Ahh, Christmas. That time of year where we often throw caution to the wind when it comes to diets; fully indulging ourselves, letting our hair down, and generally concentrating on one thing, and one thing alone. Having a good time with the family!
And why not? After all, most of us meal preppers take our food and diets extremely seriously all year round, and everyone needs a break from time to time. Giving yourself a little leeway at Christmas time can envigorate you ready for the new year ahead, and help you stay on track from January onwards. But there is one thing about Christmas and in particular, the food that we eat, that can still make meal preppers feel a little uneasy, and that is the sheer volume of leftovers after the big day has come and gone.
Most of us have this problem. Nobody wants anyone to be rationing their turkey slices, or holding off on how many pigs in blankets they consume on the 25th, so often we cook far more than is needed. Then, come boxing day, we still have a mountain of food to get through, and less of an appetite for eating the same thing. When this happens, meal prepping can be the answer! Not only can you give your mundane leftovers a new twist to dazzle the tastebuds, but you can also get the next few meals prepped and out of the way (safely stored in our assortment of containers, obviously), leaving you more time to relax on the sofa. Tasty meals, very little work, and no food waste! The perfect outcome for a post-Christmas meal prepping session!
What to do with that turkey
Turkey is likely to be one of those ingredients that you end up eating for a week or so after Christmas day. Turkey sandwiches are all well and good, but they can hardly be called inspirational. So rather than taking the leftover turkey out of the fridge, slicing it up and whacking it between a couple of slices of bread, consider the ‘turkey sloppy Joe’!
Don’t slice your turkey, but instead pull it apart and shred it. Place it in a pan with a little water and a few spoonfuls of gravy. Place a lid over the top, and heat at a low temperature until the meat is warm through. Finely slice some carrot, red onion, and apple. Make yourself a little BBQ sauce, and build your turkey sloppy joe as you would any burger, whilst drizzling a little gravy over the meat and veg before closing the bun (either regular or brioche). Whilst you won’t want to store your completed sloppy Joe burger in the fridge, there is no reason why you can’t shred the turkey and chop the veg ready, and store in the fridge, which will speed up the later cooking process no end.
A curry-based twist on boxing day?
On the vegetable side of things, do you always find heaps of cabbage leftover? Why not turn it into a light, meat-free dhal! After a heavy Christmas day meal, sometimes a light veggie dinner is something that we yearn for. For this, you will need some cauliflower, onion, ginger, lentils, garlic, and of course the red cabbage. To spice it up, make sure you have some mustard seeds, curry leaves, turmeric and chilli powder. Perfect for those of us who need something a little different, and lighter on boxing day.
Bauble and squeak
So what about breakfast on boxing day? If you have indulged yourself with a little too much eggnog the night before, nothing quite beats a fried breakfast to blow away the cobwebs! Faced with a whole pile of leftover veg, simple mix your cabbage, Brussels sprouts and potatoes together to create a Christmas themed bubble and squeak recipe! For this one, you will need to add a little garlic, a shallot, and an egg, but in general, most of your ingredients are already prepared for you. Feel free to add a little pancetta too (if you happen to be a meat-eater) and serve with a poached egg, or some crispy bacon.
The beauty of bubble and squeak is that you can quite literally throw in any leftovers you fancy. This is a dish born from the idea of using up excess food, so add whatever you wish, and experiment. If you have more leftovers than you need for breakfast, simply cook extra portions, and store for another meal later in the week.
Where has all the pudding scone?
Lastly, perhaps Christmas pudding is something that you always find yourself storing after the big day? After a heavy main meal, plenty of people find themselves skipping the desserts, which results in more than a few portions of pud left over. If this sounds familiar, perhaps turning your Christmas pudding into delicious scones might tempt some of the family into making use of this particular Christmas staple. All you need (apart from the Christmas pud itself) is some flour, milk, butter, caster sugar, and a little brandy (although this is optional). For added flavour, cranberries, orange zest, treacle, and mixed spice are all recommended additions. This is a particularly good option for those who find this dessert rather heavy in its usual form. Smaller, lighter, but still full of Christmas flavour!
So there you have it, a few ideas to keep you from throwing any of those leftovers in the bin. As meal prep fans, we know this is something many of you simply cannot abide, and here at Igluu, we feel very much the same way. Finally, we would like to take a moment to say thank you to our meal prep community, and wish you a very happy Christmas, and a wonderful start to the new year!