How to make the most of leftovers?

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Leftover food accounts for a large proportion of the food that is wasted every day. But this senseless waste is completely unnecessary, as leftover food can easily be transformed into a wide range of delicious new dishes.  As part of the planning process you should take leftovers into account, and even make more than you need for one meal so that the leftovers can be converted into something else. Here are some budget-friendly ideas for ways in which you can make the most of the food you buy.

1 A surprising amount of flesh can be stripped from a carcass after a roast meal, and this delicious cooked meat can be converted into a wide range of pies, curries, soups and even simply fried with onions to create a tasty and very quick supper. The stripped carcass can then be converted into home-made stock for use in any number of recipes. Leftover vegetables can be combined with the stock and flesh, if you like, to create a tasty soup, or fried up to make a variation on Bubble and Squeak.

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2 Cold roast beef, pork, chicken and turkey make excellent sandwich fillers, or can be served with a baked potato and salad for an easy supper dish.

3 It is a good idea to make a more Bolognese sauce than you actually need, as it freezes very well and forms the basis of many dishes, such as lasagne, moussaka, cottage pie and chilli con carne.

4 The same applies for meat stews, which are easily made into pies with the addition of a potato or pastry topping.

5 With the addition of a few ingredients, most leftover fish can be made into pies, tarts, salads or sandwich fillings, and the bones can be used to make a fish stock.

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6 Boiled or steamed potatoes can be sliced and transformed into a Spanish omelette, or cubed and combined with corned beef, onions and tomato sauce.

7 Other boiled or steamed vegetables make an almost instant ragu or curry when combined with a can of chopped tomatoes and a few storecupboard flavourings.

8 Leftover pasta and rice is often thrown away because it is cheap. This is a waste, as it can be used to create a cold pasta salad, or to bulk out omeletts or soups.

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9 Cooked beans, peas and lentils can be readily incorporated into many meat and vegetable dishes, adding protein, texture and flavour as well as making more expensive ingredients stretch further.

10 Cooked chickpeas can be puréed to make home-made hummus, and black beans are delicious when combined with chopped tomatoes, avocado, spring onions (scallions), coriander (cilantro) and lemon juice.

11 Cold beans make a nutritious salad when combined with a little olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning.

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12 Stale bread has many uses: it can also be brushed with oil and grilled (broiled) or fried to make home-made croûtons, added to soups, dipped in egg and made into French toast, or used in recipes such as Autumn Pudding or Bread and Butter Pudding with Whiskey Sauce.

13 Leftover stewed fruit makes a healthy and delicious topping for porridge (oatmeal), yogurt and ice cream, and can be added to fruit pies, cobblers and crumblers.

14 You can use the hard rind from cheeses such as grano padano to add flavour to soups and sauces. Simply add it at the start of cooking and remove before serving.

15 Add leftover sauces and gravies to soups and pies, making sure that the flavours complement each other.