Sick of the same old leftover options? Our friends One Handed Cooks share tips for cutting food wastage and trade their tastiest recipes to make your meals and dollars go further.
1. Plan your meals
One-Handed Cook Allie Gaunt is firm in her belief of this one: “I think the one thing you have to embrace, even though it takes a while, is meal planning. It’s the only way to go! I know it sounds a bit kind of old-fashioned and it took me a while to come round [to it], but if you meal-plan it is so much cheaper.”
Planning ahead means you’ll only buy what you need. You can also buy seasonal (i.e. cheaper) produce or buy in bulk essentials that might be on sale.
2. Double it
When cooking a meal that can be frozen, always double for an extra batch. You’ll save money on impulse buys when you’re short on time and can simply reach into the freezer.
“Having some [meals] in the freezer is also an absolute life-saver for me. If I don’t have some in the freezer I feel a little bit nervous,” says Allie.
3. Organise your fridge
Cleaning up the fridge is good for cleanliness and you can properly keep track of what you’ve bought!
It's one of Allie's weekly jobs: “I like to organise my fridge at the end of the week because so many times I’ve looked at the back of the fridge and there have been some things in there that you do not want to know.”
Listen to Allie’s interview with Kinderling Conversation:
Three great recipes for leftovers:
Spaghetti Bolognese Leftover Muffins
A family classic, everyone enjoys spag bol. Leftovers are a given so be creative with other ways to use it.
“It’s important I think to not always just serve the same meal night after night... kids get stuck in a rut. So I think things like making savoury little pastries, you know, when you’re putting a bit of the mince in some puff pastry and putting those in the oven.”
These muffins are our pick and give a different form to an old favourite. They’re good for little ones who want to feed themselves.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
- 1 cup cooked spaghetti
- 1 cup Bolognese
- 1 cup grated cheese
- 2 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a muffin tin.
- Combine ingredients in a bowl. Scoop into a muffin tin, filling each to the top. Continue until you have no more mixture.
- Place in the oven and bake for around 20-25 minutes. The egg will set and the muffins will hold their shape when removed.
Use fresh mince in your bolognese, these muffins use leftover mince so once cooked again they will need to be eaten straight away. Or you can make these using fresh ingredients to use in lunch boxes.
“I thought roasting a chicken was really hard and it’s actually so easy,” says Allie. “I can transform one chicken into about three or four meals.”
Leftover roast chicken goes well in chicken fajitas the next day, in chicken noodle soup, toasties, stir fries or even as quick topping on pizza. These chicken balls are really versatile as a snack, meal or school lunch.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ leek, finely sliced
- 400g chicken breast or 300g leftover roast chicken
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 egg (optional)
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- ½ cup cooked quinoa (according to packet directions or ¼ cup breadcrumbs)
- 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil to fry
- Heat butter in a small frypan over medium. Sauté the leek for a few minutes until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a food processor, process chicken, Dijon and herbs until well minced (you can add any other vegetables here).
- Combine the chicken, leek, egg and quinoa (or breadcrumbs). Use your hands to shape the chicken mixture into small balls.
- Heat a large frypan over medium. Fry the chicken balls for around 5 minutes, turn and repeat until cooked through. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 180°C place balls on tray lined with baking paper, and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Leave out cheese and or egg if required for allergies. If you have a fussy eater you can hide a whole range of vegetables in these meatballs.
Leftover Roast Chicken Stock
Some of the tastiest soups and stocks are those made by being creative with leftover veggies. You can also make a great “hidden veggie” sauce for pizza or pasta’s.
“Making a stock with the bones the next day is also fantastic. And it’s so much cheaper than buying all the stocks that we buy when we only use a cup,” Allie adds. “You can freeze that or I would just use it for the next couple of days.”
Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
- 1 whole fresh roast chicken carcass, most meat removed
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- Optional herbs: parsley, time
- Break the chicken into small manageable pieces and place in a medium sized saucepan. Add the chopped onion, carrot celery, bay leaf and optional herbs.
- Add around 6 cups of water. You want the water to completely cover the ingredients but not too much to still ensure a full flavoured broth. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Bring water to a simmer and leave to bubble on the stove for at least 2 hours, 3-4 is better. Skim any foam from the surface.
- Strain the liquid thoroughly. You can refrigerate and use within a few days or freeze in 1-cup portions for up to 1 month.
Visit One Handed Cooks’ official website for more delicious leftover recipes
Easy finger food recipes for babies and toddlers
Tasty meals for little hands and mouths from One Handed Cooks.
6 amazing vegetarian snacks from One Handed Cooks
Perfect for those fussy eaters!
Hey presto! 4 one-pot wonder recipes
Which also means only one pot to wash up.
Tasty slow-cooker recipes for families from One Handed Cooks
Yummy, easy and perfect for chasing away the winter blues.
Cold comfort: The best immune-boosting foods for your family
One Handed Cooks share tasty, cold-busting recipes to keep you fighting fit during flu season.
Awesome school lunch hacks with One Handed Cooks
Sushi sandwiches, pinwheel wraps and more! These lunch options are so good, you'll want to try them too.
Recipe: The Ultimate Mars Bar and Maltesers Slice
A simple twist on a classic.
Manky stuffed bunny no more! How to clean kids' soft toys
Once you've managed to pry the sticky thing out of their little clenched hand, wash it. Quickly!