Great ideas for using those leftovers in your fridge!

leftovers I don’t know about you but we seem to ALWAYS have leftovers and I ALWAYS seem to struggle to think of new ways to use them.  I often send some to work with my husband for lunch the next day, but what to do with the others??  I hate the thought of throwing food away and tend to constantly think there has to be a better way.  So here are some great ideas I have found for using up all those leftovers…and possibly preventing having so many!


Food Waste Diary

Keep a ‘Food Waste Diary’ for a week to identify what you tend to throw out and then use it to work out where you can limit waste through more effective shopping and storage.

Freeze Bread and Rolls

If you often have to throw out sliced bread, rolls or pittas, freeze fresh loaves or packs immediately after buying them. Sliced bread and pittas can go straight into the toaster; rolls will need a little longer to defrost.

Leftover Bread is Still Usable

Use crusts or stale (but not mouldy) bread to make breadcrumbs by whizzing in a food processor and then freezing.

Then use the breadcrumbs to top dishes like lasagne, fish pie or vegetable bakes.

Freeze Cooked Leftovers

Freeze leftovers rather than leaving them in a bowl at the back of the fridge where they get forgotten about.

Simply divide leftover meals like lasagne, chilli, pasta dishes, curries and stews into individual portions and place in separate containers.

Leave to cool, cover, label and then freeze. You’ll have homemade ready meals for times when you can’t be bothered to cook.

Veg Gone Soft = Tasty Soup

Rather than throwing out vegetables that need to be consumed, use them to make a vegetable soup or stew.

If you can’t eat it that day, freeze it in individual portions.


Ways to Use Leftover Chicken or Turkey:

*Chicken & Vegetable Raman Noodles – Cook teriyaki chicken-flavored raman noodles according to package directions (I add only half the seasoning package because it is so salty). Toss hot noodles with diced chicken, sliced green onions and thinly sliced mushrooms.

*Fast Fajitas – Cook sliced onion and red or green pepper in a little oil until softened. Add shredded chicken and heat 2 minutes. Serve with warmed tortillas, chopped tomato, lettuce and sour cream.

*Chicken & Rice Casserole – Combine 1 cup of chopped leftover chicken with 1 – 2 cups of cooked rice, a can of cream of chicken soup, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and 2 cups (or an 8 oz. package) of chopped broccoli (cooked). Top with bread crumbs or additional cheese and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

*Chicken salad – Transform yesterday’s chicken into a tasty salad with a head of romaine, sliced apple, some toasted nuts, and a drizzle of your favorite dressing.

Ways of Using Leftover Roast Beef:

*Pot Pie – If you have leftover meat and gravy you can make pot pie by combining the meat (chopped up) and gravy with some vegetables and baking in a pie crust. This is good with beef or chicken.

*Stuffed Peppers – Lightly steam large bell peppers and cut the tops off. Fill them with a mixture of chopped leftover meat (beef, pork, or chicken will work), tomato sauce, and cooked rice or pasta. Top with grated cheese and bake until cooked through.

Ways to Use Leftover Coffee:

*Cool Coffee Treat – Put a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream in a cup of leftover coffee and sprinkle with a little cinnamon. Cover and put in the refrigerator for a few hours. Enjoy a cool sweet coffee treat as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up!

Ways to Use Leftover Rice:

*Fried Rice – Stir fry leftover rice and frozen peas in oil for a couple of minutes. Add any diced leftover meat and heat through. Make a well in the middle of the pan and add a beaten egg (or two); stir-fry for one minute. Stir in sliced green onions and a little soy sauce and heat through.

* Breakfast Cereal – Leftover brown rice makes a tasty whole-grain breakfast cereal! Good either warmed or cold; just add a tsp. of sugar or honey, a dash of vanilla, a little cinnamon and milk or cream if desired to 1/2 cup of leftover brown rice.  (I have also used white rice and added a little cinnamon and sugar to it)

Ways to Use Leftover Fruit:

*Grapes – If you have grapes that are getting soft or just have too many to use before they go bad, simply wash them and put them in a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer. For a cool sweet treat on a hot day eat them frozen! As good as a Popsicle but much healthier!

*Lemons – Squeeze the juice and freeze it in an ice cube tray; transfer the frozen cubes to a ziplock bag for storage until needed for a recipe. Grate the zest for use in baked goods.


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