In my eyes, there are two different kinds of leftover meals. The first kind is where you cook a huge meal, and freeze half of it for another day. Is that a leftover meal if you didn’t ever plan on eating it the first time? It’s certainly a cost-effective way to cook, and a great way to make sure you’ve always got an easy meal waiting for you on those busy days. So, I’m counting it.
The second kind of leftover meal, is where you cook something, say a big joint of meat, and there is loads left for you to turn into a completely different meal the day after. I love these meals. They’re especially good after a big Sunday roast.
Both kinds are fantastic. You really get to make the most of your food either way, with fantastic family meals. So, here’s a look at 10 of my favourite leftover meals, from both kinds.
Pasta bake falls into both brackets. I’m completely incapable of making a normal human sized portion of pasta. My pasta bakes I suspect could easily feed a small country. So, when I make something like my Chicken and Chorizo Pasta Bake, we often end up having it two nights in a row. If the portions are smaller the second night, we add salad and bread and butter to bulk it out.
On the other hand, it’s also a great meal to add leftover meat or pasta left from a different meal to. Throw whatever you’ve got into a pan, add some extras like more cooked pasta, peppers, onion, and chopped tomatoes. Throw it all in an ovenproof bowl, top with cheese and bake. Yummy.
Greek wraps are a great way to use Pork, Chicken, Beef or Lamb left after a roast. Chop the meat once you’ve taken what you need. Marinade it in Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs and leave in the fridge overnight. The marinade really soaks in, and your meat is wonderfully soft in wraps with tzatziki whenever you are ready for it.
Classic Beef Stew
You can, of course, put any leftover meat, in a big stew or casserole of any kind. But, my favourite is always a classic beef stew. It’s also a brilliant way to use any leftover boiled potatoes and veg. Just add some stock and seasoning, and extra veg if you need to. I always add more potatoes and some parsnips to mine. Then simmer slowly for a few hours until the stock has thickened, and the meat is falling apart. Husband adds dumplings, and I make Crusty bread for the perfect warming meal.
Curry is a brilliant way to use leftover meat. The strong flavour works well, even if you don’t have much meat left. My leftover lamb curry is one of my all-time favourites.
Is there a better way to use leftover meat than sandwiches? I tend to get a little creative here. Last week I had some leftover chicken and stuffing, with red onion marmalade. It was gorgeous. Classic pork, stuffing, and apple is probably my favourite though. I add some gravy, so it’s nice and soggy.
Cottage pie is probably our favourite family dinner. I know it’s a little boring, and certainly nothing fancy. But, we all love it. Especially on a cold weekend night. I always put absolutely loads of veg in, so even though I only use a relatively small pack of mince, it easily makes two pies. The spare comes out of the freezer when I’m too busy to cook.
Bolognese is the kids favourite. It’s another meal that I make loads of so we’ve got a full portion for another day. The leftovers don’t always go on pasta though; I like them on a big jacket potato.
A traybake is a great way to use leftover meat and veg. Throw it all in the oven with extra peppers, cherry tomatoes, courgettes, and onion, drizzle with oil, add a few herbs and spices and bake for about 40 minutes. Perfect.
Chilli is another meal that fits into both categories of leftover. Leftover chilli keeps in the fridge for a few days. If anything, the flavours just keep on getting better. It’s great with rice, pasta, noodles or potatoes.
Or, you can shred leftover meat to make a chilli. The recipe is pretty much the same, but the texture is different. I love big chunks of meat in a chilli like this. Add extra beans if you haven’t got much meat left.
Of course, you could put your leftovers on a salad. Don’t though. Unless it’s filled with potatoes!