Love your leftovers!

We’re going to put it out there – we love leftovers!

Forget about binning your excess food, we’re encouraging you to channel that creative relative or friend who manages to cook up a storm without wasting a scrap.

delicious open-faced sandwich

Whether it’s a special occasion (we’re looking at you Christmas) or just a miscalculation of ingredients, there is so much that can be done to transform tonight’s scraps into tomorrow’s feast. Next time you have unwanted food why not try one of the below suggestions and remember how good it feels when you sit back and enjoy that simple-to-make meal!

1. Wrap it in pastry

hearty homemade pie

Add pastry to give your leftovers a delicious second life.

Is there any food that cannot be improved by wrapping it in flaky pastry? Grab a square of short-crust or puff pastry and pop some of that left-over meat and veg (plus a little gravy or soup if there’s any) and a sprinkle of cheese to help bind it all together to conjure up a deliciously simple meal the whole family will love.

Unwanted cut fruit can also benefit from the same treatment – and we’re pretty sure you won’t have leftovers once it’s turned into a pie, turnover, crumble or tart!

2. Add mashed potato

‘Bubble and squeak’, 'hash’ and potato-based cakes (think salmon patties, fish cakes, croquettes) are age-old uses for leftovers that have stood the taste test of time. Don’t be too surprised if mashing up leftovers with some cooked mashed potato, forming into rounds and either pan-frying until crispy or coating with breadcrumbs and then frying becomes a favourite way to use up food in your house.

3. Add liquid

delicious vege soup

Bring meat and veg back to the table as a hearty stew or soup.

One of the easiest ways to use up leftovers is to make them into a soup, stew, stir-fry, chilli or curry. Consider adding liquids such as stock, soy sauce, coconut milk or passata to together with a few herbs and spices to transform leftover meat, seafood or veggies into a new taste sensation. Or liquefy fruits and veggies in a blender to whip up your own boosting juices or health elixirs.

4. Easy toppings and fillings

Leftovers make great toppings (think pizzas, burritos), fillings (paninis, sandwiches, quesadillas) and additions to carbs like rice (fried rice), pastas or couscous. If you have an assortment of cheeses left in the fridge, melt them together and embrace your inner 70s-dinner party guest and fondue – or make the most decadent cheese on toast imaginable.

5. Crack an egg (or three)

nutritious fritatta

Add an egg to transform last night’s meal into something new.

If you’ve got some eggs in the fridge then you’ve got the makings of a nutritious meal at your fingertips. Add some leftovers into the mix and you’ve got enough meal options to last you a week. Use yesterday’s dinner as the filling for a frittata, flavour your scrambled eggs, use spare sauce as a base for your baked eggs, or chop up cooked veg and use it in a quiche.

6. 'Kitchen sink'" salads

Tossing together an assortment of leftovers can create hearty warm and cold salads. Add a starch like rice, couscous, pasta, potatoes, bread, breakfast cereals, oats and other grains like rye and barley, and you’ve got the basis for some exciting new salads to add to your repertoire.

7. Use your freezer

The very easiest thing you can possibly do is grab a container or glass jar, portion up an extra serve of the meal you’ve just made, and pop it in the freezer for another day. Most things – other than salads – will survive the freeze-thaw-reheat process and voila you’ve got an instant meal.

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