28 Dec2006

What are you doing with your leftovers? Almost more than the big meals themselves, I actually like the leftovers. And more than that, I like the fact that the refrigerators are stocked chockfull with everything, making cooking so much more pleasurable and easy. On any normal day of the year, you tend to have just what you need for a few days meals, but during the holidays, I try to have everything I would possibly need over the course of a few weeks. Here are some of the things we do with leftovers… with lechon, of course we have paksiw which I prefer more than lechon itself. I also like to re-fry day old lechon and serve this with lots of homemade acharra and lechon sauce. With leftover baked lapu-lapu, the cook makes croquettes with some of the leftover mashed potatoes as well. With leftover roast beef, I often make a terrific roast beef hash or lately, a bistek tagalog with roast beef. The leftover roast beef sliced thinly is also terrific in sandwiches with substantial bread and good mustard. The extra Christmas ham has a myriad of uses… sliced and fried up with eggs for breakfast or chopped finely into an omelette. The ham is also terrific in cold sandwiches or with cheese in hot paninis. The bones I used in soups of all kinds and I never throw out the bones (stock it in the freezer if you don’t have the time to futz with them now)…


With leftover quezo de bola we pile on top of ensaimadas or cheese pimiento for sandwich fillings. Leftover roast turkey goes into soups or sandwiches or casseroles. Leftover chicken can be shredded and made into sandwich fillings or added to sotanghon soup. With an abundance of chocolates like toblerone, we chop them up and make chocolate fondue, using the leftover fruits as well. We always try to have tons of fruit in the house, sometimes using it as table centerpieces then recycling them into pies, tarts, fruit shakes and fruit salads. Sliced red Anjou pears look terrific in green salads as well. Even leftover shellfish such as shrimp, crab and lobster are nicely reincarnated as a lobster or shrimp salad sandwich…just add good mayonnaise, chopped celery and some salt and pepper. Baked potatoes can be made into hash the next day, or I like to fry them up with bacon and onions as a side dish. With over 10 kilos of dried fruit in our fridges at the moment, I was hard-pressed to come up with uses but I consumed two kilos yesterday by making a classic French spice bread – pain d’epices, homemade granola with dried fruit and a refrigerated cookie from a gourmet Magazine recipe. Even flowers are recycled in our home. From fancy sit-down dinner arrangements and side table pieces to centerpieces at more informal holiday lunches or dinners in succeeding days. And those long taper candles that you only use a few inches of? I use them again on a second day and make sure we burn them way down before throwing them out. In the days ahead we will be using up more and more of the leftovers in different ways…but I am curious…what are your favorite ways to use Holiday leftovers? Leave a comment with your bright ideas here…Thanks!



  1. shane from dallas says:

    I love leftovers! During holiday celebrations, I usually have roast chicken for our fussy guests. I take left over veggies,pasta, and chicken and turn it into a chicken tetrazzini casserole. I served a pineapple upside down cake and with leftover pineapple slices, I add this to a mixture of diced chicken, parsley, chopped onions, green bell peppers to which I add mayo and whatever spice I have on hand like paprika. season to taste, voila! a quick hawaiian chicken salad good on its own or filling for a tasty sandwich. Thanks for all your great ideas, MM. Looking forward to more of your very informative posts this coming year…Happy New Year!

    Dec 28, 2006 | 8:12 am


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    I have my mother’s inherent trait of making use of any leftover fruits and foods after the holidays. First and foremost the ham, we cut it into cubes and keep them in an individual plastic bag in the freezer for addition in embutido or pancit molo at a later time. For the ham bone, we use it in nilaga. For lechon, aside the traditional paksiw, we like it in sinigang especially the leg and belly section with a tamarind as the souring agent and mustard leaves with lots of siling haba. The broth is milky white like you added green bananas. It is very good. For queso de bola, we cut it in small portion and keep in the freezer for a cheese pimiento. We never have much leftover fruits. We usually finish them a day or two after the holidays. It is a sin to me to waste foods at all.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 8:13 am

  4. linda says:

    Talking about the reincarnation of leftovers, we cube the ham to make fried rice or to add to omelettes or noodle soups or add to a potato salad.We put some in a small freezer bags and freeze them for later use of the same.I’m amazed at how you can have leftover lobsters(these will dissappear in a few seconds after it’s served) as these babies are so expensive to buy here in Oz at approx.$75.00/kg and not a lot of people can afford it.We buy king prawns instead as it’s more affordable(before X’mas it was $42.00/kg). And as for turkey,it’s pretty much the same as yours – nice on a panini press with cranberry sauce and cheese.This will also make a nice apritada.

    Sometimes we’ll just invite pinoy friends over and we’ll cook some rice and sawsawan of patis,calamansi,chillies and fresh coriander and eat the leftovers as ulam.Sarap!

    Dec 28, 2006 | 9:29 am

  5. joey says:

    Fried rice is my standby for any type of leftover. This season I have already made some fried rice with our leftover ham. We have also had turkey sandwiches :) The quezo de bola I grate and use to top my mango jam toasts. We have some leftover lamb in the ref right now and I think I’m going stick them in pita bread with some garlic yogurt. I made a porchetta for Christmas day lunch and the leftovers would also make great sandwiches. Although both porchetta and lamb would also make a great fried rice…maybe some cinammon with the lamb. I have made turkey fried rice in the past sticking in some leftover gravy and it was delicious.

    I just realized that this comment is full of carbs!

    Dec 28, 2006 | 10:48 am

  6. connie says:

    I’m with you with reincarnating food. Wasting food is almost like a mortal sin in my mom’s book, so naturally I inferited that way of thinking. LOL.

    For left over turkey, aside from making sandwiches, I either make turkey enchilada or a broccoli rice with turkey casserole (you could use the left over cheese for these two recipes as well). I also experimented a few years back and made some lechon paksiw out of it, came out nice actually.

    For Left over ham, green eggs and ham for breakfast, fried rice, omelletes, macaroni and cheese with ham, soups, you name it, ham will be there. LOL.

    Turkey stuffing and dressing, usually re-invented as casseroles, with either cheese or loads of cranberry sauce.

    Left over roast beef, I make into beef stroganoff, meat topping for lasagnas or the easiest of them all, shepherd’s pie (and you could use the left over mashed potatoes/potatoes)

    Left over fruit, it there is any, just chop, mix together and drizzle with good sweetened whip cream, simple but good.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 11:32 am

  7. greengrapecake says:

    In our house, we also do a lot of food reinvention, mostly after a party. For Christmas, lechon is a staple in our buffet table but since Christmas dinners are usually a small gathering of immediate family members, we are usually left with more than half the lechon. My ultimate favorite lechon reinvention is lechon paksiw, not the usual lechon paksiw where you use the lechon sauce. We do our lechon paksiw, Cebuano style. We add soy sacue, vinegar, bay leaf, and -voila we have lechon paksiw already. Btw, you always mention in your articles “good mayonnaise” what classifies a good mayonnaise, and please give me brand i can try. Thanks.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 1:25 pm

  8. Mel Dizon says:

    With excess apples and pears and leftover red wine make fruit compote. Peel, core and quarter. Submerge in red wine and white sugar at 2:1 ratio. Boil. Its done when the liquid is reduced to half. Cool down before serving. It gets better as it ages in the fridge.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 3:20 pm

  9. Pia says:

    Office potlucks with each of us bringing something that was served during the holidays :)

    Dec 28, 2006 | 3:43 pm

  10. tulip says:

    Recycling leftovers from Christmas is my family’s secret why we celebrate New Year more bountiful. Ham is made as filling of buns/rolls or pate. When we make a meat pate, even leftover beef/pork and wine are added. We make pate out of seafoods too. Breads are made into pudding or breadcrumbs which we use to serve tempuras as cocktails or thickening agent. Lechon turned to paksiw or fried and added as toppings of noodles. Ham bones are used to make stocks-which will be used to make soups,sauces or Callos. Roast beef turned to salpicao. Leftover roast ducks are just reheated in the oven and served with a sauce made with port, wine, brandy etc in pita bread. Queso de bola is used to make pimiento spread or cheese dips for nachos. Cold cuts are chopped or grinded and added into sauces and can be freezed, we use to make pasta dishes. Fruits are made into pies/crumbles, jams, and fresh juices. We love coating pears with chocolate and drizzling it with a syrup made of leftover wine, sugar, cinnamon and orange rind. With dried fruits and nuts, we glaze it and make fruit cakes that last for few months stored in the freezer.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 4:26 pm

  11. asunta says:

    So that we dont have leftovers which my husband ends up consuming and packing on the pounds, I make sure that each guest goes home with a doggie bag. If I do have, I use the lamb chops in lentils. Steak is made into sandwiches, turkey made into soup. Apples are tossed into the salad and sandwiches.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 4:49 pm

  12. timmy says:

    Let’s have a leftover party! the objective is to bring the most burgis leftover. woe to the one who is so defensive as to cook up a new dish!

    Dec 28, 2006 | 4:59 pm

  13. lee says:

    i really don’t know where to put this comment. My wife and I had a vacation in a resort in Siaton, Negros Oriental and on our way back home to Bacolod had a one night stay at Dumaguete. The strongest thought in my mind and my belly was finding budbud kabog. And I found it early the next day at the public market in a “painitan.” I swear I can eat six in a row! I took home some budbud kabog back to Bacolod and as I’m nearing the end of this comment the next thing i will do is pop one more kabog in my mouth (and I just came from a wedding party).

    Dec 29, 2006 | 10:19 pm

  14. millet says:

    a favorite in my home is nilagang lechon–remove excess fat, cut up meat and skin into pieces, add bony parts, boil together with whole peppercorns, chopped tomatoes, onions, scallions. simmer slowly for a long time until very tender and the skin is soft and wrinkly. skim off the fat on the surface of the soup, add some potatoes, carrots, cabbage or pechay, kentucky beans..whatever you ahve on hand, and simmer till done.

    my kids slice up the leftover cheese, zap them in the microwave for a few seconds, and twirl the gooey mess on their forks and eat away. zapped queso de bola is yummy..if you zap it long enough, some parts of it become caramelized, and it’s a real treat.

    fresh fruit are cut up and made into a fresh fruit salad -it’s wonderful with a squeeze of fresh dalandan juice. roast chicken or turkey we make into potpies. soups, hash and omelets are the usual ways we recycle leftovers into super dishes. very often we intentionally make a lot of a dish so we would leftovers to recycle.

    Dec 30, 2006 | 9:32 am

  15. DivineG. says:

    Noche buena, we had nido soup, pancit sotanghon guisado, honey baked ham, lomi-lomi, ambrosia, champagne and sparkling apple cider. Christmas day very late lunch to early dinner, we had lechon, halabos na hipon, grilled catfish, sinigang na hipon and salmon belly, cucumber salad, mango salad and sliced green mangoes with bagoong as sawsawan, pancit malabon, apple pie a la mode , very sweet tangerine and cascaron. All of these was cooked by my sister except for the cascaron which was made by my cousin. All these food for only 8 people. so we had lots of left-overs. Thanks to the foodsaver, and lots of disposable plastic containers we froze the foods so that we could just re-heat whatever we wanted to eat. Thaw them out first before re-heating and it still tastes as if it was newly cooked. The ham which was already pre-sliced when bought, we just used pineapple preserve and mayonnaise to make our own sandwiches. We cooked lechon paksiw but we still have some in the freezer. This time we just drank pop.

    Jan 5, 2007 | 9:11 am

  16. bohemyo says:

    ever tried lechon spaghetti? this is what i did to the leftover lechon at my parents’ house. just as good as the traditional ground meat sauce. the guests never had any idea what it was they were gorging on, hehe. on second thought, that dish would have been more expensive, considering the meat used in it.

    Jan 5, 2007 | 10:59 am

  17. Rose says:

    holiday left-overs? we just freeze/reheat them… sometimes, the taste gets better and better, as if the flavors blend better over time.

    Nov 14, 2007 | 9:08 am


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