Cooking with leftover roast beef is perfect for feeding a family on a budget, and trying to avoid food waste. It’s also great for families short on time, and anyone that just really loves beef.
Some of my most popular recipes are those using leftover meat. As busy families, we’re all keen to save both money and time, and using up leftovers is great for both. In our house, we usually sit down for a big roast dinner on Sundays. We eat together most days, but there’s still something special about a massive Sunday dinner, and in all honesty, it’s probably one of my favourite meals of the week. But, there’s usually quite a bit of meat leftover. It’s often more cost-effective to buy a bigger joint or bird, and being able to eat leftovers the day after is a great way to make the most of your money. It also saves a lot of time on what for us is usually a very busy Monday.
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But, I like to do something with my leftovers, and especially with beef, which is super versatile, and always tastes great the day after. Don’t get me wrong, some weeks it’s just warmed up with leftover veg and gravy. But, whenever possible I like to try to create another filling family dinner with my leftover roast beef.
I know people worry about cooking with leftover beef, however. You might worry about how long you can keep your leftover roast beef, or how to safely warm cold roast beef up after it’s been stored. For the most part, there’s no need. Leftover roast beef is perfect for reheating, even if it was a little tough the first time. So, let’s take a look at ways you can use up your Leftover Roast Beef.
How Long Can You Keep Leftover Roast Beef?
I would generally keep cooked Leftover Roast Beef in the fridge for 3-4 days. If we’ve eaten it first on Sunday, I tend to make something with the leftovers on either Monday or Tuesday. But, if there was still a little left, I’d happily put it in a sandwich on Wednesday.
Wrap your cooked roast beef in cling film, or a sealed sandwich bag, or place it in a sealed, airtight tub in the fridge and it will be fine for a few days. I tend to either slice or chop into chunks, on the day that it’s cooked, just to make it easier later on. You could then also store it in portions, putting any that you don’t need for your leftover roast beef meal in your freezer.
Once your leftover meal has been cooked, it’s usually ok to reheat the day after, or even freeze for a later date. But, be aware that casseroles and stews don’t defrost particularly well. They still taste fine, but the texture can be a little odd as the cells break down having been frozen and thawed.
All that said, if you have any doubts over your leftover roast beefs safety, don’t eat it. If it’s a little off colour, smells funny, or just doesn’t seem right, it’s better to be safe.
Can You Freeze Roast Beef?
You can freeze Leftover Roast Beef unless it was frozen before unless it’s been cooked again first. So you can’t defrost frozen beef and then refreeze it again straight away. But, you could cook it up into a pasta sauce or curry, and then freeze that.
To freeze Leftover Roast Beef, wrap it tightly, and place in a sealed bag or tub that is airtight, to avoid freezer burn. Then, defrost thoroughly before cooking, either in the fridge or microwave, and cook until piping hot before eating. Eat, or cook and refreeze this meat within 24 hours of defrosting.
But, again, if you’ve got any doubts about the quality or safety of your meat, don’t risk it. The NHS has some useful tips on storing leftovers here.
Beef and Red Wine Casserole
Beef and Red Wine Casserole is one of my go-to leftover meals. If you’ve got leftover veg like carrots, you can throw them in as well, and adding a generous serving of red wine really refreshes your leftovers. You could even serve Beef and Red Wine Casserole with leftover potatoes and any other bits that you’ve got. Cook your casserole slowly over a low heat, or in the oven in a covered dish for a few hours for tender, juicy chunks of beef.
If you prefer, skip the red wine and go for a classic beef stew, which IMO is the easiest way to use up leftovers. Throw in some dumplings for perfect comfort food!
Leftover Roast Beef Curry
Curry is always a fantastic way to use up leftovers whether it’s chicken, beef or lamb. Even leftover veggies and potatoes can make a super curry!
We love curry in our house. I tend to make a big pot with some homemade naan to go with it. Like casserole, curry is great because your leftover beef gets to simmer away slowly in a thick sauce. This means that it stays nice and soft and takes on plenty of flavour. Once we’ve had our original beef meal, I tend to chop and cool the leftovers, before throwing them into an airtight tub with the marinade. I then use them in a curry a day or two later. Gorgeous. If you are a little short on beef, you can still make a leftover roast beef curry. Just add some potatoes or vegetables too.
Beef Chow Mein
Beef Chow Mein is perhaps one of the easiest ways to use up leftover beef. It’s also great with chicken or pork. Make a simple chow mein sauce, add chopped veg and ready to wok noodles and give it all a stir fry. Ready in minutes and perfect for the whole family.
A fancy French name for beef and red wine casserole? Absolutely! But, my recipes are a little different. Both very tasty, and both great for leftovers.
My Leftover Roast Beef Stroganoff has always been one of the most popular recipes on my website. As such, I really should re-do it and take some new photos, but there never seems to be time, and I’m totally one of those people that eats a gorgeous meal and then thinks, “oops, should have taken a photo of that”. Which is probably why my Instagram account is so terrible!
Beef Stroganoff is one of those classic meals, that you can easily throw together with a few ingredients, and make your own by altering your quantities. I generally serve leftover roast beef stroganoff with pasta or potatoes, but I know a lot of people prefer it with rice. Whatever tastes good for you!
Beef Goulash or the Hungarian version of a beef stew is yummy. Made with either refresh or leftover beef, it’s the perfect way to add some flavour to your beef while cooking it slowly for tender chunks of meat. Add plenty of paprika for a super taste stew.
Leftover Roast Beef Sandwiches
If you are short on time or don’t fancy cooking again, leftover roast beef sandwiches can be a great solution. Add some horseradish to thin slices of beef for a simple, but tasty sandwich. Husband would add mashed up sprouts to his. But the less said about that the better I think.
What better way to use Leftover Roast Beef than encasing it in pastry with all of your leftover veg? If you are short on meat, add potatoes too, or lots of veg in a thick beef gravy. Meat pie is a classic way to use leftover meat and veg and is definitely a big favourite in our house.
What to do with Tough Leftover Roast Beef
Beef tends to become more tender the longer it’s cooked. So, beef that might have been a little tough, or even dry, on your Sunday dinner, isn’t beyond hope. Chop this tough beef into chunks and cook it slowly in a sauce. A casserole is ideal, as it gets to simmer away in liquid for hours.
How do you use up your leftovers?