Recently we released the news of Bargain Box, where you get all your dinner recipes and ingredients delivered for fantastic value that’s hard to beat. Bargain Box delivers so much food that you’re bound to have leftovers, so I thought I’d give you some of my favourite recipes for using up some of the most common leftovers to make your food dollar go even further!
I love the challenge of using everything up in the fridge – some of my best meal creations are made out of leftovers. So here are some delicious ways to use up all that extra food, and make sure you’re getting even more bang for buck!
Leftover cooked rice:
- Creamy Dreamy Coconut Rice Pudding – I love rice pudding (equally for breakfast as for dessert!), and the addition of coconut makes this comfort dessert even more delicious.
- Tip: the best leftover rice to use for rice pudding is short grain or Jasmine rice as it has more starch in it than long grain or Basmati rice, which helps to make it creamier.
- Tasty Fried Rice – The best fried rice is made from 1-2 day old rice that’s been kept in the fridge, this is because the cool fridge air dries out the rice so that when it comes to stir-frying it doesn’t stick together, resulting in fluffy (not gluggy) fried rice where each individual grain can be separated
- Tip: Leftover long grain, Jasmine or Basmati rice works best for fried rice
- Curry Crushed Potatoes – makes a great brunch, lunch or simple dinner with a poached egg.
- Smoked Fish Potato Cakes – these work great with either leftover potato or kumara mash as the base. You could hot smoked salmon, any other smoked fish or even canned salmon depending on what you have.
More ideas with other leftovers
If you’ve got roast vegetables leftovers, like roast carrots, pumpkin, kumara, beetroot or parsnip, make a nutritious, comforting vegetable soup. Basically all you have to do is put the roast veggies in a pot and cover with chicken or vegetable stock, simmer until soft, and then blend it up (with a stick blender or in the blender) until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with a dollop of sour cream or natural Greek yoghurt and some fresh herbs (like parsley or coriander) on top. Here’s a Roast Pumpkin Soup that would also work well with other roast vegetables. For a delicious curried coconut vegetable soup, first fry off 1 diced onion with a teaspoon of curry powder before adding the vegetables and stock, along with a bit of coconut cream.
If you’ve got some leftover pasta, there’s lots of yummy pasta salads you can make for your lunch box the next day! Here are a few simple ideas:
- Diced ham or bacon, diced tomato, chopped baby spinach, basil and a little grated parmesan cheese
- Chopped cooked broccoli, chopped sundried tomatoes, pesto and a crumbling of feta. Check out the recipe here. You could add some cooked pumpkin to it as well to make it even more delicious.
- Shredded or chopped cooked chicken, diced tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, a crumbling of feta, and lots of fresh parsley. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Tip: to separate pasta that has stuck together, simply run cooked pasta under cold water, then drizzle with olive oil
If you’ve got leftover canned coconut milk or cream, it’s the perfect opportunity to make a sweet and creamy Coconut rice pudding – see the recipe above using leftover cooked rice. You can use either coconut milk or cream – if you use coconut cream, just use a bit less than you would if using coconut milk and mix it with a bit of water. Or you could make a Tropical coconut fruit smoothie – you can get creative here and use whatever fruit you have in your fruit bowl. A favourite of mine is this Lime, Coconut Banana Smoothie – it’s so refreshing for breakfast!
If I’ve got leftover canned tomatoes, I make a quick tomato chutney, which is the most delicious useful condiment – much nicer than tomato sauce! Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a fry pan and cook 1 finely diced onion for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add another drizzle of oil, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander and 1/4 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds (optional), and continue cooking for 1 more minute. Add 1/2 – 3/4 can of crushed tomatoes (whatever you have left), 1 teaspoon malt or apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chutney will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. It goes well with just about anything!
To be doing what I am today is a dream come true. It all started when I was 12 years old. I was watching TV after school one day and Jamie Oliver was cooking up a storm on The Naked Chef.