Be the envy of your workmates with these makeovers for leftovers
Make the most of your leftovers to give them crafty makeovers for a lunchbox worthy of Nigella, Heston or Jamie. Here are some of our favourite ways to brighten up your working day midday meal...
Pair those festive fruits lying around your kitchen with some leftover chicken and butty bulgur wheat, and you've got a filling and fragrant dish to kick the Monday blues into touch.
It's one of life's perennial problems: you either make too much rice, or not enough. Is there some sort of secret scientific formula we don't know about to work this out? Anyway: if you're stuck with too much of the white stuff after a curry, give one of the coolest trends of the year a go by pairing it with some smoked salmon and avocado to make sushi doughnuts out of it. Yes, Sharon from accounts, you can take an Instagram picture of our lunch...
Get your veggie fix by stuffing aubergines, peppers and even courgettes with leftover minced lamb with onions, herbs and cous cous. Or go full veggie and replace the lamb with some leftover cheese like feta, or diced halloumi. Serve with a fresh green salad, or some toasted flatbreads or pittas.
Who said soup can't be fancy? Simply whizz up some roast vegetables going spare with veggie or chicken stock and fried onions (plus a splash of cream if you're really feeling luxe) and stick it in a flask for lunch the next day. Serve by crumbling a little leftover Stilton or other blue cheese, and some ready-made croutons and seeds. Healthy, warming and delicious.
If you think about it, pasties were sort of like the original lunchbox of their time. So make like our forefathers and whip up several for lunch with some leftover beef the night before - you could bring it fully up to date by adding a dash of harissa paste or Tobasco to spice it up a little.
Again, this can be made the night before, taking just minutes to cook up any leftover roast vegetables - including potatoes - from the weekend. You can make it with flaked mackerel, or switch it up for some cheese, like feta or grated Parmesan. Cut yourself a nice big wedge, wrap it up for your lunchbox and serve with a tomato salad for extra freshness.
We think 2017 might be the year when good Mexican food finally goes big in the UK. In the meantime, why not create a little clash of cultures for your lunchbox by making tacos with leftover roast potatoes? Fry them up with some chorizo and kidney beans and put in a little tupperware pot to microwave the next day, then assemble when needed on tacos or a tortilla wrap with some avo, salad and sour cream. If you like it hot, top with jalapeños or some chilli sauce. A banging start to the week!
If you're a fan of Asian-inspired soups and stirfrys, why not make a little extra for dinner, then transform the leftovers into this super-noodle pot for lunch the next day? Cooked prawns, leftover chicken or beef and oriental veggies make a perfect base to add to some flat rice noodles, then a dollop of miso paste with some hot water will have the whole thing swimming in a fragrant broth.
Another recipe where the jar's the star: a layered salad with butter bean falafel. Use up leftover butter beans – or chickpeas –to make these easy falafels the night before, then clear out your salad draw in the fridge, layering it up the pro way in a jar so it doesn't go soggy the next day. Genius.