Boxing day recipe ideas

Caroline Cassidy

Christmas dinner is our annual feast of indulgence and excess but by the time it's over, many Brits are not only tired of cooking but are also left hankering for something simple and nutritious to eat.

Boxing day recipe ideas
Boxing day recipe ideas

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Happily, a fridgeful of leftovers means providing a hearty meal on Boxing Day need not be an arduous affair. Here are a few recipe ideas that will allow you to feed the family without labouring over a hot stove all day!

Soup it up
For anyone looking to cook an easy, warming winter recipe, soup has to be high on the list. With a little stock, whatever kitchen cupboard staples remain can be quickly turned into a tasty meal and Xmas leftovers make the task even simpler.

The remains of your Christmas turkey (or at least some of them!) are ideal for making a hearty soup - with the addition of onions, potatoes, chicken stock and a few herbs, leftover turkey (use leg meat for the best flavour) can simply be blitzed. If you have a good-sized pot, you can even boil up the turkey carcass with leeks, carrots and celery - the carcass itself creates its own stock and you might be surprised how much meat has been left when you remove the boiled bones. Alternatively, slice some turkey strips and add a red pepper, a little chilli and some tinned chickpeas for a filling, spicy broth.

Easy bakes
If cooking Christmas dinner seemed like a military operation involving precise timings and last-minute pressure, the thought of simply bunging something in the oven is no doubt tempting.

Once again, there are a host of leftover recipes that can give you that luxury... well, almost. A pasta bake, for example, is quick and simple to make and can easily feed the family. Just cook whatever dried pasta you have in the cupboard, create a simple cheese sauce with butter, milk, flour and cheese, mix it with leftover turkey or ham and bake in the oven. Add a little grated Parmesan (or whatever cheese is available) to brown the top.

Casseroles too are ideal for getting rid of the remains of yesterday's lunch. Shredded leftover turkey, combined with cannellini beans or chickpeas, a little diced smoked bacon, onion and a tasty root vegetable such as butternut squash provides a hearty one-pot. Your Christmas store cupboard will often contain white wine and crème fraîche and, along with chicken stock, these create the perfect sauce for your casserole. Sausages can always be added if you've got a particularly hungry clan on your hands!

Simple salads
After all that gravy, bread sauce, Christmas pudding and cream, it's no surprise many of us crave fresh, healthy food on Boxing Day. Salads offer the perfect solution to the problem and can be made with whatever is left over from the big feast. Turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, pickles, grapes... all can be used to add bulk to some fresh lettuce leaves and crunchy peppers or red onions.

And for those who just didn't have room for the cheeseboard after Christmas lunch, a simple Ploughman's salad is the way to go.

What do you like to eat on Boxing Day? Share your leftover recipe tips below...