We’ve all been there. Perhaps you have just cooked a huge holiday meal and are facing a refrigerator filled with leftover bits and pieces. It doesn’t even need to be a post holiday refrigerator.
We all come face to face with leftovers from time to time and can feel a bit frustrated in how to reuse them in a delicious way that our families will enjoy.
We may even have family that refuse to eat leftovers. My father is like that. He says he doesn’t like leftovers and won’t eat them if he knows that is what they are.
Happily I am known as the Queen of Leftovers. There is no leftover I cannot turn into something which may even be more delicious than the initial meal! Seriously!
In a world where many go hungry and food waste is a huge problem, this is a skill we each need to learn to develop. I like to think that with my handy tips and ideas that can be a problem no more for you as well! Leftovers can be delicious too!
With a little bit of inspiration and not a lot of work we can all be good stewards of what we have been given as far as food goes. If you would like to be inspired to do better when it comes to using up your leftover or excess food read on! (If you are interested in some tasty recipes, scroll down)
Whenever you are faced with loads of extras, don’t throw them out. Package them into some tightly closed containers, label and then either place them into your refrigerator or the freezer.
This goes for eating in restaurants as well. Always ask for a doggie bag, don’t be ashamed to ask. You paid for it. Its yours.
Turn them into tomorrow’s lunch. (or even breakfast) Leftover meats and cheeses can easily be incorporated into a salad or a sandwich. I love eating leftover pizza or pasta for breakfast.
Be inventive with your leftovers. Leftover meat or chicken stews make the most delicious pot pies. All you need to do is to reheat them and top with a pastry or some biscuits and bake in the oven. I can guarantee ain’t nobody going to be turning them down!
For leftover meat, why not chop it fine or grind it up and use it just like you would use ground beef. I have done this many, many times and it is always enjoyed. In a lasagna or casserole, as a cottage pie, or even for hot sandwiches such as sloppy joes.
Leftover chicken or turkey is never a problem. Chicken is such a versatile protein, if you are like me you will never have a problem using it up. It works wonderfully in salads and casseroles.
Added to gravy it makes an excellent hot sandwich. Its even great on pizza.
We love it in tacos and enchiladas. Every time I cooked a turkey my family was drooling at the thought of the enchiladas I was going to make with the leftovers while they were still eating the holiday dinner!
Leftover fish? That is also not a problem. I often will mince it up, mix it with a cream sauce, or some mayonnaise and grated cheese, perhaps a bit of chopped onion or pickle. Spread onto biscuit dough (like a scone dough), roll it up slice and bake. This is excellent served with a cream or cheese sauce to spoon over. Or even as a side to a bowl of soup.
Leftover vegetables might be a bit more problematic, but if you put your thinking cap on there is no end to what you can do with them.
Potatoes are very easy to deal with. Who does not love fried potatoes, or hash. Just cube your leftover baked or boiled potatoes and fry them in a bit of butter with some onion. Perfect to enjoy with your breakfast eggs, or as a tasty side with dinner.
Leftover mashed potatoes? No problem. Add a bit of finely minced onion and maybe some meat or cheese, shape into patties or rolls, coat in egg and bread crumbs and fry in butter. If you shape and chill them really well, they cook a lot easier and won’t fall apart.
Even if they do I can guarantee nobody is going to turn their nose up at golden brown buttery bits of fried potato, mashed or otherwise!
Bubble and squeak is the ultimate leftover vegetable dish! Its just a fancy name for vegetable hash. Just chop everything up, mix it together and then melt some butter in a skillet. Add the vegetables and cook, mashing everything down so that it covers the base of your skillet. Let brown and then carefully flip over to brown the other side. Delicious cut into wedges and served with a poached or fried egg on top!
Cooked ham is wonderful finely minced and then made into Deviled Ham. You can find my recipe for that here
. I can promise you that it is incredibly delicious.
Its fabulous served on toasted baguettes or as a sandwich filler. Leftovers made delicious!
I also like to use leftover ham in casseroles. Its excellent stirred into scalloped potatoes or macaroni and cheese. We also enjoy it sliced and fried for breakfast with eggs. Finely chopped and baked in a Quiche it also shines.
Here are a few more ways to help to make your leftovers shine and starve the garbage can! My mother didn’t call me the Queen of Leftovers for nothing!
Monday Night Supper
This is quite an old recipe for a delicious casserole you can make with your leftovers from your Sunday roast dinner. Beef, Lamb or Pork are lovely done this way, and you can also make use of any leftover vegetables you might have as well as leftover gravy.
Simple and incredibly tasty. Your family is sure to love this tasty combination of leftovers and fresh vegetables.
Leftover Meat Escallope
This delicious casserole makes great use of leftover bits of meat or poultry, vegetables, gravy, etc. A nice tossed salad on the side, and you have a delicious meal that everyone will enjoy and nobody will care if it is leftovers or not! I guarantee!
Almost like a lasagna, and a Greek Pastitsio, but using leftover cooked beef. If you don’t have any leftover beef, you can use the equivalent in browned ground beef in its place.
Country Style Casserole
This tasty casserole makes good use of leftover cooked rice. Grated carrot, cheese, a good mayonnaise, egg, and some spring onion. Just stir together and bake for a delicious side dish that the whole family will love.
Ham and Cheese Casserole
A quick and easy way to use up bits of leftover cooked ham. With ham, cheese, noodles, and vegetables in a deliciously creamy sauce. With its crispy crumb topping, what’s not to love?
Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
A very family friendly casserole that is very easy to make. Cheese, cooked chicken, (or turkey) tortillas, enchilada sauce, etc. all combine to make a spicy, quick and delicious casserole that everyone will love!
Teriyaki Chicken and Rice
Teriyaki is one of my favourite tastes. You can call this fusion cooking. It is a combination of two of my loves. Fried rice and Teriyaki! You can make it with chicken or turkey, or even ham!
It’s your favourite sandwich, but it’s not a sandwich. It’s poutine!
Chips, cheese, gravy, stuffing and turkey! This is soooo good, I often just buy a small turkey breast roast to cook just so we can have it. You don’t get much better than this!
Cooked turkey, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, a bit of spice, some cheese and Bob’s your Uncle. A bit spicy and very flavour-filled.
Cheesy Cornbread Turkey Pot Pie
Leftovers from your holiday meal, put together in a very delicious way. I love the cornbread biscuit topping on this fabulous casserole. You can also use chicken, or even a combination of chicken/turkey and ham. Delicious any way!
It doesn’t get much better than this. Properly fried eggs accompanied with thick slices of ham fried in butter and toast soldiers. For breakfast or dinner, it always goes down a real treat!
Cabbage and Ham Soup with Cheese Dumplings
A delicious soup with smoked ham, buttery soft cabbage, vegetables and a flavour-filled broth. The cheese dumplings on top tip it over the edge to heavenly.
Chicken And Ham Pie
This lush pie makes great use of cooked chicken (turkey) and ham. In a beautiful lard/butter pastry, that is in three layers rather than two. (Yes there is an extra layer of pastry in the middle dividing the chicken from the ham.) This always goes down a real treat and nobody minds that they are eating leftover at all!
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder
This is a hearty soup with beautiful flavours. You get the creaminess from the cream. Saltyness from the ham. Herbiness from the use of thyme and rosemary, and then lets not forget the garlic and the onion. Both are not only flavourful but very aromatic as well.
Ham, Leek & Potato Gratin
A tasty gratin that makes great use of leftover baked ham, boiled ham, or cooked ham hocks.. Its delicious! You can also use leftover potato in this, or cook potato specifically. Delicious any way you decide.
Salmon, Broccoli & Potato Gratin
Simple. Easy. Delicious. Economical. If you like Salmon and you like Broccoli and you are wanting delicious supper dish that goes together quick as a wink . . . this dish is for you! You can use tinned salmon or leftover cooked salmon, flaked. Fabulous any way. Pesto adds a special touch.
Broccoli & Potato Casserole
This delicious bake makes great use of leftover baked potatoes. In fact if I am going to bake some potatoes for supper, I always throw a few extra into the oven just so that I can make this tasty casserole the day after!
It never hurts to have already cooked potatoes on tap!
As you can see, leftover food need never be boring or lackluster. There is always a delicious way to present it so that everyone enjoys the leftovers just as much as they did the original meals!
I have pages and pages of leftovers on this blog. What I have shared today is only the tip of the iceberg. If you are wanting even more inspiration just put the ingredient you are looking for into the search option at the top of the page and see what comes up. I guarantee you will discover something delicious, or I’ll eat my hat, and I am betting I could even make that taste scrumptious!!
Debunking the myths of English Cookery, one recipe at a time.
The English Kitchen