How to turn leftovers into all-new recipes

Are leftovers common inhabitants of your fridge? If you're on a mission to reduce food waste, here are five easy ways to give some love to last night's meal and turn it into a brand new (and delicious) dish.

1. Roasted vegetables

Roast veggies are a popular side to make during winter. But if you find yourself not being able to bear the thought of another serving, they can easily be made into soups by warming your assorted roasted veg up with some coconut milk and fresh herbs before blending. Alternatively, they can be lightly mashed and added to a mixture of whisked eggs, milk and herbs and fried off as little fritters. Top the fritters with goats cheese or mashed avocado and enjoy as a warming breakfast or light lunch. 

2. Rice and quinoa

If you have gone a little heavy handed when measuring out rice or quinoa and ended up with more than expected, my favourite way to use up cooked grains is to make it into a quick pilaf inspired dish.

In a food processor blend 1-2 cloves garlic, ½ tbsp. fresh ginger, 1 handful coriander, 1 small red onion and 1 chilli into a paste. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, sautee spice mix off for 1-2 minutes before adding leftover rice/quinoa to the pan, stir-through leftover shredded chicken or lamb and before taking off the heat add extra coriander and chopped almonds.  Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt. For a vegetarian version, replace meat with chickpeas, red kidney beans or cannellini beans.

Want a pilaf alternative? Try my brown rice congee with seaweed.

3. Roast chicken

Roast chicken is a guaranteed dinner winner but can become a little bland meal after meal. However, those leftovers are a great ingredient to turn into a new dish such as an express curry. Simply fry off a curry paste with sliced onion, add seasonal veg of choice, coconut milk and stock and simmer. About 15 minutes before taking off the heat, add shredded chicken and let warm through!

Try: Paul West's Perfect Roast Chicken.

4. Bolognese

Bolognese - like Manu Feildel's classic recipe - is always a family favourite. But if you've made a big batch and want another way to eat it without the spaghetti, try turning it into a lasagne. This is also a great way to use up any sad looking veg for a pasta-free version.

Simply cut zucchini (or similar veg) thinly lengthy ways and layer with the bolognese, alternating until you have two to three layers. Top with mashed sweet potato and sprinkle with cheese or a mix of nuts and seeds before baking for an extra health kick.

5. Leftover stews and curries

Leftover stews or curries can be stretched or turned into new dishes by adding some extra stock or coconut milk and blending into a soup. Once blended, portion out and freeze in small containers for an express meal to come home to any time the mood strikes.

Try: One of these mouth-watering stews and casseroles for your base.

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