4 Ways To Create Family Meals With Leftovers

Got a fridge full of leftovers and not much of anything else? While many would be tempted to reach for the takeout menu, there are a lot of clever ways to turn this would-be waste to delicious family meals.

Whether it’s a protein, veggies or rice you’ve got sitting in the fridge, find inspiration from these meal ideas and recipes by Nutritionist and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin.

Image via Pinterest

Roast lamb, beef, pork or chicken meals

It’s easy to become a bit bored of cold roast meat a few days in. Instead of wishing for a better lunch when gazing at your roast meat sandwich, reserve your roast for dinnertime and create an express curry.

Simply fry off a curry paste with sliced onion, add seasonal veggies of choice, coconut milk and stock.

Simmer until vegetables are tender and 15 minutes before taking off the heat, add shredded meat and let warm through! The same can be made using roast chicken, beef or pork.

Cheats ‘fried’ rice

If you forgot grains often double when cooked and poured in way more than needed, never fear, as there is always a use for leftover grains.

To make a cheats ‘fried’ rice, in a food processor blend garlic, fresh ginger, coriander, 1 small red onion and 1 chilli into a paste.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan, sauté spice mix off for 1-2 minutes.

Add sliced capsicum to the pan and stir-fry until tender, then adding the cooked rice and 1 can of chickpeas, warm through completely.

Before taking off the heat, stir in a handful of spinach or kale until wilted and drizzle with soy/tamari and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Serve topped with an optional fried or soft boiled egg.

Some other ideas for cooked grains include:

– Warm up with a bit of milk, top with yoghurt, grated pear and hemp
seeds for an express breakfast
– Toss with diced avocado, tomato, feta, pomegranate seeds, basil leaves
and nuts as a quick lunch or dinner side
– Use as a stuffing for vegetables such as capsicum and zucchini
– Combine with whisked eggs, feta and herbs and make into mini patties
topped with mashed avocado and fresh tomato salsa.


Roasted vegetables

Roast vegetables are a very versatile leftover and can be used in both meals and snacks such as:

– Spread a wrap with hummus, top with roasted veg, spinach and avocado
for a quick lunch
– Combine with eggs, ricotta, parmesan, herbs and cooked rice and bake
as a frittata or make into mini muffins
– Use as a omelette filling for a satisfying breakfast or light meal
– Blend with chickpeas, tahini, lemon and extra virgin olive oil to create a
dip suitable for school lunchboxes.


Leftover steamed veggies

If you were a little heavy handed and chopped too many vegetables to steam, instead of wasting the vegetables, turn them into my Vegetable Haloumi Pikelets. The kids will definitely not turn up their nose at this recipe!


Vegetable Haloumi Pikelets

Serves 4-6


1 cup of steamed vegetables, mashed
2 eggs
3/4 cup of spelt flour
1/2 cup of full cream milk
1/2 cup haloumi, grated
1/4 cup mixed fresh herbs
2 tbsp. coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil


1. Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, apart from the oil.
2. Heat a frying pan and melt a little coconut oil. Spoon 2-3 tbsp. of the mixture into the pan.
3. Cook for 2-3 minutes each size and flip.
4. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with a green salad.


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