Savvy leftovers – meals from meals from meals

It’s very beneficial to learn how to stretch your meals further. Not only can this practice save you time, but it will minimize food wastage, and save you from spending extra cash!

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As I stated in a previous post, Australian’s discard up to 20% of the food they purchase. In an average household, this equates to approximately $1036 worth of edible goods being thrown away every year. That is enough money to pay of at least six months of an energy bill! Literature suggests that increased consumer choice combined with a decrease in the proportion of disposable income that is spent on food has led to an increase in wasteful behaviours [1, 2]. These actions directly impact grocery stores as well. As consumers grow increasingly concerned about food safety, and frequently demand high quality produce, food is often thrown away before it can be sold, while it is perfectly fit for consumption [2].

Apart from saving an extra buck, from a nutritional point of view, eating leftovers is fine. With a lot of dishes, the flavours are often more intense the second time round. As for stews, casseroles or curries, the ingredients get the chance to mingle during their period of refrigeration. Meat and fish tend to be that little bit drier, but there are many ways you can incorporate this into a different meal.

Chicken, pork or beef is easily shredded, and combine with a rich gravy and a few different vegetables, you can create a quick and easy casserole. Place this into pastry, and you’ve got pies. Or for something a little fresher, throw your left over meats into a frittata with a few eggs and some greens.

Image: Good Dinner Mom

Why not transform those left over spuds from last Sunday’s dinner into a tasty gnocchi pasta dish. You could whip up a rich tomato sauce by roasting a kilo of older tomatoes, simply try sautéing sage leaves in a little brown butter. Check out this recipe.

One of my personal pet hates, is when your crunchy, fresh salad leaves turn sad and limp. A simple way to turn this into a fragrant side dish, is to stir fry lettuce in some sesame oil, soy sauce and garlic. Add some finely diced chilli if you fancy.

Use up left over rice by whipping up a simple rice pudding to have for dessert. Use this recipe here to see how. Rice pudding is great with fresh or stewed fruit.

Image: GF on a Shoestring

Hopefully these recipes can give a few practical ideas for how to stretch your meals that little bit further. Minimise your food wastage, save money and eat well!

[1] Parfitt, J., Barthel, M., & Macnaughton, S. (2010). Food waste within food supply chains: quantification and potential for change to 2050. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences365(1554), 3065-3081.

[2] Lundqvist, J., de Fraiture, C., & Molden, D. (2008). Saving water: from field to fork: curbing losses and wastage in the food chain.