Quite often the fate of leftover food is from the fridge to the waste bin. Our relative luxury often tells us that it’s just a few scraps down the drain. But hold the thought there and superimpose it with an image of the homeless going hungry on the streets. Waste just got some perspective. Now, please stop me before I get on a soapbox. This article is not about that (though recycling food is a prime need). It is about the recipe side of things first.
Surprisingly, the art of leftover cooking isn’t new by any means. If you have ever been a college student, then this wasn’t art…it was a lifestyle. From Shepherd’s Pie to casseroles, many dishes can be wrapped around leftovers. Heck, quite a few were probably invented from leftovers, like fried rice. Can the good be made finger-licking better with some cooking chutzpah? Let’s find out from these six websites with leftover recipes.
BBC Good Food has one of the most varied recipe “menus”, with recipes befitting every occasion. We had earlier covered a few camping and outdoor cooking tips and had included the website there. The leftover section of the site has 42 recipes which can help you not only save food but also money. The ratings will tell you how popular a specific recipe is, but more than that each recipe is tagged with a label that tells you how easy or difficult a recipe is and the time it will take to cook it. The recipe page is more detailed with nutrition breakdowns, alternative recipes, and ideal accompaniments.
A large collection of 794 leftover recipes should keep away the hunger pangs for two years at lease. All Recipes is one of the top cooking and recipe websites on the web. When I started learning how to cook, All Recipes was on top of my bookmarks and not only because of the first alphabet. It’s quick and easy recipe section is well stocked. I am sure you can mix and mash recipes from there with the ingredients you have thanks to the leftovers. A fried rice restaurant rice recipe was one of the easiest I found here. All Recipes supplements the instructions with video for most dishes.
Don’t forget that All Recipes also has 17 region specific sites with recipes tailored for those countries, though not all of them have the leftover section.
BigOven comes jam-packed with a quarter of a million recipes. It also has one of the better mobile apps when it comes to smart kitchen aids in the pocket. BigOven gives you three filters to quickly bring up the right recipe from its huge database. You can use the dropdowns to specify three ingredients and cook your dish around them. I guess this is one of the easier ways to manage your leftovers (by ingredients) rather than trawling through recipes.
The Kitchn [No Longer Available]
The Kitchn is a well-designed web magazine that is about home cooking and kitchen design. It is a sister site of Apartment Therapy and publishes 20 short articles daily on every aspect of the kitchen. Though, it does not have a well-marked “Leftover” section, what it does have are two categories with recipes that could help you stave off food waste.
Freezer Friendly and Keeps Well include quite a few food items for your inspiration. The idea behind the inspiring photos is to cook food that will stay fresh for long and thus help you avoid waste.
If you are too lazy to search through cooking and recipe websites for leftover ideas, take a turn with Yummly and its meta-search which taps into the world’s favorite websites. As Angela says in her review of Yummly, it is one of the fastest growing websites in the cooking arena. You can search Yummly with keywords and then use the filters on the left to narrow down to your choices.
Searching for recipes using the filters under Occasions is useful because leftovers tend to be more around holidays.
If nothing else entices you to turn your leftovers into drool worthy meal, then turn to Pinterest and do a search with “leftovers recipes”. The page scrolls endlessly, and you can click on any pin and check out the source URL to find the actual recipe behind the food pictures. Oh, you can re-pin them anytime to your own image board if you want to set one up for a recipe collection.
Leftover cooking does present some rules to follow to avoid food poisoning. There are some do’s and don’ts. Beyond that there are loads of little tricks that could help you prevent food wastage by repurposing leftovers. Salads, stews, and stir fry dishes can be quickly hashed together with ingredients that on the surface may not go well. Sautéing veggies and putting then inside bread slices can turn a boring sandwich into an appetizing one. Mix-up pasta with cheese or mayonnaise and a few veggies to create a quick salad. What’s roast chicken for dinner could be pizza toppings for lunch the next day.
When it comes to cooking with leftovers, experimentation is the name of the game. And as I learnt long ago, to make a leftover the centerpiece of your meal, it also helps to have accompaniments go with it. So, tell us how good you are in innovating with leftovers. Tell us about your staple leftover recipe and any other recommended website or blog for appetizing ideas.