Thrifty Kitchen

Thrift in the kitchen isn't anything to do with spending as little as possible. It is about making the most of whatever food you have, be it the best sirloin or a bag of lentils. It means using up leftovers. I really enjoy finding a creative use for my leftovers. It is very satisfying to create a new dish that tastes as good, and sometimes better than the original.

Yesterday a look in my extremely tidy fridge :o) revealed a tub of  beef stew leftover from Saturday's dinner and tub of pizza sauce leftover from my daughter's birthday meal on Thursday. A ferret through my freezer resulted in a tub of bean stew leftover from a meal earlier in the week. Red Soup. I grabbed a tub of  duck stock from the freezer and threw the contents of all four tubs into a pot and heated them gently. Delicious beef, bean and tomato soup for lunch. And there was some leftover for my lunch today. Leftover leftovers.

Lamb meatballs
There was also a tub of leftover mash in the fridge from a sausage and mash meal we had on Friday, which, incidentally, I served with two small tubs of frozen leftover gravy. I had minced lamb planned for dinner yesterday evening so I added the mash to the mince, blitzed some dried apricots, onion and garlic in the food processor, added some spices (cumin, cinnamon and allspice) and some salt.

And made meatballs.

I browned them and then put them in the oven to cook through.

A tub of hummus was two days past its use-by date so I mixed it with some yogurt which didn't have a use-by date on it because I forgot to write one on it when I made it :o) - I don't take much notice of use-by dates. It made a lovely sauce to go with the meatballs. The meatballs were very good.

There were a few meatballs leftover, they have gone in the boys' lunchboxes.

I had some leftover grated mozzarella  (from the birthday pizza). I used it to make little pitta pizzas for today's lunchboxes.

There was quite a lot of rice leftover from our meatball meal. This was intentional. I often make extra rice or mash to use in another meal. I had lots of eggs and some home-sprouted bean sprouts. A little bacon and some more veg and a lovely supper of egg-fried rice can be had for very little effort.

So, there you are, leftover
beef stew 
bean stew
pizza sauce
all used to make delicious meals.


  1. Very impressive, the meatballs look delicious. I read 'A ferret in the freezer' and you had me worried, then realised you said a ferret through the freezer. I have never heard of ferret on anyones menu :)

  2. Love it! I just love the satisfying feeling of making use of every scrap. Almost as much as I love foraging!! Food for free is such a brilliant feeling not because it's frugal but it's how people used to live.There is an amazing book I think you would love called The Wild Gourmets. It followed the Channel 4 series but I have used it time and time again.
    Love Tickety-boo xxxx

  3. Sue, you put me to shame you really do. Today I cleaned out the fridge, inspired by yours to make mine look as if you would want to eat food out of it. There was a substantial quantity of mouldering bits of this and that. All could have been put to good use - before they grew fur of course.

    I must try harder, food prices are becoming astronomical, so much waste is not good at all.

  4. I thought I was the queen of leftovers, but yours seem so much tastier than mine, can I move in with you.......?
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

  5. Some homemade garlic croutons would go good on the soup. I love doing what you have just done - so satisfying !

  6. The little pitta pizzas look lovely! We're on leftover pheasant tonight. I've added some bacon, roasted pepper, sweetcorn and creme fraiche to make a lovely creamy mixture. I'm also making stock with the carcase. I was showing your blog to my sister and she was fascinated by the rainbow cake.

  7. very impressive! :) I try and use everything left over from meals, it's so good :)

  8. Fantastic. I am going to take a leaf out of your book as we tend to throw a lot of food away. I would never think of keeping mash but you have shown that it can be used. Actually, my great aunt was very thrifty and, having lived through two world wars, also never wasted anything. She used to make a delcious meal on a MOnday from the left over Sunday lunch called fry-up. Everything went into a huge frying pan and it was heated through and served with heated up gravy....gorgeous!!! xx

  9. I must do more soups, that looked great. I can honestly say we very rarely ever have leftovers in our house. My Husband actually tries to sneak things into a container to take to work for lunch before the Boys ask for seconds! Very occasionally I find I can stretch some bolognese sauce to do a pasta bake the next day.
    PS the fridge is feeling a bit cooler...

  10. Hi, this is my first comment, I've been lurking for a few months. (Not in a scary, in-the-bushes way, why isn't there a better term... admiring?)

    I'm always looking for a way to spruce up leftovers, I come from a family that never had an empty tupperware cos there was always three or four in the fridge full of some interesting new biological experiment! Thanks for the tips, I must store these methods in my brain, particularly the meatballs. One of my faves is leftover curry in wraps with fresh greens. I quite often make wholemeal wraps myself (roti) so that it doesn't even mean a trip to the shops.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. Anonymous10:30 pm GMT

    I applaud you for your wonderful use of leftovers. It all looks delicious. I have got far too used to just cooking what I know will go on the plates - I've a lot to learn!

  12. Very tasty leftovers. As prices rise and people's incomes fall, or stay the same, there will be more need for such thrift in the kitchen.
    Carol xx

  13. Fantastic! Do you make your own hummus? I love my homemade hummus, the flavour of homemade is awesome.
    Anne xx

  14. Sue, your post made me remember a funny family story. My Mom was frugal and used everything too. One time she was visiting me and I'd just cleaned some things out of the fridge and had thrown some sausages into the garbage. My older sister came to visit too and Mom said.. "Are you hungry?" Sis said "Sure!" so pretty soon Mom delivered to her a lovely meal.. the sausage I'd thrown in the garbage Mom had fished out and cooked for sis! I never said a word until much later.. hehe.. love telling that story when she's around. LOL

    Teresa in Oregon

  15. Pati from London9:59 am GMT

    Sue, you are a star!!! I am not very good with leftovers so I have learnt to know exactly how much food we need for the 4 of us and usually there's hardly any food left over, or if there is my hubby finishes it off. We don't like to throw food either. Your creations and mixes sound fantastic! You are an inspirational cook! x Pati

  16. The best meal of the year is one made from leftovers - Boxing Day lunch made with all the fried up leftovers from Xmas Day.
    I never throw leftovers away and find the way people behave around 'best before' dates unbelievable. I've had bananas still green by their best before date - some people would throw them away! Insane. My Dad actually prefers his yogurt after the use by date - he likes the fizz you get in them at that stage.

  17. We love leftovers here. SmallerBean is going to have last nights leftover bean and chicken hotpot made with Sunday's leftover roast chicken for her lunch.
    Tonight we will eat chicken pie made with more roast chicken scraps and some mash from the freezer from leftovers a while ago.
    I'm going to pinch your meatball blend please. They look deeelish. Ax

  18. You were responsible for fridge cleaning round these parts today too!

  19. I am absolutely in love with your blog, and I can't stop reading it!
    You are everything I want to be!

  20. Fried rice is a great meal, you can slam so much in there.

    To be fair I am such an anal measuring type of cook there are very rarely leftovers from actual meals. If there are I mainly freeze them to take for lunch at work another day.

  21. I love being thrifty in the kitchen (though my husband has cold sweats thinking about it !) Your meatballs look really delicious, and I'll definitely have to try the hummus sauce !

  22. I like using up all the leftovers too. Like others, I hadn't thought of the hummous and yoghurt sauce but I can imagine it would go well. Well done for being creative and inspiring us and also for the great pics.

  23. 'A ferret through my freezer'

    I must read your posts more thoroughly - skimming through this one I read the above as an ingredient for the left overs. oops!!

    I'm sure you would have a recipe for it though. :-)

    1. Ha! You weren't the only one to misread it. Leftover ferret makes a good fricasee ;)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig