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Jamie Oliver's use-up tips and tricks

The best way to save money in the kitchen? Jamie knows it’s to make the most of your ingredients and reduce the amount you throw away. So he’s here every month with great ideas to use up those foods that are just too good to waste.

  1. Jamie's herby potato pancakes

    I’m a big fan of using fresh herbs in my cooking, but they have a pretty short shelf- life, so having a quick recipe on hand that uses them up is a useful thing. Tinned new potatoes are an unsung hero of the storecupboard and are brilliant value too. Here, I’ve turned them into a quick pile of herby potato pancakes, so nothing goes to waste.

    1. Drain a tin of new potatoes and mash in a bowl. Crack in a free-range egg, add 2 heaped tbsp of plain flour. Finely chop some fresh chives and add to the bowl with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper; mix until you have a batter.

    2. Place a nonstick frying pan over a medium heat with a little olive oil. Drop 1 tbsp of batter into the hot oil and fry for 4 mins on each side until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and serve topped with soured cream and extra chopped chives, with lemon wedges to squeeze over. Great eaten on their own or with smoked salmon, beetroot and salad.

    Jamie's herby potato pancakes
  2. Jamie's tomato and spinach pancake stack

    Milk is a commonly wasted ingredient, so I’ve come up with a tasty budget-friendly meal to help you use up any leftovers. Passata and frozen spinach are brilliant staples to have on hand to help you get more veg into your meals. Kids will love getting involved with this one!

    1. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Whisk together 1 egg, 150g plain flour, 250ml milk and a tiny pinch of sea salt until you have a smooth batter.

    2. Pour a thin layer of batter into a small nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat, swirl it up and around the edges, and cook on one side for 2 mins. Toss the pancake and cook for another 2 mins. Place on a serving plate and repeat until you have a stack.

    3. Fry sliced garlic with defrosted frozen spinach, then grate in some Parmesan. Tip into a food processor and blitz with ricotta (loosen with a little milk if needed).

    4. Layer up the pancakes in a round baking dish, with tomato passata and the spinach-ricotta mix layered between each pancake. Finish with a final layer of spinach-ricotta mix and a grating of Parmesan. Bake for 30 mins until golden and bubbling. Serve with a crisp salad.

    Jamie's tomato and spinach pancake stack
  3. Jamie's cheesy corn flatbread

    My nifty tip to turn tinned sweetcorn and yogurt into cheesy corn flatbreads is super-quick, super-fun, seriously tasty, and perfect for the school holidays. This is a great recipe for using up yogurt that might end up as food waste – I even use the sweetcorn water in the dough too. Topped with a smoky salsa to finish things off, this is so good!

    1. Drain a tin of sweetcorn in water, catching the liquid in a bowl. Add half the sweetcorn, 200g self-raising flour, 100g yogurt and 75g grated Cheddar cheese to the bowl and mix into a dough. Divide into 4 and roll out into ½cm-thick rounds.

    2. Cook the flatbreads in a hot dry frying pan for 3 mins on each side until golden and puffed up.

    3. Char the remaining sweetcorn in the pan with whole spring onions, then finely chop with ripe tomatoes to make a salsa. Add to a bowl with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice and zest, and season with sea salt and pepper. Load up the hot flatbreads with yogurt, the salsa, grated Cheddar cheese and fresh coriander to serve.

    Jamie's cheesy corn flatbread
  4. Jamie's veggie pilaf

    Long grain rice is a brilliant storecupboard staple that can help you use a variety of leftovers. Here, I’ve used it to turn leftover cooked veg into a fragrant veg pilaf that’s ready in under 30 minutes.

    1. Fry a sliced onion in a little olive oil for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add a handful of roughly chopped fresh coriander halfway through. Peel and finely grate in a little fresh ginger and add enough long grain rice for 2 to the pan.

    2. Pour in veg stock, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 15 mins.

    3. Fold through cooked frozen peas and some leftover cooked veg and cook until heated through. Divide between plates, sprinkle over a handful of toasted flaked almonds and serve.

    Jamie's veggie pilaf
  5. Jamie's banana and oat pancakes

    Here, we’re using oats, that storecupboard favourite, which are a great addition to your fluffy pancakes, plus they give the batter a lovely creamy texture. And ripe bananas, as there are always some leftover in our fruit bowl at the end of the week, and are perfect in this super-simple recipe. This is a beautiful little breakfast using storecupboard staples.

    1. Blitz a banana in a food processor until smooth. Add ½ mug porridge oats, 1 mug semi-skimmed milk, 2 mugs self-raising flour, a little vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt to the food processor, then blitz again until smooth.

    2. Peel and slice a second banana. Place a large nonstick frying pan on a medium heat. Once hot, add a little oil, then, working in batches, drop spoonfuls of the batter into the pan and top each with a few slices of banana, gently pressing them into the batter. Cook for 1-2 mins or until bubbling at the edges and lightly golden, then flip and cook on the other side for another 1 min.

    3. Meanwhile, heat some jam in a small saucepan, or microwave with a little water to loosen. Serve the pancakes with a dollop of nut butter, a drizzle of jam and a handful of defrosted frozen fruit.

    Tip: Make the batter the night before and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Add the frozen fruit when you heat the jam to make a quick compote.

    Jamie's banana and oat pancakes
  6. Jamie's crispy veggie mince and mushroom bowl

    This recipe heroes frozen meat-free mince and flavours it with ginger and spring onion. When served with noodles and fresh veg, it makes for a punchy meal that's full of the good stuff. It's finished off with carrot - a veg often left at the bottom of the fridge, helping to make it easy on your wallet.

    1. Take a handful of mushrooms, roughly chop and pan-fry in on a medium heat in 1 tsp of oil until golden, then set aside.

    2. Meanwhile, peel and grate the ginger. Finely slice the white part of the spring onions (reserving the green tops), then finely chop the rest of the mushrooms (or blitz in a food processor).

    3. Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil into the pan, turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the meat-free mince, finely chopped mushrooms, ginger and white spring onions. Stir-fry for 20 mins, or until the mince is gnarly and crispy.

    4. Cook the noodles to packet instructions. Scrub, trim and julienne the carrots with a peeler. Finely slice the green tops of the spring onions.

    5. Remove the mince pan from the heat, add the soy sauce, grate in the lime zest and squeeze over the juice.

    6. Drain the noodles and divide between warm serving bowls. Spoon over the mince and the reserved golden mushrooms, then serve with the carrots and green spring onions.

    Jamie's crispy veggie mince and mushroom bowl
  7. Leftover turkey risotto

    Many of us will have leftover turkey on Boxing Day, here’s a dish that’s bursting with flavour, thanks to that affordable storecupboard essential – the stock cube.

    1. Fry off frozen onion and fresh thyme in a little olive oil until softened.

    2. Stir in risotto rice, then add stock, a ladle at a time, until the rice is cooked, adding shredded cooked turkey halfway through.

    3. Stir in grated Parmesan, then serve, making a well in the middle for your hot gravy. Crisp up leftover turkey skin and finish with fresh thyme leaves.

    Did you know?: Leftover Prosecco can be used in this dish – add it to the rice grains and let it bubble and reduce before adding the stock.

    Leftover turkey risotto
  8. Tomato and basil spaghetti

    Storecupboard superstars dried spaghetti and tinned plum tomatoes are the foundations for this quick and easy recipe that’s ready in the time it takes to cook your pasta.

    1. Simply simmer the tomatoes with garlic and fresh basil, then toss with rocket and freshly cooked spaghetti.

    2. Then blitz stale bread into crumbs with a little garlic, toast in a dry pan until golden, then scatter over the pasta before serving.

    Did you know?: You can use the garlicky crumb to finish off stews and soups, or to add a lovely crunch to salads. Blitz up a big batch and freeze or store in an airtight container.

    Tomato and basil spaghetti
  9. Leftover chicken and broccoli rice

    Make the most of leftover roast chicken – with the help of store-cupboard hero basmati rice in this quick and easy fried rice recipe.

    1. Simply shred the brown meat off the carcass, crisp it up in a hot pan with garlic, ginger, spring onions, sweet chilli and soy sauce.

    2. Then stir it through cooked rice. Top with a fried egg, it’s a brilliant Monday night saviour.

    Top tip: Crisp up any leftover chicken skin in the hot frying pan before you do anything else and pop to one side to serve at the end as a garnish.

    Did you know?: You can use the chicken carcass to make a stock, once you’ve removed all the meat.

    Leftover chicken and broccoli rice
  10. Super-easy fish cakes

    Always making too much mashed potato? Don’t throw it, use a tin of tuna to turn it into super-easy fishcakes! Tinned tuna is a great way to get fish into kids' diets.

    1. Defrost frozen peas in the microwave then mash with a fork. Drain a tin of tuna in sunflower oil and add to the bowl along with plain flour and your leftover mashed potato.

    2. Mix with grated Cheddar cheese, finely chopped spring onions and soft herbs (parsley, dill or coriander would all work well) with a little lemon zest and juice.

    3. Divide the mixture into patties and fry until golden and crisp.

    4. Top with slices of cheese and serve with a crisp green salad.

    Tip: Don’t waste the tuna oil: mix it with lemon juice to dress a tomato salad.

    Super-easy fish cakes
  11. Crunchy salad topping

    During the summer, salads can quickly become boring! But you can easily make them more exciting with leftover bread and store-cupboard cannellini beans, which are packed with protein and fibre. Simply roast them the next time you have the oven on, and they’ll turn into a doubly crunchy salad topping. Alternatively, simmer the beans (juice and all) with garlic, dried oregano, dried chilli flakes and a little red wine vinegar, then spoon over toasted bread.

    1. Drain a tin of cannellini beans and pat dry with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper.

    2. Lay the beans onto a baking tray then toss with olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

    3. Bake for 25 minutes until crispy and golden, stirring in leftover bread chunks halfway through baking.

    Crunchy salad topping
  12. Summer fro-yo

    Before you go on holiday, there’s often leftover yoghurt and milk that needs using up. A delicious and family-friendly way to do this is to make a quick summer fro-yo or smoothie with frozen summer berries. Choosing frozen means the fruits were picked at their very best: full of vitamin C (contributing to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue), and means you only use just what you need, without wasting anything – win-win!

    1. Place a handful of frozen summer berries into a food processor with a frozen banana. Top up with any leftover milk and/or yoghurt and blitz until smooth and creamy.

    2. Blitz in a handful of oats and nuts, if you need something more substantial.

    3. You can drink it right away, or freeze it into fro-yo lollies. Delicious!

    Summer fro-yo
  13. Black bean taco filling

    How many times have you thrown away old salad leaves? Too many! As long as they aren’t slimy, they can be used in a dish like this black bean taco filling!

    1. Fry a sliced clove of garlic for 1 min, then pour in a tin of black beans (juice and all) and stir with 1 tsp smoked paprika.

    2. Let it bubble down to a thick sauce, then wilt through any old salad leaves (such as spinach, watercress, rocket) and season to taste.

    3. Serve it with a juicy salsa, some charred tinned sweetcorn, lime juice and tacos.

    Black bean taco filling
  14. Black bean and tomato salad

    Don’t throw away overripe tomatoes – that’s such a missed flavour-packed opportunity! Make this tasty salad instead:

    1. Grate or finely chop handful of tomatoes and mix with a little olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar and a small clove of garlic, finely grated.

    2. Stir through tin of black beans (high in folic acid, which we need to support normal immune function) and any leftover chopped salad leaves.

    3. Season to taste and stir. Perfect at any summer barbecue, or as a side for fish.

    Black bean and tomato salad