Loving leftovers

I recently came across a recipe book which promises recipes for using up leftovers, but the author’s idea of what constitutes a ‘leftover’ differs somewhat from mine. For example…10 fish fingers. TEN? Who has ten fish fingers left over? Ten is a packet, ten means a planned meal. Similarly,  in recipe for fishcakes you’ll need 350g of smoked haddock! That’s an amount you buy deliberately, not have left over!  

I love real leftovers and never throw away them away at the end of a meal, nor do I discard those bits and pieces that remain after I’ve taken as much as I need for a recipe. If I can’t use them soon then my freezer is a receptacle for all manner of odds and ends that can be used later. I remember my mother so often saying, ‘no point keeping that bit’ and in the bin it would go. Not in my kitchen!

Salmon pate

Salmon pate:  I had friends to lunch and cooked a side of salmon which left me afterwards with enough for a meal for two and another small additional piece of around 70g.  That’s a leftover!  Mash the salmon, add a small amount of chopped red pepper and stir in a glug of sweet chilli sauce and a couple of teaspoons of yogurt. Hey presto! A tasty topping for a few crackers.

wraps again


Tortilla  crisps: I’d cut circles from tortilla wraps to use as a topping for pies (a great diet-friendly pastry substitute). The leftover bits were cut into small triangles, sprayed with one-cal oil spray and seasoned with onion salt, black pepper and paprika. Baked for a few minutes in a warm oven they are ideal to eat with  hummus or pate.

Sage & onion sconesSage and onion scones: What to do with half a dish of leftover sage and onion stuffing? This is not an uncommon leftover after a roast dinner and I’ve used it before in a chicken pie  – sometimes a pastry one, other times potato-topped, but this time there was no chicken left so I crumbled up the stuffing and used it to flavour a plain scone mixture. Sufficient for six scones, it was a definite success. They were delicious when accompanied by a piece of mature cheddar.

Roast dinner pasties:  It’s not only stuffing that’s leftover from a roast dinner. I’m no pastry maker; I don’t even bother trying any more. There’s always a block of ready made pastry in the freezer for use on just such an occasion as this. I always cut it into four before freezing so that, if necessary, I can take out just a piece at a time. There’s no reason why you can’t add meat leftovers too but I like vegi pasties. Season (herby, spicy, whatever you like), damp the edges, fold and bake. Very tasty!

Enchiladas:  A great way to make use of a small amount of meat/veg. Once a pack is opened, wraps don’t last long . Fill with leftover roasted veg, mix in some spices and and a spoon of passata/salsa/chutney/sauce (use whatever you have to hand) and sprinkle with grated cheese. Into the oven for a few minutes for a great lunch.

Extra fruity fruitcake: A third of a jar of mincemeat (leftover from an apple and mincemeat crumble – yummy) sat in the fridge so I added it to my next apple fruitcake instead of he usual mixed fruit and sultanas.  It worked well and tasted nicely juicy.

Baked potato filling: use the remains of a chicken curry or similar which isn’t enough for the main component of a meal but ample to fill a couple of baking potatoes. Mix in a dollop of passata (there’s always a carton on the go in my fridge) to stretch it a bit if need be.

imageThrow-it-all-in-frittata:  mine often contains the trimmed ends from asparagus, a few chopped or broccoli stalks (both are always saved and popped in the freezer) and perhaps a few cold potatoes. I might add some mushrooms that need using up, an onion, a bit of bacon. In fact, anything savory that’s hanging around. Mix in three beaten eggs, season and top with grated cheese. Baked until firm, it’s ample for two people. I usually serve it with grilled tomatoes.

Vegi quiche


Slimming World Quiche: Similar to a frittata but with added quark or cottage cheese.

And last but definitely not least – Soup Click here if you want some ideas  SOUP!


  1. Ooops – another comment. Wraps can be frozen perfectly well and that’s what I always do when I open a new pack.


    • Great. I find that there is very little indeed which cannot be frozen. It may not be perfect on thawing but is almost always usable. Have you tried freezing milk? I was wondering whether to give it a try.


  2. I totally agree with you – the ‘professional’ leftover recipes are never really that, they don’t genuinely use leftovers. In a way, anything organised can’t use leftovers as you never know when you will have leftovers. If you plan for then, they’re not leftovers, they are mini batch!
    I’m going to read through your ideas really carefully; they look brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely Joy! I can make use of the tiniest leftover. I think those of us who are good at improvisation and creating something from very little will fare best in the current situation.


  3. Excellent ideas for leftovers, Eloise! One of my favorite dishes to use up leftovers is fried rice – leftover rice, leftover meat and vegetables chopped up, and an egg beaten up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never fry rice, Bless. We tend to serve it boiled or steamed in the UK, though fried rice is popular in the take -away restaurants. I don’t like rice myself but my husband enjoys it with chilli or a curry


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