It’s not uncommon for us to have leftovers in the fridge. Whether it’s simply that we cooked too much, or that the kids were particularly fussy that night. Either way, I’ve learnt a few ways to use leftovers over the years and I’m going to share a few of those ideas with you today.
1. EVERYBODY LOVES PIE
Leftover casserole is an obvious pie filling here, but here’s some you might not have thought of: spaghetti bolognaise leftovers can be used to make a simple cottage pie the following night by simply topping with mashed potato and grated cheese; fry up some onion and stir through last night’s leftover roast vegies, cover with beaten eggs and cook for a frittata; a can of spaghetti or baked beans added to diced veggies and meat, then baked in a pastry casing is a surprisingly tasty pie. Bake small pasties as a great lunch-box idea!
2. BUBBLE AND SQUEAK
We grew up with this being the most common way to use up leftover boiled veggies from the night before – especially if we were staying with Nan & Pop. Each morning Pop would stand at the wood stove and fry up potato, pumpkin, zucchini, carrots, and spinach. He’d add what seemed to be an extraordinary amount of ‘Black Sauce’ (wouchestshire) and serve it up on toast.
3. RICE, RICE BABY
Plain boiled/steamed rice can be frozen, or used the next day in a variety of ways. The easiest is to throw it in a pan with some fried egg, a handfull of frozen mixed veg, and a splash of soy sauce for a simple fried rice. Add cooked rice to soups and stews the next night, or recreate the porcupines of our youth by adding rice to meatballs.
4. JAFFLE IT!
Give your cheese toastie an upgrade by using last night’s dinner as the filling. Think of fillings that include things like: thinly sliced sausages; mashed vegies (mashed potatoes and cheese is ah-maze-zing as a toastie!); spaghetti bolognaise; stir-fry; quiche; and more!
5. SPAGHETTI CHICKEN
I’m not exactly sure if this actually came from a legit recipe, but I just remember it coming from my Aunty Nell. Shredded Roast Chicken, sauteed onion, and a can of spaghetti. Stir it all together and heat in a saucepan, then serve it on toast, use it in a jaffle, make a pie, or just eat it straight from the saucepan. This one not only helps to make the leftover roast chicken go further, but it’s also a cheap meal for when the wallet is feeling a little empty.
6. SOUP IT UP!
Just about anything can be thrown into a soup or stew! Make a simple broth or puree base, then add in leftover cooked meats and veggies. Top a laksa style broth with leftover noodles and rice chicken.
7. ADD AN EGG
I touched on this earlier when I mentioned frittata, but eggs can make a few leftovers into an entirely new meal. Frittata, Quiche and scrambled eggs can be ‘beefed up’ by adding diced meats and veggies. Put some cooked sausages into a baking dish with diced cooked potato, cover with a beaten egg/milk mix, top with bacon and cheese.
And if the leftovers hiding in the back of the fridge are a few days past their best before date – don’t just toss them in the trash – Look into investing in a composting system so that even the wasted leftovers aren’t wasted at all. Nowadays there are even some great in-kitchen systems such as a Bokashi Bin for those lacking the garden space.
How do you use your cooking leftovers? Leave your suggestions in the comments below…