How to use Christmas Leftovers?

2022 has been a roller coaster of a year for all of us, with the cost of heating our homes, cooking and buying food, rocketing to unprecedented levels. More than ever before, it is important not to waste food and use our leftovers to create wholesome, tasty food for the whole family.

We tend to have a well-deserved feast over the Christmas holiday period. It is understandable that leftovers sometimes may not seem appealing. This is most likely the reason for people throwing out food rather than it is having spoiled before getting the chance to eat it.

With a little imagination and Christmas magic, food such as left-over mash, turkey and stuffing can be recreated into something that tastes completely different.

At Moon and Spoon, we are passionate about ensuring we provide nutritious and wholesome food for the children we serve through our nurseries and childcare providers, and this is true for the food that is provided to the children at home too. So, we asked our Paediatric Dietitian Judith Lynn from Little Monkey Nutrition to come up with some easy, child-friendly recipes for Christmas leftovers, because we are also keen to protect our environment and save money by using up leftovers in delicious easy recipes.

Judith is also a keen advocate for getting your children in the kitchen, so these recipes are great for small hands to get involved.

What do we do with all that mash?………How about some Potato croquettes?

Potato Croquettes made with leftover mash.

This recipe uses foods that I’m positive you will have in your fridge at Christmas time. Leftover mash, carrot, cheese (any hard cheese will do) and leek. Mashed potatoes are full of starchy carbohydrates important for giving growing bodies energy. You may also be surprised to know that potatoes are packed full of vitamin C and thiamin. 100g of potato meets 50% of a young child’s requirements of thiamin and 25% of their vitamin C requirements for the day.

Ingredients

Leftover mash

½ to 1 grated carrot (depending on how much mash is left)

25-50g cheese (depending on how much mash is left)

Spring onion or leek finely chopped – optional

Leftover stuffing – (This only works with breaded stuffing – it doesn’t work if you add sausage meat to your stuffing, you may need to make some more breadcrumbs and mix them into your stuffing to loosen it) If you don’t have any stuffing, just use breadcrumbs.

1 egg

Method

1. To the mash add the grated carrot and cheese and finely chopped spring onion or leek and mix together, you may need to add a little milk to loosen the mash.

2. Take 1-2 tablespoons of mash into your hand and roll the mash and flatten the ends to form a cylinder shape. Keep going until all the mash is used.

3. Beat the egg in a bowl

4. Add the stuffing and breadcrumb mixture to another bowl

5. Dip each croquette into the egg, making sure it is fully coated, then dip into the stuffing/breadcrumb mixture making sure the egg is fully covered. Do one at a time until each is done. Kids love doing this.

6. Place each onto a tray and spray with some oil or use a pastry brush to brush over oil, place in a heated oven (200oC) for approx. 20-30 minutes.

Or add to an air fryer at 180oC for 20 minutes.

Now for the leftover turkey. Why is it that most of us only eat this delicious and nutritious bird once per year? Its biggest attribute is of course its protein content, important for building and repairing tissues and muscles in rapidly growing children. However, it has some other excellent qualities and uniqueness. Turkey is also packed full of micronutrients such as niacin, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, vitamin B6 and B12. In fact, a 50g portion of turkey provides 80% of niacin (vitamin B3) requirements and 100% of B12 requirements for a 1–3-year-old. Niacin helps to convert food into energy, so it has a vital role in metabolism. Vitamin B-12 is essential for brain development, building and repair of the nervous system and cognitive function which is vital for growing children where cognition development is at its most rapid.

Leftover Turkey and stuffing Nuggets

Ingredients – makes 12

500g of cooked turkey

200g of stuffing or 4 slices of bread

100mls of milk

2 shallot (or 1 small onion) finely sliced

Handful of Parsley

2 eggs

100g flour

Panko Breadcrumbs

Oil

Method

1. Add the milk to the stuffing or bread and allow it to soak for a few minutes.

2. Peel and finely chop the onion/shallot and fry in some oil for a few minutes until translucent.

3. Add the turkey, soaked stuffing, onion, parsley, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend to a smooth paste.

4. Divide the mixture in 4 and from each ¼ take 1/3 of the mixture at a time and form into a rough nugget shape.

5. Dip each into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumbs

6. Once finished you can spray some oil on each and cook in an oven

7. Serve with some homemade chips and peas.

The most important thing when thinking about our children’s nutrition is the challenge of ensuring they get enough balance. Let’s face it children can be fussy, especially young children so serve the turkey nuggets and potato croquettes with some peas or beans to make a meal that is well-balanced. This meal provides all 5 food groups, with carbohydrates from the potatoes and stuffing, protein from the turkey and egg, dairy from the cheese which provides calcium, fat from the oil, and vegetables from the peas and carrot. Something that the whole family can enjoy and is great for fussy eaters.

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