Leftover lessons - making the most of every meal

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Make your favourite meals stretch across the week. We'll show you how to love your ingredients second time around 

Leftovers are a lifesaver on those busy nights when you dash in starving hungry after work or from the kids’ afterschool activities. Get organised and cook cleverly and you’ll make your ingredients go even further and save money on your food shop and time in the kitchen too.

If you’re looking for ways to use up everything in your fridge, then try our handy leftovers tool.  Just enter the ingredients you’re looking to use up and pick a recipe. You can save all your favourite recipes in an online binder.

Portion patrol

Cooking in a hurry? We’ve previously found ourselves scraping plates of dinner into the food recycling bin usually because we cooked slightly too much. Having handy ways of measuring out main ingredients is a great way to reduce the amount we waste – and you’ll save money on your grocery bill too.

Quick portion guide:

1 adult portion:
Chicken = 140g
Pasta = 100g
Rice = 0.25 mugs approximately 75g 

2 adult and 2 children portions:
Chicken = 480g
Pasta = 320g
Rice = 220g

Make the most of your ingredients

The trick is to make one big batch recipe that results in two or three different meals. You could buy a slightly bigger joint of meat than usual for the weekend and then eat it up in the week. Leftover chicken can be made into speedy risotto, leftover lamb into Shepherd’s pie and throw pork together with crunchy, veg and mayo and you’ve a lunch that packs a punch. Try this recipe: pulled pork sub  

Stews taste even better the second time around as the flavours deepen. Batch cook stews, save a portion for later in the week and freeze one for a rainy day. Try our warming lamb casserole with dumplings recipe.

Bananas that are nearly past can be mashed up and made into a banana loaf for a tasty after school or tea time treat. Bake a banana loaf todayl

A frittata is a brilliant way to use up leftover veg and cheese. Just beat and stir in eggs and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes and you have a delicious, hearty meal. See our recipe for oven roasted roots frittata

Storing leftovers

Don’t leave leftovers lurking in the fridge. Learn how to store and reheat them safely with our top tips:

1. Cool leftovers as quickly as possible - ideally within 90 minutes – then put in containers or cover with wrap, refrigerate or freezer.
2. Eat leftovers in the fridge within two days.
3. If you choose to freeze them then they can be preserved in the freezer forever -  but the quality will deteriorate over time. You need to defrost food thoroughly before reheating, ideally in the fridge overnight. If you defrost in the microwave you must reheat straightaway. You should eat leftovers within 24 hours of defrosting and must not refreeze them.
4. Leftovers should be reheated until steaming hot throughout and should not be reheated more than once.
5. Treat yourself to brand new plastic containers. There are great ranges of brightly coloured, snazzy containers of all shapes and sizes, that look good and make saving leftovers easy and appetising. 

With thanks to Love Food Hate Waste

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