Most of you who now know and follow me will hopefully associate my blog with creating nutritious & varied family recipes which don’t require hours of prep and excessive washing up. Some of us quite like pottering around in the kitchen prepping food (I do!) but nobody likes washing up. That’s why I create lots of Onepots. When creating my Onepots I always make extra as leftovers are actually really useful to have in your fridge – as long as you have a plan for what you are going to do with them and they don’t end in the food waste! Planning meals from meals and batch cooking saves time, effort and money. Here is some inspiration on what to do with leftovers or extra portions and some acceptable cheats to make your meals go further.
A simple Bolognese sauce made in a large batch is so useful. Use 1.5kg of good beef mince, follow my Bolognese recipe and you can serve up a Spag Bol to a family of four generously and will still have half of the Bolognese sauce left. Freeze individual kids portions in containers so you always have a quick tea ready for your little (or big one) when you’re having an adults meal or are out for dinner or with the remaining Bolognese you can create:-
Chilli Con Carne Just add fresh chilli, chilli powder, kidney beans and a chopped pepper. Serve with rice and salsa, or load into Tacos or on tortillas
Cottage Pie Simply top with mashed potato and cook in an oven for 30 minutes until crisp on top
Lasagne Layer the sauce with lasagne sheets and cheese sauce and top with grated cheddar, parmesan & torn mozzarella. Bake for 40 minutes
Cannelloni Fill cannelloni tubes, top with cheese sauce and bake for 40 minutes
Moussaka Strictly speaking made from lamb mince but layer it with pre browned aubergine and a cheese sauce which has had an egg and an egg yolk whisked into it
The easiest recipe to remember uses the 1:1:1 ration. 1 egg to 1 cup plain flour to 1 cup milk. Add a pinch of salt and whisk. Make a batch for breakfast pancakes and at least one other quick meal during the week. Here are some ideas:-
Yorkshire Pudding – Add an extra egg for extra rise. Pour sunflower oil into the sections of a fairy cake or muffin tin then pour in the mixture and put in a hot oven for 30 minutes oil
Toad in the Hole – Colour your sausages then pour over the batter and bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes
Roast Lamb or Beef leftovers
Cook a joint larger than you need so that you have a quick meal sorted for during the week.
Leftover beef is great in a Thai Beef Salad. Simply combine with leaves, sugar snaps or beans, noodles or rice and an Asian dressing. Mix soy sauce, lime juice, chopped chilli, a crushed garlic clove and some sesame oil in a jar and shake.
Leftover lamb can be chopped and made into a Shepherd’s Pie or made into a Ragu which is delicious served with pasta or polenta. Just add onions, garlic, gravy and a tin of tomatoes and you are done! It’s works brilliantly with Middle Eastern spices so make a dressing using lemon, olive oil, a crushed garlic clove and ½ a teaspoon of Ras El Hanout and combine the lamb with couscous, pomegranate seeds and top with the dressing and fresh coriander.
Make extra of everything on a Sunday and simply reheat the next day for quick kiddie dinners. Yorkshire puddings need a quick 5 minute blast in an oven as they’ll go soggy in a microwave. Throw leftover vegetables into soups.
If you have either left over roast chicken or precooked chicken breasts in your fridge, the meal opportunities are endless. Here are a few suggestions:-
Risotto – Sauté an onion & garlic, stir in risotto rice & a glass of wine, add your chicken & ladle in chicken stock stirring all the time until the rice is al dente. Add peas, chorizo or mushrooms.
Chicken pie – Sauté an onion and some garlic, add a splash of wine then stir in 1tbsp plain flour, add stock, the chicken and some mushrooms. Cool then top with shop bought pastry
Quesadillas – Sandwich chicken, grated cheese, cherry tomatoes or chilli between two tortillas and dry fry in a large pan for 2 minutes on each side or until the cheese is melted. Or combine chicken, peppers, tomatoes & Guacamole in tortilla and roll.
Wraps/flatbreads – Load the chicken into wraps with salad or top with a tzatziki or houmous and pomegranate for a Middle Eastern vibe.
Noodle soup – Just add noodles, soy sauce, spring onions, vegetables (sugar snaps, green beans, fresh sweetcorn, carrot, celery) and stock. If you like Asian flavours add ginger and chilli too.
Caesar Salad – Use my cheats Caesar dressing and combine lettuce, anchovies if you like them, the chicken and the dressing. Add croutons if you can be bothered!
Pasta – Make a simple onion and garlic base, either add tomatoes or crème fraiche and mushrooms with your chicken depending on whether you fancy a Carbonara or a Neapolitan vibe.
And never throw away chicken bones. Stick them in a bag and keep them in the freezer. When you have time put all the bones in a big stock pot with some onions, a leek, 2 carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and any other herbs you might have lying around and top with boiling water. Simmer for a good few hours then strain. Once the stock is cooled it can be frozen.
Never throw your gravy away – it makes the best stock for soups or casseroles. Use it within a few days or freeze it.
Ok, this doesn’t happen often in my house! But if you have a bottle open and don’t plan to consume it before it turns, pour into ice cube trays, freeze and pop out when you need wine for cooking
So handy to have in the fridge. Either regular or sweet potatoes. Here are some ideas:-
Bubble & Squeak – Add any other left over veggies you may have
Sauté potatoes – Cube the potatoes, sauté an onion then add the potatoes and some seasoning.
Frittata – Sauté the potatoes with onion and garlic and any other veggies you may like to include, season and pour over whisked eggs. Top with parmesan and put under a grill or in a hot oven for 5-8 minutes depending on its size.
Everyone needs some cheat products in their kitchen so meals from meals can be made effortlessly and quickly. Here are some suggestions:-
Tilda rice pouches
Merchant Gourmet lentils, freekeh, quinoa
Tortillas, wraps, burger buns and part cooked baguettes
Good shop bought fresh liquid stocks
Cooked chicken breasts
Pre prepared cooked fish – salmon, mackerel, prawns
Frozen veg – edamame, peas, spinach