Getting Creative with Leftovers: Tips & Tricks

A guest post from Paula Whately on using leftovers:

Getting creative with leftovers is a great way to save money and come up with some delicious recipes too.  If you are struggling, the cooking schools in your area will more than likely be able to help you come up with some top class menu ideas!

Your food is the best - Don't waste it - NARA ...

Your food is the best - Don't waste it - NARA - 513725 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The amount of food that we throw away is appalling, and when you think about how much money we are actually throwing away every time we discard uneaten food it becomes shocking.  When we are looking at ways to cut back on our spending we seem to discount the amount of food that we buy that never gets eaten, viewing it only as food waste, not money that is being wasted at the same time.  We need to rethink the way that we shop and the way that we cook.  Most of us cook too much for each meal and rather than saving and freezing the excess it goes in the bin.  We need re-educating on portion control in order to reduce the amount of food waste we produce.

Meals from Leftovers

Providing you have a reasonably well stocked store cupboard you should be able to rustle up something tasty with almost all kinds of leftovers.  One of the most versatile food items is chicken.  One chicken roasted for dinner will not only feed a family, but the leftover white meat can be used for sandwiches and the dark meat can make an excellent curry.  Don’t worry about it being precooked, just leave it until it is one of the last ingredients to be added, making sure it is thoroughly heated before it is served up.

Don’t throw the carcass away either as you can boil it up in a stock pot and use this incredible stock to make a soup.  Left over vegetables can easily be added to soups and sauces, plus all of those vegetables that are looking a bit ‘sad’ in the fridge; they can still make a great addition to your soup, or in casseroles or even pies and pasties.

Get Creative

What are you going to do with that half a pan of mashed potato that was left over from dinner?  Roll it into balls, dip it in egg and roll it in a few breadcrumbs before frying them off in a little oil until brown, now you have potato croquettes.  Alternatively mash it up with some white fish or even salmon if you have some.  Then form it into patties, crumb and fry and you have homemade fishcakes. Recipes like this do not take a lot of effort, just a little thought and imagination to see what else you could make before you automatically put it into the bin.

Look at the amount of food you throw away each day then figure out why there is so much waste.  Are you simply buying too much food that is never used, or cooking far too much for each meal?  Look at your shopping, cooking and eating habits and see where you can make changes.  Once you stop throwing perfectly good food away, you will stop throwing your money away.

Learn to Love Leftovers

Unless you learn to curb your food waste you are going to have to learn to love leftovers.  Look at what you have in your fridge and your cupboards that may be running out of date, and use them to create meals.  You don’t have to eat them straight away, you can split them up into portions and pop them in the freezer, but you won’t be throwing them away.

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