Throwing away food is throwing away cash. There is no excuse for tossing out leftovers from festive meals.

For one thing it’s cheaper than ordering in or rushing off to the supermarket burning fuel and probably spending way too much on more festive fun food — some of which will probably be leftover too. 

It’s easy creating enticing eats with leftovers. Tacos are always a winner: chopped cooked meat, crisp salad greens, avocado, a salsa and a little sour cream is all that’s required to fill a crispy corn shell. Leftover veg can be tossed with salad dressing or stir-fried with 90-second rice. Chopped ham is excellent in tossed salads, pasta dishes, stir-fries and frittatas — or sliced and barbecued with pineapple. If you’re up to cooking something special for your mid-morning break then add diced ham to cheese scones or muffins.

However, do handle your leftovers carefully. Don't leave them on the table all day tempting bugs to mingle and multiply. Cover and refrigerate as soon as possible — within an hour after serving is best. This is especially important for poultry which should be consumed within two days.

Happy cooking.


A tasty recipe for using the leftover festive ham. To make ahead, prepare up until the baking stage. Cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups leftover cooked vegetables eg potato, kumara, chopped beans, peas
2 cups French bread cubes (hard crusts removed)
250g ham diced
1 cup shred cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, thyme, garlic and black pepper in a large bowl.

Butter a 28cm x 21cm baking dish. Place the vegetables evenly over the base then cover with the bread cubes, ham and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden on top and just set.

Can be garnished with fresh thyme sprigs. Serves 6.


Torpedos are long bread rolls. Serve as a light meal or cut into smaller portions after baking and serve as nibbles. 

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
50g butter, melted
3 torpedo rolls
1/4 cup each: mayonnaise, cranberry sauce
1 cup (110g) minced cooked turkey
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Combine the mustard and honey in a small bowl. 

Add 1 tablespoon of the mixture to the melted butter.

Cut the torpedo rolls in half lengthwise. Spread the bases evenly with the mayo then the cranberry sauce. Top with the turkey and cheese. 

Spread the cut side of the bun tops with the mustard/honey mixture. Place on top of the turkey and cheese. Place on the prepared baking tray. Brush with the butter mixture.

Bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Serve as is or cut each roll into 4 portions. Insert a small skewer in each, if preferred. Serves 4-6.


2 cups minced cooked chicken
3/4 cup enchilada sauce
4 x 21cm flour tortillas
390g can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/3 cups grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Combine the chicken and enchilada sauce.

Place the tortillas on the baking paper. Top with 1/3 of the chicken mixture Top with 1/3 of the black beans, 1/3 of a cup of the cheese. Repeat the layers finishing with the cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes, until golden and hot.

Allow to stand on a serving plate for 5 minutes before slicing into wedges to serve. 

Great garnished with extra enchilada sauce and sour cream. Serves 4-6.


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