Friday, 10 January 2014

Love Food Hate Waste? Get clever with your leftovers !

When Mumsnet asked me to join in their latest campaign with Knorr, all about using up your leftovers and reducing food waste (not to mention saving money), I was really pleased because it's right up my street. I try to never throw leftovers away because they can all be recycled into a new dish the next day. A small amount of cooked rice or pasta can be used to stuff tomatoes or peppers, while leftover meat and vegetables can be incorporated into anything from special fried rice to pasta dishes, soup and omelettes.

Mumsnet sent us through a selection of Knorr Gravy Pots and Stock Pots to help us in our quest for giving our Christmas leftovers a new lease of life. They're really simple to use - you just plop the little blob of jelly into hot water or directly into dishes like casseroles and soup that already have a lot of water in them so that they can melt and release all their lovely flavours.

Here's the simplest way that I have of using up the Madhouse leftovers. Chop cooked meat, vegetables and potatoes from the Sunday roast (or Christmas dinner) into bite-sized pieces, put it in a large pan, add a Gravy Pot melted in water and reheat. (You can add a second gravy pot directly in the pan when it's warmed up if you need more gravy.) This can be eaten as it is or you can transfer it to an ovenproof dish, put some ready-made puff pastry over the top and turn it into a Meat & Vegetable Pie.

As I also had some leftover cooked rice, I decided to add that to the mix and came up with Instant Risotto.

Another great way of using up leftovers is soup. We made some fabulous Spicy Bacon, Bean & Kale Soup using up leftover cooked kale, but you can add any vegetables you have. Madhouse Daddy generally makes the soup and if there is leftover cooked pasta or rice in the fridge, he will often throw that into the soup at the last minute to warm up. I wasn't sure it would work the first time but it does and it makes it into a more substantial meal.

These Christmas Pasties were so popular, I think they may become a new Boxing Day tradition. I just reheated chopped turkey and leftover carrots, roast potatoes, parsnips and peas in a Chicken Gravy Pot then simmered it all until it reduced, then used this as the filling for little puff pastry parcels. I added a dollop of cranberry sauce to jazz things up too.

Turkey isn't the only meat that can be used though. This Minty Lamb Fricassee went down well too. I just reheated the leftover roast lamb in a beef gravy pot, added a bag of mixed frozen vegetables and stirred a generous dollop of mint sauce into the mixture just before serving.

Adding an extra and often unexpected ingredient to the gravy is a great way of avoiding getting in a rut. After our New Year celebrations, I had some leftover cider sitting around so that went into Pork in Cider Mushroom Gravy the next day, along with leftover roast pork. Served with root veg mash, this was absolutely delicious and nobody suspected it was just a clever way of using up the leftovers !

Rainbow Mince & Tatties is another family fave and is basically just mince & onions with leftover cooked vegetables thrown in ! Couldn't be simpler !

This Risotto Stuffed Pumpkin looked spectacular and tasted fantastic but it was basaically just a clever way of jazzing up the Instant Risotto that I mentioned earlier ! Who says leftovers can't be spectacular ?!

What about you? Have you got any clever ways of giving your leftovers a new lease of life?

Disclosure : I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

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  1. My new year's resolution is to make more of my leftovers! I have also started to make a weekly meal plan (like you do) and then write a shopping list and stick to it. I used to throw away loads of uneaten and out of date food and I would be forever buying on impulse during trips to the supermarket. This year I WILL save money and buy in what we need and will eat!

    1. It takes a while to get into the habit but once you do, there's no looking back !

  2. the Christmas pasties sound amazing! my husband or the dog usually have our leftovers, I really need to find ways to use up bits from the back of the cupboards so any ideas are welcome

    1. LOL Did you see my New Year's resolutions post? Dejunking the food cupboards and using things that have been lurking at the back is one of them !

  3. Great post. I do the same and make pastry pies or shepherd's pie with leftovers. I love the tip about using leftover rice in stuffed peppers. :-)