It’s Sunday night and you’re doing your weekly fridge purge. There’s some wilted salad leaves and a few containers of unidentifiable leftovers. Trust us, we’ve been there. We know you like to prepare your food with care, and that’s why we’ve compiled some handy hints for leftovers that will save you time and money.
Store it properly
After cooking, we recommend cooling your food before putting it in the fridge or freezer, but try not to leave it out for longer than 2 hours. It’s best to store your leftovers in airtight containers to make sure they stay fresh. At Bluebird we like to use glass storage containers. It’s totally food safe, easier to see the contents inside, and if you store them at the top of the fridge in eyesight, you’re less likely to forget they’re there. If you’re not working to a meal plan, it’s a great idea to pop a post-it note on top
of the lid with the date it was cooked. From here you can either refrigerate or freeze the leftovers for later use. And remember, you can also use our glass storage containers to cook or reheat food in the oven or microwave.
Prepare it safely
When reheating food, make sure that it is steaming hot. Microwaves can produce ‘hot spots’, meaning your food may reheat unevenly. To avoid this, we recommend stirring the food halfway through reheating or reheating it on the stove. If you’re planning to use frozen leftovers always defrost them completely, either in the fridge or the microwave, before reheating them. A good tip is to only defrost what you plan to use within the next 24 hours. That way you’ll know your food is safe, and you’re less likely to throw food away.
Think of your leftovers as a side dish
If you know there’s always one serve left of your favourite mushroom risotto, but not quite enough for a meal of it’s own, store it in a small container and use it as a side dish. At Bluebird we love to serve food share-plate style, with a few different options to choose from. You can make a really enjoyable meal serving your leftover risotto alongside a beautiful fresh salad, a small bowl of marinated feta, and some warm olives. It feels like a new meal, plus it’s incredibly healthy and easy to prepare.
Think of your leftovers as an ingredient
The number of things you can do with leftover meat! Make salads, pizza topping, cottage pies, rissoles… The list is endless.
Leftover meats make great sandwich fillings for lunch. Meats and vegetables can be repurposed for friend rice or frittata. If you start to think of your leftovers as ingredients for future meals you can come up with some new and creative recipes.
You might even surprise yourself.
Have a leftovers night
Another option is to allocate a night a week to leftovers. You can warm up the leftovers from previous meals, and use any spare veggies for a simple salad or ratatouille. Pull it all together with a fresh loaf of bread. This is a great option for when you need to spend an extra couple of hours at the office and don’t fancy eating beans on toast. Plan your leftovers night towards the end of the week when it’s most likely you’ll have food you need to use. And remember, it’s best to eat refrigerated cooked food within 2-3 days, and don’t freeze it for longer than 3-4 months.
Use these handy hints to store your leftovers in tip top condition, reducing waste and saving yourself money and time.