Holiday Leftovers: Quick and easy recipes that take advantage of your full fridge!

Christmas dinner takes a lot of effort, so finding creative ways to dish up holiday leftovers is crucial for avoiding any waste.

From the perfectly roasted turkey to all the delicious sides, it’s an excellent time to whip up some super-easy recipes with all your extras.

Here are some of my favourite holiday leftover recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  

Breakfast: Croque Madam (Ham and Cheese with Fried Egg)  

This is one of my favourite holiday leftovers. A classic French sandwich covered in creamy béchamel that becomes a madam when a fried egg is placed on top of it. It’s a great way to use up the rest of your ham you served the night before, too.

I’ll serve this up for brunch on Boxing Day when everyone in the house has had a good sleep-in and may or may not be looking for a solution to cure a bit of a holiday hangover and headache!  

egg, cheese and toast

What you need: 

 3 tbsp. unsalted butter 

3 tbsp. flour 

2 cups milk 

12 oz. Gruyère, grated  

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

12 slices of your favourite bread (Challah bread works, as would any dense white bread)  

6 tbsp. Dijon mustard 

12 slices of baked ham, sliced 

tbsp. Canola oil 

6 eggs  

How to make it:   

Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 6–8 minutes. Add ½ cup grated Gruyère and the Parmesan, and whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 

Heat broiler to high. Place 6 slices bread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and spread 1 tbsp. mustard over each. Top with 2 slices ham and remaining Gruyère. Broil until cheese begins to melt, 1–2 minutes. Top with remaining bread slices, then pour a generous amount of béchamel on top of each sandwich. Broil until cheese sauce is bubbling and evenly browned, about 3–4 minutes.  

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Place an egg on top of each sandwich, and serve hot. 

Turkey Noodle Soup

Lunch: Turkey Noodle Soup 

If you’re like me, you have a lot of turkey for your holiday leftovers, and although eating a second plate of Christmas dinner sounds like a delicious idea, I tend to like something a bit lighter at this point. My turkey noodle soup is just the ticket. 

You don’t have to worry about any flashy ingredients or preparation here, it’s just some wholesome basics, so if your plan is to curl on the couch for the day, you have a comforting bowl of soup to go with it!  


2 tbsp. vegetable oil 

1 onion finely chopped 

1 carrot peeled and chopped 

1 stalk celery chopped 

8 cups chicken broth 

3 cups leftover turkey chopped or shredded (leftover chicken would work just as well)  

2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried 

1 bay leaf 

8 ounces wide egg noodles 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Minced fresh parsley for garnish 

How to make it: 

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in broth, turkey, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Add noodles, stir and cook until tender, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh parsley. 


DINNER: Smoked salmon rice salad 

A big tradition in my home on Christmas Eve morning is a proper brunch with smoked salmon, croissants, scrambled eggs and champagne, of course! I tend to have a fair amount of smoked salmon in my holiday leftovers, so this Asian-style rice salad is the perfect vehicle for a light and healthy Boxing Day dinner. 


500 g cooked rice of your choosing, cooled (that’s roughly 300g uncooked rice)  

1 bunch of spring onion, chopped 

½ cucumber, sliced 

A bag of arugula 

Anywhere between 75g to 10g of smoked salmon 

For the dressing: 

tbsp. rice vinegar 

tbsp. sesame oil 

Zest and juice of 1 lemon 

1 tsp chili sauce, optional.  

½ tsp sugar  

How to make it:  

Whisk the dressing ingredients and set aside 

Toss together all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl with the dressing (I prefer wooden bowls myself!): rice, spring onion, cucumber, and arugula.  

Add the smoked salmon, sliced, on top of the salad and serve 

Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

holiday leftovers