20 awesome leftovers recipes

Where do you stand on leftovers? It’s a topic that’s more polarising than a Kardashian wedding. Some people have the absolute horrors at the mere thought of eating old food and insist upon throwing all their dinner remains out.

I don’t get it.

I love ’em. Always have. My favourite brekkie in my hungover youth was a melange of last night’s takeaway suburban Chinese reheated in a frying pan. Mmmmmmm.

Here are some yummy ways I’ve reused leftovers …

1. Recipe: Leftover roast risotto

Leftovers used: roast beef and roast veggies

roast-risotto

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • Leftover roast beef and roast veggies, diced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • Grated parmesan, to serve

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-based pan and saute onion and garlic until soft.  Add rice, stirring until glossy. Add white wine, stirring until absorbed. Add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. When rice is just al dente, stir in leftover roast beef and veggies. Heat until warmed through, stir through 1/2 cup parmesan, then sprinkle with extra parmesan and serve.

2. Recipe: Sausage & tomato bake

Leftovers used: sausages from barbie

I invariably over-cater at barbecues, there are always piles of snags leftover. So I’ve been devising creative ways to repurpose them for the next night’s dinner. If you don’t have a barbecue on the agenda, just grill a double lot next time you have sausages for dinner and try one of these dishes the next day. Here are 3 ways to serve them …

  • 300g short pasta
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 zucchini, thickly sliced and quartered
  • 1 red capsicum, finely diced
  • 8 leftover sausages, chopped
  • 420g jar Sacla Cherry Tomato & Basil sauce
  • 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup grated tasty cheese

METHOD: Cook pasta and drain. Preheat oven to 180C. Heat olive oil in a heavy based frying pan. Saute garlic, red capsicum and zucchini until softened. Toss through pasta, sausages, pasta sauce and crushed tomatoes. Pour into a casserole dish and top with grated cheese. Cook for around 30 minutes until cheese is melted and golden. Serve with a salad, if desired.

3. Recipe: Malaysian curried sausages

Leftovers used: sausages from barbie

curried-sausages.png

 

  • 1 tablespoon peanut or rice bran oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon crushed ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Ayam curry powder
  • 8 leftover sausages, chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 400g can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli bean sauce (if you like spicy food, otherwise use 1 tablespoon of soy sauce)
  • Steamed rice and veg, and roti bread to serve

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add onion and saute until soft. Add ginger and curry powder, fry 1 minute until fragrant. Add sausages, stock, crushed tomatoes and soy/chilli bean sauce. Simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. Serve with rice, veg and roti bread.

4. Recipe: Sausage pot pies

Leftovers used: sausages from barbie

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 generous tablespoons of Beerenberg caramelised onions
  • 8 leftover chicken sausages
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of cornflour mixed with a little water to make a paste
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Steamed veggies and mashed potato to serve

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and gently saute the celery and carrots until softened. Add the sausages, wine, stock and caramelised onions and thyme. Stir to combine and simmer for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C. Mix in the cornflour paste to thicken the mixture. Simmer another 5 minutes. Divide mixture among 8 ceramic dishes. Cut circles of pastry, place over the dishes. Brush pastry with beaten egg. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Serve with steamed veggies and mashed potato.

5. Recipe: beef fritters

Leftovers used: roast beef

This recipe comes from the divine Jennene Plummer at Woman’s Day magazine.

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 150ml water
  • 2 tblsps canola oil
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 cups chopped cooked beef
  • 1 grated zucchini
  • 2 chopped green shallots.

METHOD: Combine water, half oil, egg yolk and zest. Add flour and cumin. Mix to form a smooth batter. Set aside for 15 minutes. Stir in beef, zucchini and onion. In a clean bowl, beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan on medium. Working in batches, drop heaped tablespoonfuls of mixture into pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden and cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to pan if required. Tomato sauce smiley faces optional!

6. Recipe: Spag bol risotto

Leftovers used: bolognaise sauce

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • Generous splash of olive oil
  • 2 cups of arborio rice
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 litre of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of leftover spaghetti bolognaise mince
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

METHOD: Saute the garlic and onion in olive oil in a heavy-based pan until softened. Add arborio rice and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the white wine. Stir until almost evaporated. Add the chicken stock in ladlefuls, waiting until each one is almost absorbed before adding another. If you run out of stock and the rice is still a bit firm, add a little water. When the rice is just al dente, mix in the leftover spag bol mince and let heat through for a minute. Stir in the parmesan and serve.

7. Recipe: Potato, feta and mint pasties

Leftovers used: mashed potato

pasties

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of mashed potato
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten + 1 extra
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint

METHOD:  Pre-heat oven to  200°C (180°C fan-forced). Heat olive oil in a heavy based pan. Saute onion and garlic gently until softened. Set aside to cool. Mix potato, feta, egg and mint in a bowl. Stir through onion mixture. Cut four circles into each sheet of puff pastry. Place a heaped tablespoon of potato mixture on one side of each pastry circle, leaving a 1cm edge. Brush edge with beaten egg. Fold pastry circle over mixture and use a fork to press the edges together. Brush with beaten egg and place on baking paper on a baking tray. Bake in oven for 20 minutes until golden. Makes 12.

8. Recipe: Lemony tuna patties

Leftovers used: mashed potato; bread crusts

tuna-patties

  • 1 cup leftover mashed potato
  • 400g tinned tuna in olive oil
  • 4 bread crusts (ends of loaf) – crumbed in a food processor
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp sundried tomato pesto
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

METHOD: Combine mashed potatoes, tuna, feta, half of the breadcrumbs, sundried tomato pesto, garlic, lemon zest and juice in a bowl. Roll mixture into golf-ball sized patties, flatten slightly and coat with the remaining breadcrumbs. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Gently cook tuna patties until golden on both sides. Serve with salad or veggies.

9. Recipe: potato bread

Leftovers used: mashed potato

  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pkt dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 5 cups bread flour

METHOD: Mix together mashed potatoes, eggs and butter in a large bowl. Stir in salt, yeast and warm water. Mix in flour to form a dough. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead well for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put dough in a greased bowl and toss so the entire surface becomes glossy. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm spot to rise for an hour. Preheat oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead lightly for five minutes. Return to bowl and cover with tea towel, leave in a warm place until dough doubles in size (about 30 minutes). Shape dough into an oval and score three times across the top. Brush with water. Place onto a baking paper-lined tray and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Delicious warm with butter and homemade soup.

10. Recipe: fish pie

Leftovers used: mashed potato

  • 4 eggs, boiled, peeled and diced
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour, mixed with a little water
  • 120g baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup grated tasty cheese
  • 600g fresh salmon, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 250g smoked fish (not the sliced variety), flaked
  • 2 cups mashed potato
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 carrot

METHOD: Preheat oven to 200c. Saute onion and carrot in a little olive oil until soft. Add spinach and stir until just wilted. Add milk, bring to a simmer, stir in mustard powder and cornflour mixture. Stir until mixture thickens. Stir in cheese. Remove from the heat. Arrange salmon and smoked fish in a flat-bottomed casserole dish. Sprinkle egg on top. Pour over creamy vegetable sauce. Place dollops of mashed potato on top and smooth across entire surface. Spray with a little cooking spray. Bake for 35-40 minutes until piping hot and golden. Decorate with fish shapes cut from raw carrot slices for novelty value. Serve with salad or veg.

TIP: Rather than boiling the buggery out of eggs, I simply bring them to an initial boil, then turn off the heat, put a lid on the saucepan and leave them for 10 minutes. Stops them bursting at the seams etc. My mother-in-law taught me that, clever woman.

11. Recipe: African-spiced cauliflower and potato soup

Leftovers used: mashed potato

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 250ml water
  • 1 cup mashed potato
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • Chilli flakes to serve (optional)

METHOD: Heat olive oil in a stockpot. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Add spices, saute 1 minute. Add stock, water and cauliflower. Simmer with lid on stockpot until cauliflower is soft. Add coconut milk and mashed potato. Puree with stick blender. Reheat gently. Serve sprinkled with chilli flakes for adult diners. Delicious with a fresh cob of bread and butter.

12. Recipe: Slow-cooker chilli con carne

Leftovers used: OK, the first recipe isn’t leftovers. But once you make it, you can turn it into two different dishes over the following nights … cool, huh?

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1kg beef mince
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 800g can crushed tomatoes
  • 800g can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Steamed rice, sour cream, freshly chopped coriander leaves and grated tasty cheese to serve

METHOD: Heat oil in a frying pan and saute onion and garlic until soft. Add mince, cumin and smoked paprika and cook mince, stirring and breaking up, until browned. Transfer to slow-cooker. Stir in oregano, beef stock, tomato paste and tinned tomatoes. Cook, covered, on low for 8 hours. Serve with rice, sour cream, freshly chopped coriander leaves and grated tasty cheese.

Day 2: I turn it into …

13. Recipe: Mexi-beef pies

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 sheet of shortcrust pastry
  • 2 cups of chilli con carne
  • Grated tasty cheese
  • Veggies or salad to serve

If using a pie maker, cut circles in pastry with the plastic cutters – large circles with the shortcrust pastry, small circles with the puff pastry. Place the large circles in the base of the 4-pie maker. Add 1/2 cup of chilli con carne to each pie. Sprinkle with grated tasty cheese. Top with puff pastry circles. Cook until golden. If you don’t have a pie maker, bake pies in a large muffin pan or individual pie tins. Serve with salad or veggies.

Day three: it becomes …

14. Recipe: Beef and bean nachos

  • 500g bag plain corn chips
  • 2-3 cups chilli con carne
  • 1-2 cups of grated tasty cheese
  • 3/4 cup guacamole (see below)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup tomato salsa (see below)

METHOD: Preheat oven to 180C. Arrange corn chips on a baking tray. Spoon chilli con carne evenly over chips. Sprinkle with tasty cheese. Bake until cheese melts – around 10 minutes. Dollop sour cream, guacamole and salsa on top and serve.

Quick guacamole

Mash 2 ripe avocadoes, stir in 1/4 minced red onion and Tabasco to taste. Add lemon juice and ground sea salt. Taste. Add more lemon juice or sea salt until the desired level of Guacamole nirvana is achieved.

Quick tomato salsa

Mix together 4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped; 1 small red onion, finely chopped; 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped; 1/4 cup of fresh coriander leaves, chopped; 1 tablespoon of lime juice.

15. Recipe: super-easy homemade gnocchi

Leftovers used: mashed potato

  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 & 1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups plain flour

METHOD: Bring a large pot of water – with a heaped tablespoon of salt added – to the boil. Push the mashed potatoes through a sieve or ricer into a bowl. Stir eggs through. Add one cup of the flour and mix with the fork. Add enough additional flour to make a moist, but firm dough (a bit like playdough in consistency).

Don’t over-mix the dough or gnocchi will become tough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a ball. Divide ball into 6 pieces.

Roll the pieces into logs, and cut into 3cm pieces. Pick up each piece, and press it onto a fork with your thumb, then roll it off. Mine are a bit square, gently fashion yours into an oval shape if you prefer. Or go all modern and just boil them in their initial “pillow-like” state after you initially cut them.

Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water, and cook them until they float, stirring once or twice to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Drain.

NOTE: The gnocchi can be frozen after boiling. Rinse with cold water, drain, and arrange in layers on baking paper in a plastic container and freeze. When needed, pop them frozen into a pot of boiling water and cook as above.

2 gnocchi sauce ideas …

Creamy pesto sauce

I’ve been a bit wary of pesto around finicky Sprog 2 but she loved this sauce.

  • 1 bunch of basil, leaves only
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp raw pinenuts + 1 tablespoon toasted
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeds removed and finely chopped

METHOD: In a food processor, combine basil, parmesan, lemon juice and pinenuts. Add olive oil in a drizzle until pesto forms. Bring cream to a gentle simmer in a pan. Stir through pesto and remove from heat. Serve over freshly cooked gnocchi, sprinkled with diced tomato and toasted pinenuts.

Gorgonzola sauce

I’m cooking this little heart-clogger next week.

  • 1 cup single cream
  • 200g gorgonzola, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)

METHOD: Place the cream and chilli flakes (I add these to cut through the richness of the gorgonzola, but they’re not essential) in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Toss freshly cooked gnocchi in the sauce and serve.

16. Recipe: Pumpkin, spinach & goat’s cheese risotto

Leftovers used: roast pumpkin

image (22)

Leftover roast pumpkin, cut into chunks

olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 litre chicken stock

150g baby spinach leaves

50g goat’s cheese

2 tablespoons toasted pinenuts

1 tablespoon finely chopped sage

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-based pan and saute onion and garlic until soft.  Add rice, stirring until glossy. Add white wine, stirring until absorbed. Add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. When rice is just tender, stir in baby spinach leaves until just wilted. Stir in goat’s cheese. Gently toss in roast pumpkin, pinenuts and sage. Serve.

17. Recipe: Pumpkin & pesto risotto

Leftovers used: roast pumpkin

pumpkin-pesto-risotto

Leftover roast pumpkin, cut into chunks

olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 litre chicken stock

Few handfuls of of basil

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1/2 cup grated parmesan

1/3 cup olive oil

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-based pan and saute onion and garlic until soft.  Add rice, stirring until glossy. Add white wine, stirring until absorbed. Add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. When rice is just tender, stir in roast pumpkin and pesto (made by chucking basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil in a food processor). Warm through. Serve.

18. Recipe: Pulled pork, pumpkin and leek risotto

Leftovers used: pulled pork, roast pumpkin

In a moment of empty pantry panic I was forced to open a packet of pulled pork to feed the dogs for dinner. This is what I did with the rest and some leftover pumpkin and a wilted leek I  had in the fridge …

pulled-pork-risotto

olive oil

1 leek, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 litre chicken stock

Leftover roast pumpkin, cut into chunks

250g pulled pork

1/2 cup parmesan

METHOD: Heat oil in a heavy-based pan and saute leek and garlic until soft.  Add rice, stirring until glossy. Add white wine, stirring until absorbed. Add chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. When rice is just tender, stir in roast pumpkin and pulled pork. Warm through. Stir through parmesan. Serve.

19. Recipe: Creamy Mexican dip

Leftovers used: taco mince

taco-dip

  • 2 cups leftover taco mince (basically just mince mixed with taco seasoning)
  • ½ block reduced-fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup mild salsa
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated tasty cheese
  • corn chips

Method: Preheat oven to 180C. Spray a small Pyrex dish with cooking spray. Add meat, cream cheese, and salsa to a small saucepan, and heat over medium heat. Stir frequently until cream cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly. Stir in sour cream. Spread meat mixture evenly into prepared baking dish, and sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve with corn chips for dipping.

20. Recipe: Chilli beef empanadas

photo 1 (9)

OK, this one is a bit of a two-nighter. Cook it for dinner on the Friday night, then turn the leftovers into empanadas the next day. They’re not empanadas because I just used puff pastry as a shortcut.

Day 1

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5kg chuck steak, cut into 2cm cubes
  • Sea salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (Masterfoods usually has it)
  • 2 dried chipolte chillies (I ordered mine from www.herbies.com.au)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
  • Wheat tortillas, grated cheese, sour cream and rice to serve

Day 2

  • 5 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salsa to serve

METHOD:  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Cook beef in batches until browned. Place in slow cooker. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in pan and saute onion and garlic until soft. Add to slow cooker. Stir in tomatoes, sugar, dried spices, tomato paste and salt. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low. Serve with tortillas, cheese, sour cream and rice.

Day two: place tablespoons of meat mixture on circles of puff pastry, brush edges with beaten egg then fold over and seal. Brush with egg, bake in 180C oven until golden. Serve with mild salsa.

Do you have a favourite leftovers dish? 

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4 thoughts on “20 awesome leftovers recipes

    • I missed this message Geoff! Thank you. It’s weird, I’m usually good with food, but DD is proving a tough nut to crack. I haven’t made anything that he’s loved yet.

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