After all the grocery shopping we do before Christmas, is it really any wonder that most of our refrigerators and store cupboards are still bursting at the seams well into the New Year?
A lot will depend on how many visitors you had over the holidays and just how efficiently you did your Christmas food and drink shopping. Sometimes our Christmas plans do not turn out as we expected and we are left with much more food than usual. Either way everyone just gets fed up with overindulging and by Boxing Day most visitors are declining food and drink.
So, be it a mountain or a molehill, just what do you do with left over holiday food?
Firstly you need to make sure that leftovers are still fresh enough to eat. Labelling food as you use it will help you decide what you can still use and what you need to dispose of. Check the expiry, and use by dates, where possible. Organise your store cupboard so that the food with the shortest date is at the front, to be used first. Once you have noted what you have left to use, and when by, you can decide what to serve.
Old recipe books may offer inspiration
Browse your old recipe books and on-line cooking sites for some tasty and unusual ways to use up your holiday food and drink. By January most of us are sick and tired of traditional Christmas fare and you may find that simple basic recipes will offer a good solution.
Leftover traditional Christmas food
Christmas puddings usually have a very long expiry date and can be eaten next autumn or even saved for next Christmas.
Christmas cake can be crumbled into a rich vanilla ice cream or served as a hot dessert with custard. Make sure that you remove the icing and marzipan first though.
Feed the birds
Treat the local birds and throw out small pieces of your old bread. Fry it first to add a little fat to keep help keep the birds warm. You can also feed the birds with some of your left over nuts, perhaps broken down a little.
Do not forget to make good compost from vegetable and fruit peelings, egg shells and any fruit and vegetables that are too old to be eaten.
Freeze what you can
A few weeks down the line after Christmas, when money is tight, you may wish that you had been more cost effective with your leftovers. See what foods can be frozen efficiently. Some vegetables and fruit will need blanching before freezing. Research the details online. Stale bread can be grated down and then frozen to use as bread crumbs. Similarly old biscuits can be broken into a crumbly mix and frozen to use eventually for a biscuit base for cheesecakes. Leftover cheese can be grated and then stored in the freezer for use on toast, as a pizza topping, on scones or whatever takes your fancy.
Make a tasty smoothie with leftover fresh fruit. Alternatively stew appropriate fruits and keep chilled in the fridge to add to plain yogurt or as a breakfast cereal topping.
Use up milk that is in date by making homemade rice pudding and wholesome porridge on the cold winter mornings.
Usually alcohol has a long shelf life and can be saved for later in the year, for birthday parties or maybe visitors.
Throw a post-Christmas party
Of course you could help cure everyone's post-Christmas blues and throw a post-Christmas party. Everyone could bring something from their own leftovers and it would be a great way to use up yours, especially the alcohol.
Give a little
Perhaps you have some elderly neighbours who struggle with money, and maybe did not have such an indulgent Christmas? Either invite them round for a meal or give them some treats from your leftover food and drink store.
Donate to a foodbank
As long as the food and drink is still in date and unopened a local foodbank will be happy to receive a donation of goods.
Use your imagination, with what you have left. Organise your leftovers first in order to prioritise and make the best use of them. Once you start experimenting you may be surprised what you can make and what foods may go together. You may even invent what is to become a firm family favourite and you will definitely help your cash flow.
Plan ahead and make sure you shop more sensibly next Christmas. In these tight money times forward planning is a must.
Christmas leftovers recipes here at the BBC