Did you know that us Brits throw away more food from our homes than packaging every year? 20% of the food we buy at home goes in the bin. Shocking, right?
Rather than saying a sorry (and costly) goodbye to last night’s leftovers, with a few tricks up your sleeve you can give them a delicious new lease of life and bring magic to kitchen scraps. From warm salads to beautiful bruschetta, try your hand at our five dishes that make last night’s odds and ends tonight’s dinner winners.
1) Great Green Veg & Pasta Frittata
It sounds odd at first, but think of it as the potato in traditional omelette swapped with pasta and voila, it’s a simple carb swap. Use any cooked pasta you have going – spag bol, linguine and pesto, old carbonara….anything goes with this dish. Throw it into a hot, large frying pan to crisp it up and add anything else that tickles to give it some extra flavour. Garlic, herbs, chilli and capers are store cupboard meal transformers. Give your salad drawers a good rummage too for some added vegetable power. Throw in shredded kale, cabbage, spinach, courgettes…even frozen peas to add a bit of colour and crunch. Add in 2 whisked eggs per person and really, you’re owning this dish.
2) Hot Potato & Mushroom Salad
Boiled potatoes. A lovely accompaniment to a fillet of freshly fried mackerel with broccoli or beans, or a great staple at a barbecue with a dollop of mayo, leftover tatties can look a bit lonely when left in a tupperware for a day or two. Reincarnate them in the kind of warming comfort dish you can picture yourself gobbling down after a hard day’s hiking in the hills of Scotland on a mid-Winter’s day. Simply add garlic and mushrooms (or any other easily fry-able veg) to a hot frying pan with a little olive oil, with some mustard, creme fraiche or cream, salt and pepper along with the potatoes. Sprinkle over a few herbs, and it’s dinnertime.
See our recipe for Hot Potato & Mushroom Salad.
3) Baked Chicken Risotto
Risottos contain creamy spoonfuls of flavoursome deliciousness, but that usually comes with having a fair bit of time on your hands. By baking your risotto, you will be released from the mild torment of juggling ladles of hot stock and a pot of furiously bubbling rice – though if it’s a Sunday and you’ve got a free afternoon and a glass of wine in hand, (necessary for cooking, obviously) it can be a more genteel affair. When time and planned ingredients aren’t on your side however, start making your risotto as normal but in a sturdy pot with a lid that can go in the oven. Add in all the liquid at once – chopped tomatoes and passata make a nice addition – and drop in shredded pieces of leftover chicken. Bake at 180C until the sauce has thickened and the rice is to your liking and you’re laughing all the way to the leftover recipe bank.
Who’d have thought stale bread is an actual requirement for a dish that’s so tasty in its own right that you’d forget it’s perfect for using up leftovers? Ripe tomatoes, torn up pieces of day or two-old bread, plenty of olive oil, salt, pepper, a little thinly sliced red onion and red wine vinegar are all that’s needed to make you the culinary hero of your household. Even if it’s just you and a Netflix night in.
See our recipe for Panzanella salad.
5) Chorizo Butter Bruschetta
As simple to make as it sounds, do not, ever, under any circumstances underestimate the power of chorizo spiked butter. Just whizz up some chorizo with a dab or two of butter in a mini food processor or blender, and spread on bread (or frankly, on whatever you like) to your heart’s content. Add few shoots of fresh watercress for a peppery, leafy kick – and also for that added virtuous factor.
To see these recipes and more, head to our brand new recipe collection where you’ll find plenty of simple, seasonal dishes to inspire you all year round. We’re so excited about this new feature of the shop that we’re constantly cooking in the office to make recipes to write about and would love to hear what you think.