A cold slice of pizza might be inviting to some the next day, but there are better ways to use up leftovers, particularly when there’s a family to feed
1. Roast chicken
Roasting a whole chicken is a wonderfully economical way to get a few meals from one. Leftover chicken is great added to salads and soups for next day’s lunch or use as the basis for a delicious Mediterranean chicken wrap that the kids will love. Toss the chicken in a garlic and olive oil mixture, add any leftover grilled vegetables, wrap in a wholewheat tortilla and finish with a topping of hummus.
Roast chicken is also great for bulking out stir fries, curries and pies – throw in the kids’ favourite veg and you have a delicious dinner for the family.
2. Spaghetti and meatballs
Leftover spaghetti and meatballs can of course be eaten for lunch (in fact, some people say it’s more delicious the next day), but if you want to try something different, take leftover meatballs and make delicious (and messy) sloppy Joes. Simply serve hot meatballs mixed with leftover tomato sauce in white finger buns, sprinkle with parsley and enjoy. Be sure to keep extra napkins on hand for this one as it’s bound to get messy.
3. Mashed potato
Sometimes it can be tricky to get the portioning of mashed potatoes right. If you’re stuck with a few extra spoonfuls the day after the night before, there’s lots of things you can do with it. Bubble and squeak is a classic crowd pleaser and a great way to use up any other leftover veg you have too. Make it breakfast-worthy by serving with a poached egg.
Don’t forget too that mash is the perfect topping for a plethora of pies – whether that’s shepherd’s pie, cottage pie or fish pie. Loosen with a little milk if it needs it.
Odds and ends of cheese need never end up in the bin. Combine in a pan with milk and flour to make a cheese sauce that can be used in lots of dishes like lasagne, macaroni cheese and baked potatoes. Alternatively, stick it in the freezer for future meals.
5. Bananas on the turn
Bananas that are turning black don’t make the most appetising snack, but whatever you do, don’t chuck them away! Moist, over-ripe bananas are perfect fodder for banana bread and it’s super simple to make. Serve up to the kids for a quick brekkie, or pack a few slices for emergency snacks on a day out. Alternatively, freeze your bananas-on-the-turn and use them to make delicious summer fruit smoothies.
Cooked up a few too many sausages? Use them up the next day as part of a picnic or snack on a day out, or chop in half for use in super quick sandwiches for the kids. Alternatively, cooked sausages are great chopped and thrown in with tinned tomatoes and herbs for a quick and delicious pasta sauce – add chilli flakes for more adventurous taste buds. For a quick stir fry style dish, chop up the sausages and fry with onions, peppers, green beans and any other suitable veg you have in the fridge.
Bread can always be frozen and stocking up on a few loaves is a great way to save a little time over the summer holidays. But if you’ve got a few slices or half a baguette going spare and the kids are already up to their ears in sarnies, bread-on-the-turn is perfect for making homemade croutons for a lunchtime salad.
Making croutons is super simple: just tear the bread into bite-size pieces and toss in a bowl with some olive oil. Spread out on a lightly oiled baking tray and bake for about five minutes or until crisp and golden.
Or, you could whip up a special breakfast of French toast for the family instead. Try our delicious recipe for Fruity French toast.