for such regular daily book-keeping and abandon it,but it isn’t a waste of time, because the discipline of the previous 4/5 months of careful spending and accounting generally keeps me on track for the rest of the year. Because I nearly always spend extra (too) heavily at Xmas,I always plan for an especially tight January house-keeping-wise. I set myself the task of spending as little cash from the bank as possible. I usually limit myself to whatever small amount of cash I can find.I go through my handbags,jackets and coat pockets,even under the cushions and the back of the chair. (Men in the family often lose money from their pockets.When I was a child we regularly found such money and even opened up the hessian bottom of the armchairs to get at it – with my father’s approval. The bottom was then nailed back on!) I also keep some of my change in the car when I buy petrol,rather than put the change in my purse,partly so I have a bit of money for parking or for emergency telephone calls.This builds up quite well.I try to use only this collected sum for the whole month of January for new house-keeping and personal expenditure. Last year I was thrilled to find it amounted to £37 to last four weeks,which was quite generous. It bought weekly bread,fresh fruit and vegetables and some fresh milk to add to the long-life I always buy at Xmas as a reserve. This year is going to be far less because I’ve used fewer bags and coats and I’ve no men who will lose their money down my sofa.But I have got my personal piggy bank the tin in which I put my brown coins whenever I get small change,if I haven’t left it in the car.I actually enjoy the challenge of making what I’ve got do for the month. It forces me to run down fridge,freezer and cupboards and actually adds a lot more interest to cooking because you have to be inventive with what you’ve got,substituting and trying unusual combinations and being as economical as possible.You have given lots of ideas for doing that,Lesley,especially in the meal plans so I shall browse through your recent and interesting ideas in the next few weeks,mixing and picking. It’s 11 pm on New Years’ Eve.I have been out for a nice meal and am looking forward now to a mid-night toast.But in the meantime ,I have a little game to play. Like a child searching for Easter Eggs, I am off now to find and tally up my house-keeping for January.
    Happy New Year and keep going,please.

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