When you’ve got food left after dinner don’t think of it as leftovers that no one wants, because actually they’re ingredients for another meal. You could make the same meal for another day or use these ingredients to make something else delicious that has a shorter cooking time because you’ve already prepared and cooked some of the ingredients!
Leave it in the serving bowl
Serve small portions and encourage second helpings if anyone’s still hungry. Leaving food in the pan or bowl makes it easier to use as a new ingredient – you wouldn’t want to put veg covered in gravy in a stir fry but unspoilt broccoli (or other veg) can be added easily.
Cook once, eat twice
Lots of dishes can be made in large quantities (bolognaise, chilli, curry, stew and loads more) and then put in the fridge for dinner in a couple of days or frozen to eat in a month. A great time saver if you’re busy or just tired.
It might seem a little strange taking an already cooked ingredient from dinner last night and putting it in to something else you’re cooking from scratch but there are lots of recipes that allow you to do just that. Here are a few to get you started:Vegetable bolognaise sauce recipe
Use up the extra veggies you cooked, anything that’s going limp in the fridge, tins of veg from the store cupboard, frozen veg, special offers or just the extra in the large bag you ended up buying.
Almost everything tastes great in a stir fry. Whether it’s extra meat and vegetables from last night’s dinner, sauces that have been in the store cupboard for longer than you thought and you can also use any extra cooked spaghetti instead of noodles or rice.
Quick fix omelette recipe
What wouldn’t you add to an omelette? Try lot of ingredients including potatoes, veg, herbs and spices from the store cupboard. There are lots of variations suggested on the second page of this recipe.
Just like an omelette, anything goes. You can also freeze them and eat on another day. For more pancake ideas check out our #flippinfoodwaste event from February 2015 and the huge number of variations on the pancake from around the world.
This pasta dish looks a lot like a tortilla and it’s just as versatile. Instead of potatoes use the store cupboard staple ingredient of pasta alongside any leftover veg plus any meats, fish or cheese you need to use up. Perhaps even consider a roast dinner version. Like most of these simple but tasty dishes this one can also be frozen for another day.
Hey presto pizza!
A fantastic way to save a slice. You could use most types of bread for this one even plain toast. This one is good for small amounts of left over food and could be taken for lunch the next day.
Nasi Goreng – use extra meat from a roast dinner and the rice portion you have leftover from yesterday. You can re-heat rice once but make sure it’s hot all the way through the portion. It’s also a good idea to put away your leftovers quickly and not leave them sat on the side for a few hours to cool down.
Potato tortilla – exactly like the stir fry, you can put most things in one of these
Most recipes can be adapted to use already cooked ingredients (formerly known as leftovers), try looking online, borrow a cookery book from the library or a friend, you could even buy one from a charity shop for a bargain price too.
Check out the recipes we’ve been sent by west London residents for even more ideas. Feeling inspired? – send one in to us yourself.
More Superhero storage
Put the ingredients in to storage quickly after your meal. Try to cool extra food quickly by taking it out of the pan/dish you’ve cooked it in, putting it in an airtight container and placing that container in shallow cold water or putting it on top of an ice pack.
You may be able to tell you’ve got too much by just looking in the pan, if that’s the case get it put away without waiting for the meal to be over. Put the food in airtight containers in your fridge ready for use tomorrow.