Food waste has become a big issue – studies show that we waste 33% of the food we buy, which is bad news for our hard-earned cash and the planet. But, the good news is that there are plenty of delicious ways to make the most of our leftovers…
If you’re cooking a roast, strip the joint or carcass for as much meat as possible. Anything you don’t eat can be used the next day for sandwiches, stir-fry, fajitas or other recipes. Leftover meat is also great for pie fillings too, if you fancy something hearty this time of year!
Check out some of my yummy leftover recipes:
Use leftover chicken or turkey to make a delicious pate, it’s so easy – try my delicious pate recipe. If you love a homemade soup or stock, a chicken or turkey carcass can be used to flavour both.
Blend leftover fruit with yoghurt to make delicious smoothies – add a dash of honey too to sweeten. Or, pour the mixture into ice lolly moulds for a tasty treat for the kids.
If you have any brown bananas, take a look at my banana bread recipe. It’s so simple, but super tasty, and you’ll never need to bin a banana again!
Roast any leftover veggies with some tomatoes and blend to make soup or pasta sauce. Old, soft tomatoes are perfect for making pasta sauce or to use in chilli or curries. Freeze what you don’t use into small portions, to defrost another day.
Another delicious option for leftover veg is bubble and squeak. Mix with leftover mash potato and cabbage for a tasty breakfast the next morning. My mini crustless quiches are also a fab way to use up leftover veg.
Broccoli, carrots or celery sticks that are going a bit limp can be perked up by popping them into a jug of water in the fridge. But if they’re beyond saving, use them to make soup or vegetable stock instead.
Potatoes that are sprouting are still fine to eat – just chop off the sprouts when you peel and cook as usual.
Leftover mash can be used to top shepherd’s pie, fish pie or in fishcakes. Alternatively, mix with leftover veg and cabbage to make an awesome bubble and squeak.
Roast potatoes can be frozen and recooked when needed too – they’ll be nice and crispy after a second roasting!
If you have spare grated or chunks of cheese from dinners or sandwiches, pop into a sealed container in the fridge. It can be used over sauces or pasta, added to omelettes or melted over a jacket potato for lunch the next day!
If you have more herbs than the recipe calls for, chop it all and freeze into small tubs or ice cube trays so that nothing goes to waste. You can defrost a portion at a time, as and when needed, saving you money and food prep time when you next need some.
Don’t bin stale bread, or the crusts of the loaf that no-one ever eats, whiz it up in a food processor to make breadcrumbs. Pop into a tub in the freezer and use to make homemade chicken nuggets or fish fingers – they’ll go down a treat with the little ones!
Or, chop and bake stale french stick to make croutons – just season and drizzle with a little oil and they’ll be delicious with a soup or salad!
Freeze leftover bread rolls to use for packed lunches. For loads of bread ideas, read my post on how to never waste a slice of bread again.
Use the soggy cereal at the bottom of the box to make chocolate crispie cakes. Crushed / broken biscuits can be used as a base for cheesecake, lemon possets or chocolate fridge cake too. Have a look at my recipes for some ideas!
Cake can be frozen so if you have any leftover don’t bin it – slice and pop into a freezable container. It defrosts really quickly so just get out in the morning to enjoy by lunchtime.
Pasta and rice
Use leftover pasta to make a pasta salad for lunch the next day, or reheat in a pasta bake.
You need to be careful with rice as it can be contaminated by a bacterium. If you want to use leftover rice, cool it under running water and store it in a sealed container as quickly as possible. It’ll keep for one day in the fridge, or freeze immediately – just make sure it’s piping hot all the way through before eating.