Ways to Use Up Christmas Leftovers that Anyone Can Do

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Written by Bernie Carr

It’s almost Christmas and you will soon have a bunch of leftovers. To make sure nothing goes to waste, package up the leftovers soon after your meal and store them properly. The tips below will give you ideas on how long leftovers typically last and what to do with them so you can plan accordingly.


Whether your holiday meal includes ham, turkey or roast beef, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends all meats should be used up within three to four days. Of course it also depends on how the meat was handled after cooking:

  • Pack in airtight containers, heavy duty aluminum or plastic wrap.
  • Do not leave meats at room temperature over two hours or bacteria grows rapidly
  • To extend the shelf life, freeze the meat.
  • You can tell the meat has gone bad if it looks off, looks slimy, has a bad smell or taste sour. Of course if you already don’t trust it, just toss.

What to do with turkey

  • Make turkey soup. Add the turkey to a pot of water and allow to simmer for an hour. If you have a slow cooker or Instant Pot (at the slow cooker setting) set on low for 10-12 hours. Add the vegetables such as celery, potato, carrots near the end of the cooking time.
  • Use turkey in your favorite chicken recipe. You don’t need to search for specific “turkey” recipes – think of your favorite chicken recipe and substitute turkey for the chicken. It works!
  • Make tacos and burritos. Leftover turkey is perfect for tacos and burritos. Even if it’s just turkey and tortillas with a bit of salsa, it will taste good.

What to do with ham

  • Make a ham and cheese quiche.
  • A bean soup is a perfect way to use up ham.
  • Make fried rice with garlic, ham, one egg and green onion. You can use up your leftover rice at the same time.

What to do with leftover roast beef

  • Stir fry leftover roast beef with some garlic and ginger and add to ramen noodles. Throw in any vegetables you might have on hand such as cabbage, spinach, carrots, broccoli, etc.
  • If you have Hawaiian rolls or any other type of bread roll, shred the roast beef and add barbecue sauce to make sliders.
  • Make a wrap by adding beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado in a large flour tortilla.

Mash potatoes

Mash potatoes last around four to five days in the refrigerator. To use up:


Stuffing lasts around four days in the fridge.

  • I did not have much use for stuffing before until I saw this YouTube video by Sam the Cooking Guy. He used up leftover stuffing by making it into an omelet filling with a slice of American cheese. I tried making it myself and it was a great tasting and filling omelet. What a good idea!


  • I keep leftover wine in the fridge and use it for cooking. It works well on pasta sauces.
  • Freeze leftover wine into cubes and store in a plastic bag. Add to recipes as needed.

I hope this has given you a few new ideas on what to do with those leftovers. It would be a shame to just throw them away.

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About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.

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  1. Very timely post Bernie. I always use leftover potatoes to make a leek and potato soup, I might even add some of the leftover meat to it too if we won’t eat it all in sandwiches.

    The idea of using the leftover meat in a stir fry is quite a good one, it would work well with that. Good idea!

    I’ve bought much less this year to try and avoid having much leftovers but I’m sure there still will be.

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