Creamy salmon bake

Three easy ways to love your leftovers

When APDO decided that this year’s National Organising Week‘s theme was going to be “Love your Leftovers” I got really excited. You see, I’m not an amazing cook, but I love using cooking as a creative outlet in my day-to-day life. My step mother is an amazing cook, and she made sure that I knew the basics of cooking from quite a young age, which has allowed me to experiment with food. Not only is learning the basics a great gateway to more serious cooking, it’s also a key element in wasting less food. The following recipes are some of the easiest ways that I love my leftovers!

Home-Made Stock

I love making home-made stock because it’s the base for so many recipes! You can use it for risotto, to add some kick in a creamy pasta dish and use it to add depth in a chilli or sauce. *Note* When collecting scraps for your stock you can start a collection tub in your freezer. Whenever you’re done preparing your food, instead of putting the scraps in the compost put them in the collection tub. Once the tub is full you can schedule in some time to boil it down for the below recipe.

What you’ll need: 

  • Water
  • Leftover vegetable scraps or bones
    • For vegetable broth use vegetable scraps
    • For meat broths use leftover meat bones from roasts and add some onion, carrot and celery scraps if you have them on hand
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Any other spices that you love
  1.  Put your scraps in a pot and just put enough water in to barely cover them. Cover with a lid and bring the stock to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer.
  2. Once the stock is simmering add salt and pepper and any other spices you want to taste. I really like adding smoked paprika to my veggie broths while dried herbs are a great addition to chicken stock. Cover again and let simmer for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. When your timer has gone off, taste the stock and make sure that it is flavourful. Add more spices if you wish.
  4. Turn off the heat and pass your stock through a sieve with a bowl under it to catch the liquid. Throw out your scraps and voila! What’s left in the bowl is your home-made broth. Once this has cooled you can separate the liquid into several containers and freeze what you’re not going to use right away.


Sauces are definitely my favourite way to integrate random leftover veggies and meats that are in the fridge because they’re so versatile. Sauces not only go with the obvious choice of pasta, but can be baked, smothered and dotted on just about every dish imaginable. Whether it’s tomato, creamy or sweet, sauces can transform a dish and clear out your fridge so it’s ready for another shop.

  • Creamy Sauces
    1. Start by adding some oil to a pan on medium heat, once the oil is hot fry some chopped onion and garlic (optional) for two to three minutes and then add your leftover veg and meat
    2. When your veg is nice and soft and the meat is hot, add thick Greek yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche (my favourite) to your pan and turn the heat down to low
    3. Add to pasta, bake with chicken or fish
  • Roux Sauces
    1. Add equal amounts of butter and flour (usually about 1/4 cup) to a pan and mix them together until it forms a paste-like texture
    2. Slowly add warm milk or broth until the sauce has the consistency that you want
    3. Add salt, pepper and desired spices to taste and take off of the heat. Heat up your leftovers separately and add to the sauce
    4. Add to pasta, bake with chicken or fish, use as filling for a pie
  • Tomato Sauces – These are probably the most common sauce I make with leftovers because I almost always have several jars of tomato sauce in my cupboard.
    1. heat some oil in a pan, throw in some garlic and onions (optional) for two to three minutes
    2. Add your leftovers and let them fry until the vegetables are soft and/or the meat is warm
    3. Add the jar of tomato sauce, and any desired spices and let simmer for 5 minutes
    4. Add to pasta, bake with meat or use for Shashouka

Pasta Dish


Soups are another easy way to use up leftovers and a lovely addition to a cold, rainy day. They can take time to make but usually it’s easy to stretch soup into large batches and can be frozen for later consumption.

  • Broth based soup
    1. Heat some oil in a large saucepan on medium heat and add chopped onion and garlic, stirring often for about three minutes
    2. Add leftovers and spices to the mix and let fry stirring often for another three to four minutes
    3. Add desired amount of broth (it should cover the mix plus a few inches) to the mix and bring to a boil
    4. Turn the heating down to low, cover and let simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring every few minutes
    5. Serve with fresh bread and butter
  • Blended soup
    1. Boil potatoes and/or root vegetables, once you can get a fork through them, drain and put to the side
    2. Heat some oil in a large saucepan on medium heat and add chopped onion and garlic, stirring often for about three minutes
    3. Add the leftovers (vegetables only, meat will be added at the end), and desired spices, stir to coat everything in the spices and let fry until soft, about five minutes
    4. Take off of the heat and let cool
    5. Put all of the ingredients in the blender with potatoes and/or root vegetables, add some of your preferred broth and blend until smooth and creamy
    6. Add any leftover meat
    7. Reheat in saucepan and serve with fresh bread and butter
Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

These recipes are just scratching the surface of what you can do with your leftovers. Here is a list of other recipes that are versatile to look up if you want some more inspiration on what to cook:

  • Risotto
  • Omelette/Quiche/Frittata
  • Fritters
  • Potato pancakes
  • Pizza
  • Stir-Fry
  • Tacos
  • Fried rice


I hope that you’ve been inspired to get in the kitchen and start experimenting with what you’ve got. If you have any other ideas for leftovers, leave us a comment below! And now, pour yourself a lovely glass of wine, throw on your favourite tunes and get cooking!

By Krista Thompson (Zen Den Oxford)

Krista Thompson

It’s National Organising Week 2019 and APDO’s 15th birthday celebration! We would love for you to join in the fun by following us on our social media channels. If we’ve inspired you to #loveyourleftovers please tag us with our hashtag #NOWorganise so we can see what you’ve been cooking up! 

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