I absolutely love Cooking with Leftovers, especially leftover meat from a Sunday roast. I hate waste. There’s not much worse than spending a fortune on a fantastic joint of meat and ending up throwing half of it away because you just can’t eat it fast enough, and I hate feeling like I have to eat sandwiches every day for a week to use up the meat.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that I earn a small commission if you make a purchase after following my link. It in no way affects the price that you pay.
Feeding A Family
Feeding a family is tough. Doing on a budget is even harder. And feeding a family a healthy and nutritious diet that’s filling and tasty on a budget is even worse. Then, of course, you also have to find things that everyone will eat and actually enjoy. It all sounds a little bit impossible.
My kids (and the adults to be fair) love nothing more than a huge Sunday roast. Beef is probably our
It’s lovely to all sit around the table and
Is Cooking with Leftovers Really Good Value?
Wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to buy a smaller joint of meat? Well, it depends on what you are planning to eat on Monday I guess. If you want two filling meals that satisfy the whole family and taste great, buying a larger joint of meat and saving some for the next day can be excellent value for money.
But, only if you make the most of it. Using leftovers for sandwiches, and ending up trying to force yourself to eat bits of dry meat is never good. But, throwing it into a casserole and bulking it out with veg and potatoes (also leftovers if you have got any) can be wonderful. Even if you don’t have that much meat left, you can bulk it out, add some extra potatoes and even make some bread to mop up the sauce to create another big meal. It’s definitely worth it. Cooking on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to do without your
Cooking with Leftovers Saves Time in the Kitchen
If there’s one thing that every parent of young children needs, it is more time. I love to cook, but I don’t always have time to do it. For me, Mondays are tough. I don’t seem to stop, and we’re not all home together until around 6. So, I don’t have time to cook. Having leftover meat chopped up and ready means that I can throw it in a pan and leave it to simmer. I work at home, so this is super simple. But, leftover recipes like casseroles are also perfect in a slow cooker. Which is ideal for busy working families, or anyone that is looking to save time.
Start Meal Planning
Leftover meals are fab. If you eat them. Imagine cooking up a yummy leftover casserole or curry, or chopping your meat up ready to use, only to realise that with after school classes, clubs and appointments and late nights at work, you haven’t actually got the time to eat it. What a waste. This is when you’d be better buying a smaller joint, or making and freezing your meal.
The Benefits of Meal Planning
Meal planning means that you know what you are going to eat and when. Meal planning saves you money, sure. But, it also means that you are more likely to try new things. I
Meal plan before you go shopping. Don’t buy a massive joint of meat if you know that you aren’t going to have time to eat it in the few days after. Unless you are happy to cook and then freeze.
Cook Saucy Meals
I find that the very best leftover meals are the ones with plenty of sauce. The meat has already been cooked, so cooking it again in a nice sauce or gravy means that it’s incredibly soft and tasty. It also means that there’s less danger of your meat drying out from being cooked twice or left in the fridge.
Marinade the Night Before
If you are making a curry, and your meat needs to be marinaded, I would sort this out the night before. Before you get stuck into the washing up, take the meat off the bone if there is one and chop it into chunks. Add to a sealable tub, with whatever marinade you are using, and mix. Seal and leave in the fridge. Cook within two days and your meat will be soft and filled with flavour.
Getting Creative With Leftovers
Leftover meat is the perfect thing to get creative with. You’ve already had a tasty meal from it, there’s nothing to lose. If you like a sandwich, but fancy a change, why not make a greek marinade and serve on flatbreads for some Mediterranean
Can You Freeze Leftover Meals?
For the most part, yes. If your joint of meat was frozen before cooking, as long as it’s been well
But, you have got options. You could just freeze the leftover meat on its own. Wrapping it in clingfilm, and then placing in a freezer bag or tub, making sure it is completely sealed. If you do this, defrost the meat slowly in the fridge before cooking up another meal, and make sure you eat that leftover meal on the day you cook it.
Or, you could use the meat to create another meal, for example, a curry, then portion your curry out into tubs and freeze. If you are freezing a casserole or curry, try to fill the tub as much as possible so that you limit the air that gets in. But, remember it will expand as it freezes, so you need a little room. Leave the meal to cool for up to one hour (no longer to limit bacteria growth) in the cooking pan, before pouring into a freezer bag or tub and sealing. Label it with the name and date of cooking and use within 6 months.
Whatever you are freezing, defrost thoroughly in the fridge before serving and cook slowly until piping hot. You might find that in casseroles and stews (especially those with thickening agents) the potatoes and veg break up slightly as they thaw, but they are still good to eat. Just make sure you freeze anything within an hour of cooking. Don’t pop it in the fridge and forget about it for days, and always eat it on the day it’s defrosted, or the day after if you defrost overnight.
How About Leaving the Meat in the Fridge?
An alternative is slicing or dicing your leftover meat on the day it’s first eaten, wrapping it and leaving in the fridge for a few days. Then cooking it up into a curry or stew. Unless your meat was on its last legs in the first place, this should be fine as long as you eat your leftover meal straight away, and make sure it’s piping hot before you serve.
Some of My Favourite Cooking with Leftovers Recipes
I’ve got so many leftover recipes, and I use them all regularly. Some of my favourites include:
- Leftover Beef Stroganoff
- Pork Stroganoff
- Leftover Beef Curry
- Leftover Lamb Curry
- Greek Wraps
- Beef Chow Mein
- Turkey Chilli
What do you do with your leftovers? Or do you eat it all up the first time, as I fear we will when the kids get bigger!