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Putting food leftovers to good use . February - Food Champions Challenge

Firstly congratulations to @CainAU @mudpuppy @Pjrpd and @Desperado for their posts in the January sodium challenge which earned them a "Food Champions " challenge award badge .

This month challenge concerns how you utilise food left overs . The British food dish " Bubble ‘n’ Squeak " or "Nosh up " came about by adding mashed potatoes to Sunday’s roast left overs .
We throw away far too much good food in Australia .

THIS MONTHS CHALLENGE IS TO PUT FORWARD YOUR IDEAS , RECIPES THAT UTILISE LEFT OVER FOOD FROM A PREVIOUS MEAL.

Naturally good food handling practice should be taken into account and used.

From the Food Champions Gaby @Gaby Peter @PHB and Mike @vax2000
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Take it for lunch. You need a little insulated cooler, a microwave safe container with a good lid and a microwave at work. As well as avoiding food wastage it will save you quite a bit of money if you are in the habit of buying your lunch. For those who are keeping an eye on their food intake for any reason it allows another level of control that may not be so easy with purchased lunch. That might be content, portion size or self control.

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For left over corn beef, one can dice it up fine and make corned beef and corn fritters.

Most left overs can also be made into a jaffle…using jaffle irons. For veges, add cheese, egg and herbs. For say left over stirfry…just add a portion of each dish for a tasty meal.

We also only cook enough for avmeal, but sometimes there will invariably be leftovers due to the bought portion size (cut of meat etc).

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Often, after cooking a big dinner for family and friends, a lot of leftovers end up stored and forgotten in the fridge.
But…by adding a few simple ingredients like eggs, cheese, ham…those foods can be transformed in a very tasty next day lunch.
Just think pasta made into lasagne…roast chicken in a Caesar salad… mature fruit into jam…
Just let your imagination go, watch the savings, and accept the compliments
gracefully :wink:

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Leftover rice? make fried rice. If it’s aborio rice, then aranchini
Any sort of leftover stew, casserole, stroganoff etc - use as filling for pies
Any non-soggy leftover meats? slice for use in sandwiches
stale bread? tear it up and use it in a one-tray bake with chicken pieces, olives, tomatoes, basil and bacon, or make breadcrumbs for crumbing fish or schnitzel
cream about to go off and you’ve got a food processor - churn it into butter
Leftover wine (how, I ask you), freeze in an icecube tray and use for cooking, or with white wine, as ice to keep a glass cold on the next hot day without diluting the winey goodness as the icecube melts. Same with coffee for iced coffee.
Leftover fresh herbs, chillis etc? dry them out and store them, or keep them in the freezer - not as good as fresh, but nowhere near as bad as none.
Too many seasonal fruits and vegetables? get to pickling them (get your kids involved and teach them about whole foods, seasonality and the like)
And of course, when vegetables are too far gone for human consumption, you can use them for compost
The list is endless.
Also, I can’t find it now but I did hear about one chef who challenged his apprentices to plan a seven day menu where the principle ingredient carries over into each dish for the week, and dishes needed to be based on the stage that ingredient was at - ie, first night might be a capaccio or steak tartare, second night might be a roast, third night might be a stew or beef daub, down to the final night which would be a bone broth. Very challenging/daunting for the would-be chefs, but a great learning experience. If anyone knows more about this I’d love to hear about it.

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What leftover food?

When we cook a beef, lamb, pork or chicken roast, we always cook enough roast potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potato for several meals, and for dinner on the following nights, we reheat the some of the meat and gravy in the microwave and some of the roast veggies in the air fryer, and prepare some fresh steamed greens.

Whe we cook stews, casserloes, pasta bolognese, pea & ham soup and such like, we reheat some of it in the microwave each night until it has all been consumed.

No food waste at our place.

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We put all our scraps in a worm bin. The bin doesn’t smell and the worms flourish with the food. They create excellent compost for our garden. It reduces land-fill. A win-win situation for all.

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Theres only me, so I tend to make exactly what I need. In winter though, any stew left over from slow cooking gets frozen into several smaller containers. Instant food. Fast food :slight_smile:

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Leftover food in Indonesia is usually rice. Left in the sun, subject to dirt, misc. poo, wind, chickens etc, it is made into crisp crackers which i do not eat!
A tray of it was left where it couldnt dry recently in my accomodation. I threw it out as it had developed a salmon pink colour. I hope locals would realise it as having gone bad.
Most people dont have refridgeration, but some have a food cupboard - best is metal & glass as it is mouseproof.
I frequently buy from street sellers, fabulous food. So far, no food poisoning!

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I find menu planning not only saves money but also saves time. For example I’ll buy 1/2kg of mince, 1/2kg of lamb and some chicken thighs. I’ll make a mince pie for dinner on Sunday night (which actually makes enough for two nights by the time you fill it with peas, corn chopped carrot & mushrooms) the lamb will be in the slow cooker, it also makes enough for two meals and I’ll crumb the chicken and make schnitzels for later in the week (and a four pack of thighs from Aldi also means you can make schnitzel sandwiches for lunch). All the veggies will be cut and put in the fridge ready to be either roasted or steamed which means we also get a good hit of vegetables. I find we get a good variety of food and best of all there’s hardly any prep work or washing up required on meal night. Enjoy :sunny:

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Welcome to the forum Richard @richardg . Excellent post too . Some good ideas there .

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We throw away very little. We buy reusable containers, and place leftovers in them, freezing the food if it’s not going to be eaten in around 16 hours.
Only enough food as is needed is cooked, avoiding the need to throw away. Expiry dates are carefully monitored, and often dictate the next meal.
I would like to use the compost heap for excess food, but we simply don’t have enough left overs.
We grow some food, not too much in our tiny yard. What we can’t use, is given to friends and relatives, what goes round comes round and they in turn return the favour.
I am always puzzled at the statement Australians throw away too much food. We live in like minded communities, and we are not unusual. Food is too expensive to waste.

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The humble chicken. Buy a good quality whole chicken and roast it. With enough roast veggies or salads, there is one meal. Cold cuts for sandwiches. If I have purposely made too many roast veg, I will reheat them with the chicken and gravy for another roast dinner without the wait.

Now use that carcass. I collect them in a container in the freezer. When I have enough I make a rich chicken stock. Not just for soup but enriching sauces and stir fries. Sometimes I make several litres of stock and then pressure can it, the only way to preserve it in bottles safely. That makes it shelf stable for at least 12 months.

Making chilli chicken wings where you cut off the wing tips? Put those tips in the freezer with the carcasses. Roasted till crispy they add so much flavour and colour to your stock.

When I cook a large bolognese sauce, I either freeze half of it or pressure can a couple of jars that then become an easy meal from the pantry shelf.

Best thing we did was buy a fridge that has a supercool freezer drawer that freezes food from hot. It is the best way to save cooked rice for another meal. When reheated it is just as good as the day it was cooked and there are no worries about it being spoiled.

The other thing we do is vacuum seal our meat, poultry and seafood for freezing or keeping in the fridge until using. No freezer burn and it lasts so much longer.

Is buying in bulk the way to go if you end up tossing out most of the bulk? No, it’s not. Buy how much you need if it is perishable and use it while fresh.

Old fruit like apples, make a pie or crumble. Peel and freeze overripe bananas to make banana muffins or banana cake/bread.

Cream that has past its use by but is still sweet, get the starter bacteria to make sour cream or add a bit of yoghurt to do so.

Old bread becomes breadcrumbs, croutons or garlic bread. Potato peels are slicked with oil and salt and roasted till crispy as a home snack. Old potatoes are put through the spiraliser and deep fried into crispy chips as a treat. I use vinegar powder and salt to season them. Old vegetables that are past it are used for stock then tossed in the worm farm/compost bin.

That’s some of what we do.

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