Make leftovers lurking in your fridge a thing of the past. Turn them into unique dishes with these leftover ideas.
Bubble & Squeak is the bastion of dishes made from leftovers. So called because of the noise it makes when it’s being fried, bubble and squeak has been a popular dish since the late 1800s. Typically made from cold leftovers from a previous meal, usually the Sunday roast, vegetables are chopped and mixed with mashed potato, then shallow fried until brown on both sides.
Bubble and squeak is a regular feature on brunch menus, particularly as an accompaniment to a full English Breakfast. Not bad for a humble dish that is rumoured to have come about merely because Monday was wash day and cooking time was scarce. Try with brown sauce! Similar dishes exist across the world, with regional variations such as colcannon from Ireland, stamppot from the Netherlands and rumbledethumps from the Scottish borders, all with the base ingredient of potatoes.
Soups and broths are an excellent way to create a nutritious meal from leftovers. Most can be boiled down to make a delicious stock: add milk to create a creamed soup, or water to thin the consistency. Thickeners such as corn flour do have a place in leftover soups, but if you have root vegetables in the mix, or are blending the ingredients, add these at the end. Parsnips and carrots add sweetness, as do members of the squash family.
Chop leftover meat and vegetables or blend them together for a souped-up version of a traditional meal. You can even add frozen or tinned vegetables – just be careful with the salt you add.
Say the word lasagne and people instantly think of wide flat pasta sheets, rich bolognaise and creamy béchamel sauce. Any number of leftovers can create lasagnes with a twist: any number of filling combinations can replace the traditional meat and the béchamel sauce can be swapped for anything from a thick gravy to a curry sauce. Instead of the pasta sheets, use slices of vegetables such as courgette, aubergine, pumpkin or tortilla.
If you’ve bread to use up, why not create a savoury bread-and-butter pudding: cheese works well, particularly mozzarella, brie and camembert. Layer the leftovers between the slices of bread and butter (try adding a smear of mustard or chutney too for a twist), and pour over the usual mixture of eggs, milk and seasoning.
Or create a signature pizza with the kids: start with a tomato and herb base, then add chopped leftovers as you please. Top with cheese and cook until piping hot.