Christmas recipes: cooking on a budget

How to use your leftovers and a budget of £6 to feed the family until the 28 December

Updated: 
Family at Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner is often a budget-buster, and after just one meal we're left with a £50 hole in our budget, a pain in the stomach and a table full of leftovers - which in many cases ends up in the bin.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to use up what's left on the table, and make enough food to keep everyone happy not just for Boxing Day but for the next three days - and get you halfway to New Year without adding to the financial pain.

The following list will require a lot of leftovers. If you are buying a frozen turkey, then it's reasonably cost-effective to buy a larger one than usual, so you can get more meals from it. Otherwise, the key is to get extras of the really cheap parts of the meal - including vegetables like sprouts, carrots and potatoes, as they will stretch your leftovers for very little cost.

To turn this into meals for the next three days you will also need to spend around £6 on extra ingredients, including pasta, passata, flour, yeast, onions, garlic, leeks and herbs.

Boxing Day Lunch

The classic leftovers sandwich
Nobody needs a recipe for this, but chefs recommend starting with the turkey and adding a piece of the bacon that the turkey or sausages were wrapped in, some leftover cheese and some of the sticky gravy juices from the roasting ban

Boxing Day Dinner

Veggie pasties
For the pastry
125g plain flour
Pinch of salt
55g butter
2-3 tbsp cold water

Put the flour and salt into a bowl and add the butter in cubes. Then rub them together with your fingertips until the mixture looks like big breadcrumbs. At that point add the water and stir with a knife until it comes together as a dough - then wrap in cling film and chill for 15 minutes.

For the filling
Leftover veg
A heap of grated cheese (which you'll hopefully have left on the cheese board)
Either a leek or an onion
A dessert spoon of mustard
Parsley and thyme if you have it

Chop and fry the leeks or onion with leaves from a couple of sprigs of thyme and leave to cool.
Put all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mash together.
Divide the pastry into five or six pieces and roll each until it's about the thickness of a pound coin.
Cut out circles using a saucer, and place the filling onto one half of each circle.
Fold over and press the sides to seal.
Cook on a lined baking tray for 40 minutes until golden brown.

Lunch on the 27th

Bubble and squeak
Leftover veggies
Leftover chipolatas

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan
Add leftover carrots, sprouts, turnips and potatoes
Mash together in the pan for 20 minutes until the bottom goes crispy
Meanwhile put the chipolatas on a tray and grill for 12 minutes (turning midway)
If you have a spare egg you can fry this up too
This is best served with ketchup or your favourite table sauce

Dinner on the 27th

Turkey and leek pasta
Leftover turkey
Leek
Clove of garlic
Parsley
Leftover cream
Pasta

Chop and fry the leek in a knob of butter until soft (about five minutes).
Add the garlic (finely chopped) for the last couple of minutes.
Add the leftover turkey (in bite-size chunks) and a handful of chopped parsley if you have it.
Add the cream and warm on a low heat for five minutes.
Season well.
Meanwhile cook a pan of pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
Finally drain the pasta and stir the turkey and leek sauce into your pasta.

Lunch on 28th

Roast vegetable soup
The turkey carcass
An onion or a leek
A clove of garlic
a knob of butter
Cumin seeds if you have them

Start by making your stock - by simmering the turkey carcass in a litre of water with a quartered onion, some roughly chopped uncooked carrots and celery if you have it. This will take 3-4 hours.
Fry up the onion or leek with the cumin seeds.
Add the vegetables and stock and simmer until everything is heated through and the stock has reduced down.
Season well.
Blend the soup in a food processor until smooth.
Serve with a dollop of leftover cream.

Dinner on the 28th

By now you'll be bored of the turkey and veg, but you can still squeeze one more meal from the cheeseboard leftovers

Leftovers pizza
For the dough
650g strong white flour
7g sachet of easy-blend yeast
2 tsp salt
25ml oil
50ml warm milk
325 ml warm water

Mix the flour, yeast and salt together and stir in the oil and milk. Then gradually add the water while you mix with your hand to form a dough.
Turn it onto a floury surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, then put it in a bowl, with a damp tea towel over it, and leave to rise for about 90 minutes until it has doubled in size.
Poke holes in the dough until it deflates, then knead again for 5-10 minutes and set aside for 30 minutes to rise
Then divide into six balls and roll each out until it's 20cm in diameter

For the topping
Passata or tomato puree
Leftover cheese
Anything else you fancy (as long as it is cooked)

Spread the base with passata, throw on any toppings you like, and top with cheese
Bake in a hot oven until the base is crisp around the edges and the cheese has melted.

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