Leftovers make the housekeeping world go round. Tonight’s dinner is tomorrow’s lunch and from packing lunch boxes to grabbing something for yourself to eat on the run, preparing the evening meal with leftovers in mind can save you loads of time and even more money.
Here are a few tips for how leftovers can be your friend.
1. Prepare double batches
This is the key to successful leftovers. Double the evening meal when it’s a one-pot wonder and freeze ½ in small lunch-sized batches.
2. Store immediately
It’s OK to go straight into the fridge or freezer from hot so, as soon after cooking as possible, store in sealed containers either, depending on how soon you’ll be eating them. If in doubt, freeze everything.
3. Beware bacteria
Cooked rice is a bacteria trap so never leave standing warm or at room temperature for more than an hour –refrigerate as soon as possible after cooking.
4. Spread food evenly in your container
A shallow one works best for faster freezing and thawing/defrosting. Invest in some good quality storage ware which will in turn save your money by avoiding food wastage.
5. Veg out
Make extra vegetables at the beginning of the week or when you prepare your Sunday roast. Buy fresh, prepare extra and roast it all together in a big baking dish with onions, a dash of olive oil and a good season with salt and pepper or your choice of seasoning. Store in the fridge all week to come and go from – add to leafy green salads with a little rice or hummus and your lunch will love you back!
6. Dress it up
Make a dressing or sauce at the beginning of your week to take from each day or for subsequent meals using your leftovers.
7. Loaf love
Leftover day-or-two old bread can be frozen whole or quickly blitzed in the food processor to make fresh breadcrumbs, then frozen.
8. Pasta payback
Have a jar of homemade pesto on the go in your fridge all week. Make extra for any dish including pasta and store in meal-sized portions in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat and stir through a tablespoon of pasta for a quick meal – a kids favourite!
9. High steaks
Sausages and steak can be sliced up and popped into smaller containers for adding to salads later in the week or for lunch. Chill immediately after cooking.