Posts tagged "leftovers"

Reducing waste after Christmas – our top tips

So the big day is nearly upon us again.

Hopefully you’ve already been busy upcycling random stuff into Christmas presents and recycled Christmas decorations – it’s easy to keep the green theme going after Christmas too.

Give away unwanted gifts & replaced items

Don’t wait until you spring clean – declutter now while all the new additions are fresh in your mind.

Give away items that you don’t want or won’t use, or old items that have been replaced by something shiny and new – the sooner you give it away, the sooner someone else will get some use out of it, and it might stop them having to buy new-new in the January sales.

Reuse wrapping paper

Don’t throw away wrapping paper – reuse it instead. The bigger pieces can be flattened out and used again (kids especially won’t notice the same paper being used year on year), or made into reusable paper gift bags.

Smaller pieces can be used to make gift tags, festive envelopes or used to revamp Christmas decorations for use next year.

Particularly creased pieces can be shredded to provide protective cushioning for gifts throughout the year – or to protect delicate Christmas decorations while in storage, which brings me neatly onto…

Be kind to your Christmas decorations

Store them away carefully and you’ll be able to use them year on year – meaning less waste going to landfill and reducing your need to buy new stuff.

As well as shredded wrapping paper, you can use packaging (such as moulded expanded polystyrene foam and formed plastic) from new toys or gadgets to protect delicate items. Wrap tinsel and strings of Christmas lights around a kitchen roll tube or a plastic bottle to avoid tangling. Label boxes so you can find them again easily.

If you don’t have any space for storage, don’t throw away decorations – pack them away neatly and offer them on Freecycle/Freegle.

Reuse or recycle your Christmas cards

Similarly, keep your favourite Christmas cards to one side – possibly tucked into a decorations box – to recycle into gift tags or recycled decorations next year. Cut others into narrow strips to use as shopping lists – the card is easier to write on than paper when you’re on the go. Keep large cards for crafts – for when you need thin but strong card. There are lots of different ways to reuse them.

If you can’t see yourself reusing them, plenty of high street shops have recycling collection bins especially for cards – typically WH Smith, Tesco and M&S – often with a donation going from the store to a related charity (such as the Woodland Trust) for every bin of cards collected. Some charity shops also collect cards for reusing/upcycling into gift tags and the like – ask around to see who is collecting them in your area.

Use up every single bit of your turkey – and other food

A lot of energy went into growing the bird, transporting it around and cooking it – so make the most of it by using up all the leftover meat and making stock from the carcass.

Use leftover veg to make soup, stews and stock.

Use leftover Christmas cake to make fruity rum truffles – or throw it outside for wild birds to eat.

If don’t think you’re going to get through all your Christmas biscuits or mince pies, be proactive about it before they go stale – freeze some for later consumption (keep the festival spirit going all January!) or give them away to someone else – they might be very grateful for free treats!

What are your favourite ways to reduce waste at Christmas?

(Photos by soultga, Tombre and Vanessa Fitzgerald)

How can I reuse or recycle completely dry fudge?

Recycle This regular Anna left a question on the Suggestion page back in APRIL but I somehow missed it until now – sorry Anna!

Her question was:

How could I use completely dry fudge? I have two big boxes of completely dry Irish fudge that I’d like to find a use for. The fudge isn’t crumbly but dry and hard – hard enough that I don’t want to risk my coffee grinder with it.

Is there a way to make it soft again? Or just break it to small pieces somehow or soak in coffee or something.

Mmm, fudge. Between my misunderstanding about crackers on Tuesday and yesterday’s leftover turkey recipe round-up, Recycle This has conspired to make me feel hungry all week!

Could it be grated with a cheese grater and used as sprinkling on top of cakes/foam-y drinks?

This “failed fudge fool” recipe might work too – make it into a creamy dessert.

Any other ideas?

Our five favourite ways to use up leftover turkey

It’s easy to stop yourself from, say, cooking too much pasta or rice, but it’s harder to cook just the right amount of turkey since they’re a fixed (or at least minimum) size. Leftovers are no bad thing though – they just get a bit dull if it’s turkey sandwiches every day…

Individual turkey and stilton pies

I love this idea since a lot of people have leftover stilton around at Christmas too. The already cooked turkey won’t need as long in the frying pan though – add it with the mushrooms rather than before the sweet potato.

Making individual pies are also a great idea for this time of year when people are extra busy – these guys can be frozen then defrosted and cooked as needed rather than a big pie which has to be eaten all at once.

Hearty leftover turkey broth with bacon croutons

Come on, you just drooled reading that title didn’t you? I certainly did! *wipes keyboard*

Another fab recipe because you’ll have most, if not all, of the ingredients on hand from Christmas dinner preparations – such as root veg and streaky bacon – and the croutons also use up day-old/going-stale bread. If you’re really organised you can make the stock from the turkey carcass first too (see side panel below).

Turkey stock

Make a stock from the turkey carcass for use in soups and stews. If you’re not going to use it straight away, reduce it down to get rid of a lot of the excess liquid and freeze it. If you’re feeling lazy, slow cookers are great for making stock – just pile everything in.

Leftover turkey enchiladas

After stodgy roasts and puddings (mmm stodgy food), this recipe is refreshingly light. Not at all seasonal with the courgette and peppers but still, mmm! If you haven’t quite got enough turkey, pad it out with pinto or kidney beans.

(I also like the idea of stacking them like a pie rather than in rolls.)

Turkey Jambalaya

And keep with New World flavours, this is awesome and I’m drooling again at the thought of it. Leftover turkey, rings of some sort of smoked/spicy sausage, colourful veg and spices – a surprisingly quick but delicious option.

Turkey & Chickpea (Coconut) Curry

Finally, I couldn’t do a leftover turkey round-up without including a curry – firstly, because turkey curry is a delicious cliche and secondly because I’m all about spiceness!

This recipe from the wonderful people at LoveFoodHateWaste is effectively two curries in one – yummy enough on its own but transformed into something a bit more Thai flavoured with the addition of coconut milk.

What will you do with your leftover turkey? What are your favourite recipes?

How can I reuse or recycle leftover cooked rice?

Cooked riceDespite eating rice multiple times a week, John and I have a bit of a mental block when it comes to actually making the amount we need. We usually play it safe and over-estimate, thinking we can have it with leftovers or use it to make fried rice or the like the next day. Given we both eat lunch at home a lot these days, we’re pretty good at using it up but sometimes it accidentally gets left out of the fridge overnight – or forgotten about in the fridge for a couple of days.

I’ve heard some horror stories about cooked rice being a great home for bacteria so we’re always cautious about using it after a couple of days or if it’s been left out of the fridge but it seems such a shame to just bin it. Because of the bacteria thing, I think the non-culinary re-use might be limited but anyone got any suggestions or at least ways of disposing of it more usefully that flinging it in the bin?

And anyone got any good leftover rice recipes for using it up when it is still in edible condition, that aren’t just rice pudding or a misc fried rice dish?

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: Only cook as much as you need – find a cup or bowl that’s a perfect portion size and use that to measure it out each time.
  • Reuse: Store cooked rice in the fridge and use it to bulk out soups, stuff peppers and other veg, or to make fried rice. See more of our favourite recipes
  • Recycle: Plain cooked rice can be composted or put in a wormery. Avoid composting if you’ve cooked it with fats or sauces though as that might attract unwanted vermin.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by lazysheep1)