When you don’t have quite enough left to reheat the next day, or to fill lunch boxes, using up your leftovers requires a little more imagination.
Here are 12 tasty ideas to get you started...
Soup it up
Many stews and pasta sauces can be turned into soup. Just add some stock or extra tomatoes and either serve chunky - minestrone style - or blend.
A mushroom sauce, for example, makes a stunning creamy soup, blended with a little extra stock, cream and perhaps some porcini mushrooms with their soaking juices, for a flavour upgrade.
Fill mini pies
Saucy (and stew-y) leftovers can be used to fill scraps of shortcrust or topped with circles of puff pastry for individual dinner pies. Serve with some veggies or salad.
Try these made with broccoli cheddar soup.
Bulk with grains
Couscous, bulgar wheat, quinoa, rice... All are masters of turning small amounts of leftovers from roasts, stir fries or casseroles into tasty new dinners.
Roast meat, flakes of fish, salad and veg can be revived rolled up in tortillas. Stir fries, chilli con carne and curries also make delicious fillings. Serve with salad and dollops of sour cream and salsa.
Build a biryani
Roast or boiled veg, such as cauliflower, potatoes, peas and any meat (chicken, beef, lamb), can be mixed with cooked rice and Indian spices for a delicious supper.
Use scraps of smoked fish like mackerel and boiled eggs for a kedgeree.
Whip up a risotto
Scraps of roast veg and even a few spoons of uneaten pasta sauce can be used up in an oozy bowl of risotto.
Then you can roll any leftovers into arancini balls.
Throw it in a frittata
Eggs are your best friend here. Even that last couple of roast or boiled potatoes, that teaspoon of peas and the little bit of stir fry that no one could quite manage will pack a frittata with flavour.
Roast squash and sweet potato work wonderfully, and you can even add leftover pasta or rice dishes. Who’s up for a mac ‘n’ cheese frittata? Serve with a crisp salad.
Top a pizza
Keep some dough or ready-made pizza bases in your freezer and use leftover Bolognese, tomato-based pasta sauce, roasted veggies, bacon, ham, chicken, spinach (and so on) to create an entirely different meal.
Sunday roast pasties
When you think about it, traditional Cornish pasties have much in common with your Sunday roast. Leftover meat, potatoes and veg - even a little gravy - can be tucked inside shortcrust pastry, for a twist on those pockets of deliciousness.
The last bits of your roast beef also make a super salad - break up roast potatoes, slice meat into strips and toss (with any leftover veg) with greens, dressing and maybe a little crumbled blue cheese. Delicious.
Revive your ragu
Only a few spoonfuls of Bolognese sauce left? Use for one layer in a lasagne, and throw spinach, roasted veg and mushrooms on the next. Even tastier than the fully carnivorous version.
Or bulk up with extra veg, a tin or two of chopped tomatoes and serve over pasta, baked potatoes or rice. Add spice and kidney beans to make a chilli con carne.
Pie to patties
Relatively small amounts of leftover fish, cottage and shepherd’s pie can be mixed up and rolled into patties. Add a little flour if the mixture is too wet, and maybe some extra herbs.
For fishcakes, finely-chopped spring onions, coriander and a little fresh green chilli will transform the taste. Use this recipe from Homemade as a guide.
Jazz up porridge
Any leftover pud involving baked fruit, nuts, seeds, honey etc can be spooned or crumbled onto your morning bowl of goodness, or served with natural yogurt for a second-chance dessert.
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