Don't you just love Christmas food? It's the one day of the year you don't have to watch what you eat and you don't need to feel guilty for eating lots of yummy things. Unfortunately, even when we eat to bursting point we still seem to end up with a fridge full of leftovers (because it's wasteful to throw them out), even though we are sick of the sight of turkey, ham, chicken, seafood, Christmas pudding and baked veggies.
So what are you going to do with them? Turn them into delicious and appetizing meals, meals so good no one will know you made them from leftovers!
Turkey Toastie Tasties
Slices of bread
Slices of cooked turkey (or chicken)
Cream cheese spread
Butter the bread slices on one side as you do for toasted sandwiches. Spread cream cheese on one side of the sandwich, then spread the cranberry sauce and top with the sliced turkey. Cook in a sandwich press or hot fry pan until toasted and golden.
Real Ham Steaks and Pineapple
1cm thick slices of ham
Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Melt the butter and cook the ham slices until browned on both sides. Remove from frying pan and keep warm. Drain the pineapple slices and add to the frypan, cooking until golden on both sides. Place a ham steak on each plate and top with a pineapple ring (or two). Serve with hot toast for breakfast or lunch or with a tossed salad for dinner.
Chicken Roll Ups
These are so good, it's easy to eat four of these without hesitating. Double, triple or quadruple all the ingredients except for the extra butter to suit your family. You can double the extra butter and then melt more if you need to, just remember not to scrimp with it or your roll ups won't be golden and crisp.
8 slices fresh bread, crusts removed (put them in the freezer for crumbs later on)
1/2 cup chopped spring onion
1 tbsp oil
1 cup finely shredded, cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper to taste
125 -150g butter, extra
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Using a rolling pin, roll the bread slices until they are thin and flat. Combine oil and 30g butter over a low heat and cook spring onion for 1 minute. Add the chicken, cheese, egg yolk and seasonings and mix well. Spread a layer onto each piece of bread. Roll bread up. Line a lamington tray with baking paper. Melt the extra butter. With a pastry brush, dip in the melted butter and brush the outside of each bread roll up generously. Place on baking tray, join side down. Dip the outside of the rolls lightly into the butter on all sides and also on the base and put each one onto the tray, join side down. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp.
This is the best way to reserve leftover roast potatoes. I usually deliberately over cater on the roast spuds, just so we can have smashed potatoes on Boxing Day.
Cold, leftover roast potatoes
Herbs - I use rosemary and garlic
Pre-heat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or lightly oil it.
Put the potatoes in rows on the baking sheet.
Taking a potato masher, squash each potato until it breaks open and spreads a little.
Gently brush with the oil - olive oil gives a gorgeous flavour.
Sprinkle with the salt and herbs.
Cook until the edges are crispy and golden and the potatoes are heated through - 20 - 25 minutes.
500g Nutrigrain (generic equivalent works just as well)
375g salted peanuts
375g pretzels (broken into small pieces)
100g pumpkin seeds
1 packet Cream of Chicken soup mix
1 packet French Onion soup mix (generic works just as well)
3 tsp curry powder
Pinch chilli powder
1/2 cup currants (or sultanas)
3/4 cup olive oil, heated
Combine all ingredients except oil in a large bowl. Mix well to make sure everything is coated with the seasonings. Warm the oil and stir through the dry ingredients, making sure they are all coated completely. Store in a large, air tight bowl. If you are going to jar it up for gifts, wait two days. Stir the mix completely each day then on the third day pour into jars and label. This mix looks great in nut dishes on the Christmas table too.
If you don't have all the ingredients, don't stress. Add what you have, and substitute the rest.
This makes a HUGE batch, so great for a few gifts, with plenty leftover for your Christmas snacks.
Package it in jars or cellophane bags to give.
It's the best day of the year for shopping. Whether you get to line up early on the 26th or you have to wait until the 27th, hitting the Boxing Day sales is great fun and a great opportunity to pick up some fantastic bargains....and get a head start on next Christmas!
*Check to see what you already have.
*Make a list of the things you want to buy. Prepare your list around what you already have, what's on sale, and what gifts you'll need in the coming year (birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, 21sts, engagements, weddings, special anniversaries, new babies and of course next Christmas!).
*Plan your spending to avoid impulse buys. Don't spend money on things you don't need.
*Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, take a bottle of water and remember to have fun.
Easy Rocky Road
1 x 250 gm packet snakes
2 x 200 gm blocks milk chocolate, melted
1 x 100gm packet mallow bakes (mini marshmallows)
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, toasted
1 cup desiccated coconut
Grease an 8 cm x 26 cm bar cake pan; line base and two long opposite sides with baking paper, extending paper 5 cm above edges of pan. Using scissors, snip snakes into 2-cm lengths. Combine snakes with remaining ingredients in a large bowl; mix well. Spoon mixture into prepared pan, pressing mixture firmly with back of spoon. Cover refrigerate several hours or until set. To serve, stand for 10 minutes at room temperature before cutting into slices. I have also put some mixture into patty pans and once set turned them out and placed them upside down on a plate put some ice cream on the top for children who would not eat plum pudding at Christmas time.
Today's idea is for a very inexpensive but oh so valuable gift. It comes in the form of a family recipe book.
The Family Recipe Book
Almost every family has a treasured, favourite recipe or recipes that have been handed down through the generations. A great way to ensure that the recipe and the family history aren't lost is to make a family recipe book.
Putting your Family Recipe book together will be great fun and easy to do if you follow these simple
Planning & Design
*Will it just be a recipe book or will it have space for family history?
*Will you include stories with the recipes, such as why Granny's Johnny Cakes were the best ever, or the secret to Aunty Mary's Beef Casserole?
*Will there be space to add other recipes?
*Are you going to include illustrations, photos (you can scan them in), family sayings, funny events etc.?
*And will you leave space for comments and notes to be added later on?
*How will you decorate it?
*Is it to be a single page or a double page spread?
*And what about a cover and binding?
*Is this your own personal project or would you like some other family members to help you?
Gathering the Recipes
If you have the time, ask family members for copies of their favourite recipes and anything else you want to include in the recipe book. Give a deadline for the return of the information or your Family Recipe book could be an ongoing work. If you need it right now, use your favourite recipes and leave a few blank pages so they can add their favourites to the book.
Putting it Together
This is the fun part. Use your computer to type the recipes up, add the images etc. Have someone else proof read it for you, there are bound to be typos and formatting errors that you just don’t notice because you’re so close to the project.
Printing and Binding
You can print the pages yourself if you’re confident and have a good printer. Alternatively you can take it to an office supply store (Officeworks etc.) or a printer (Kwik Copy etc.) and have it printed. The size of the finished book will determine the best binding. A spiral or comb binding will allow the book to open flat, making it easier to use and read. If your book isn’t too thick, you can punch holes and tie the book off with a ribbon.
Laminating the pages will also help to protect them from spills etc. something you can do if your Family recipe book is to be just for the family.
We call this Almost Instant Fudge because it's really quick to make and has just two ingredients - yes, just two ingredients.
To present this as a gift I like to repurpose a gift box or a pretty jar. Just recently I picked up Moccona jars for 50 cents each from the op shop, and they are perfect for packaging treats, including fudge and even Grandma's Shortbread
Almost Instant Fudge
2 packets choc melts
1 tin condensed milk
Combine the choc melts and the condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl.
Cook on HIGH in 30 second bursts, stirring between each burst, until the chocolate has melted and is completely mixed into the condensed milk.
Pour into a well buttered 20cm square pan. Let set about 10 minutes, then carefully mark into squares. Place in the fridge to set completely.
You can add chopped nuts or dried fruit to the fudge after cooking.
You can also trim the cost by using MOO Condensed Milk.
I buy choc melts on sale all year round and keep them in the freezer ready to use.
This hamper comes complete with the ingredients for MOO Pancake Syrup, MOO Hotcakes and the tip sheets with full recipes in a neat gift hamper making it portable, the ideal gift for the family heading off on holidays.
Cheapskates Hotcakes Hamper
You will need:
Mum's Secret Hotcakes & Moo Pancake Syrup Tip Sheet
Large paper lunch bags
2 x ziplock sandwich bags
1 x 250ml glass bottle with a leak-proof stopper (an old mint sauce bottle is good)
2 cups SR flour
1/4 cup milk powder (skim or full cream)
2 tsp sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
Optional - cast iron pancake pan - from specialty stores, around $5
Print the tip sheets.
Mix the SR flour, powdered milk and sugar together and put into a ziplock bag and label "Hotcake Mix".
Place the brown sugar and vanilla sugar into another ziplock bag and label "Pancake Syrup Mix".
Decorate the front of one paper bag with "Hotcake Mix" and another with "Pancake Syrup".
Decorate a third paper bag with the words "Cheapskates Hotcakes Hamper".
Place the hotcake mix and the pancake mix into this bag along with the small glass bottle.
Fold the tip sheet and slip into the paper bag.
Fold the top of the bag over and staple shut.
Attach a gift tag.
This shortbread makes a wonderful gift, on its own in a pretty box or on a nice plate, or teamed with a special tea or coffee and a nice cup and saucer. It's also gender neutral - anyone can enjoy homemade shortbread.
Grandma's Shortbread - $3.55
250g butter $2.50
1/2 cup castor sugar 25c
1-1/2 cups plain flour 30c
2/3 cup rice flour 50c
Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Sift flours together.
Using fingertips gradually work flours into butter mixture until combined.
Knead on a floured surface until smooth.
Roll out to about 2cm thick.
Cut into circles or fingers.
Put on buttered trays. Sprinkle with castor sugar if wanted. Prick top of biscuits with a fork.
Bake until firm and light golden around edges, about 15 - 20 minutes.
Cool on cake rack.
Store in airtight container.
This is no ordinary run 'o the mill hamper - this is a Cheapskates Style Cleaning Hamper - the best gift ever for the practical people on your gift list.
It will come in at under $20.
Cleaning Hamper - $16.10
You will need:
1 plastic bucket - 80c
Laundry soap - $2.00
Washing soda - $4.00
Borax - $4.10
White vinegar $1.20
1 packet microfibre cleaning cloths $4.00
Cleaning Tips Grandma Used
Cheapskates Washing Powder
Print Tip Sheet. Pack all the items into the bucket, wrap with cellophane and tie in a bow with ribbon.
You should find all the items at your local supermarket, but if you have time, you'll do better on prices for the microfibre cloths at $2 shops or even a hardware store.
For the laundry soap, generic or store brand is fine. A box of four cakes is around $2.20, and you'll find it in the laundry aisle, usually towards the bottom of the shelves.
Washing soda (or sodium carbonate) is from the laundry aisle. The common brand name is Lectric Soda, it's in a white packet with red writing on it. You may need to search for it, but it will be there.
Borax is the mystery item on this list. Not all supermarkets keep it on the shelf, both my local Coles and Woolworths do, but you need to search for it. It's in the cleaning aisle, towards the pest control section. If you can't find it at the supermarket, don't despair. You'll get it at a hardware store, and definitely at Bunnings. At Coles the brand is Bare Essentials, in a white tub with a pink lid.
For the microfibre cloths, if you have the time to zip into your favourite $2 shop, they'll be much cheaper than at the supermarket. If you're pressed for time, check the prices at the supermarket before you toss them in the trolley. Coles sell a pack of three - dusting, glass and kitchen - for $4, Simply Clean. And they're labelled so you know what their use is.
We've made it a family tradition to watch a Christmas movie every day (or evening) during December since we had littlies in the house.
This is the list for this year, in no order. The choice is random, the movie that comes out of the box on the night is the movie we watch. Sometimes we all sit down to watch, sometimes it's just Wayne and me.
Over the years the theme of the movies has changed to reflect how the kids have grown up. Now we're all adults, most of the movies are more suited to adults, but some of our favourites will always be suitable for even young children. I guess Christmas brings out the child in all of us, even if it's just for a movie.
Here's a list of the movies in the box for this year (if we don't have the DVD, I've made a card with the movie name on it and where to find it on Netflix). They're not all necessarily actual Christmas movies, but they are favourites that we enjoy watching at this time of year.
1. Miracle on 34th Street - remake
2. Christmas with the Kranks
3. The Santa Clause
4. The Santa Clause 2
5. The Santa Clause 3
6. Dear Santa
7. Holiday Inn
8. How Sarah got Her Wings
9. Love Actually
10. The Holiday
11. Angels in the Snow
12. Miracle on 34th Street - 1947 version, and a favourite of mine
13. Home Alone
14. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
16. Christmas in Connecticut -1945 version with Barbara Stanwyk, another Christmas favourite of mine
17. A Christmas Prince (the Royal Wedding) - this is a new addition for 2018
18. One Magic Christmas
19. High Society - not srictly a Christmas movie, just a favourite
20. Bridget Jones Diary
21. Little Women - it's not Christmas if we don't watch Little Women
22. 7 Brides for 7 Brothers - this is one of my mother's favourite movies, it's a sentimental inclusion
23. A Holiday Engagement
24. It's a Wonderful Life - this is always reserved for Christmas Eve, before we watch the Carols by Candlelight