Monday, February 9, 2009

Making the most of your leftovers

What do you get when you cross a food-obsessed culture with a global recession? A serious spike in lunchbox and thermos flask sales, so here are some great ideas to get you thinking about using your leftovers.

I was reading a personal finance blog yesterday and offered the author some advice on what to do with her leftover vegetables. Soup at lunchtime is the perfect antidote to cold, blustery days. So on rainy Sundays, make a big pot and freeze it in portions.
So basically you just boil up all your leftover vegetables with an onion, garlic if you wish, a stock cube then simmer until veg is soft. Blitz in a liquidiser or food processor to your desired thickness, season to taste and hey presto! It is great served with crusty bread and you can take it to work in a flask, or get out of the freezer in the morning and warm through when you get home from work.

Cornish pasties - a meal in a parcel - were the original working lunch, and you can make them really easily. Put some of your chosen filling on a disc of puff pastry (again, there are endless variations you can play around with) and fold it over into a crescent shape. Seal it by squeezing between your fingers and thumbs and dabbing it with a little egg yolk. Then bake in the oven. A great alternative to boring sandwiches in both adults and kids lunchboxes. A large pack of puff pastry is approx 95p (this would make loads) and this is a great way to use the last bits of cheese up or any processed meats - just add some onion or tomato. To create a more traditional Cornish pasty, use leftover meat and veg from the Sunday roast. I keep a pack of puff pastry in the fridge at all times and cut off small chunks if making pasties or more if I need the topping for a pie. You can also make a large roast dinner pie with all your Sunday Roast leftovers and the addition of some thick gravy and some fried onions. Serve with mash and beans.

On average we waste a third of the food we buy. That amounts to around £600 per year for an average family. There are some really easy ways to lower your lunchtime food wastage. Freezing bread in the portions you need to make sandwiches, for example. And leftover salad can be ripped up and added to pasta salad or put into sandwiches or wraps the next day.
One of the biggest issues is that £1bn worth of homemade meals are being binned every year, so taking your leftovers to work or making another meal out of them, saves a great deal of money.
People tend to be unsure about how long they can keep leftovers for, but the standard advice is that they will be OK for two days in the fridge and then you should eat them, or freeze them.


  1. good post- i have been guilty in the past of throwing things away when really they could have been salvaged, and with a bit of thought made into very tasty meals. I also think there is sometimes a bit of snobbery about what our fruit/vegetables look like.

  2. Hello! The reason I'm getting quite a lot of comments on my blog is that although the blog is new, I am not! I had another blog, Definitely Stopping At Two, which I started just over a year ago. Then I scrapped it because it contained a lot of info about my family and I began to feel guilty about writing about their business. So I started Jacob Wrestling and carried my old readers over. Keep commenting and you'll get more comments - it does take a while to build them up so don't get discouraged. I look forward to reading more of your blog. Cx

  3. ff - I agree about the food snobbery, but if we are trying to save money - that has to be a thing of the past.
    c - OMG, i used to read you! This will give me something to look forward to! I remember you moved house and there was once a funny post about the milkman! good luck with the new blog, I will add you to my blogroll pronto!