Leftovers – reduce waste and save money!

Winter is the perfect time for cooking on a budget and minimising waste in your kitchen. Soups, stews and curries are great for using up cheaper cuts of meat, leftover vegies and herbs lurking in your fridge. And if it doesn't seem quite enough to fill everyone's hungry tummies, bulk out dinner by adding beans, lentils or chickpeas from the pantry.

Use what's left from the week to make your dish of the day!

At the end of the week, take stock of your fridge and pantry. Put together all the leftovers and turn them into a delicious dinner using Cookidoo® and the ideas below for inspiration. The only rule is to use it all!

All kinds of ingredients can be turned into exciting new dishes by adding just one or two new elements. With a pastry topping, for example, leftover stew can make a hearty pie; add some arborio rice and most ingredients can be transformed into a risotto; and a few spices or some curry paste can turn the most uninviting of vegies into a flavourful feast.

Put it in a pie:

Puff pastry is easy to make in your Thermomix®; so keep a batch in the freezer, already rolled out or partially rolled out between baking paper for faster thawing. Then it will take no time at all to easily make a pie out of leftover roast meat or veg, stews or casseroles. See our delicious Guinness beef pies recipe for inspiration.

Create your own risotto:

Use our classic Mushroom risotto recipe as a base to create your own risotto with whatever ingredients you have available. Even better, leftover risotto can be used to make arancini, perfect for lunch the next day with a side salad.

Add some spice:

If you have a few spices and curry pastes on hand, meat or leftover vegies can easily be transformed into a hearty curry. And if you have a packet of lentils that's hiding in the pantry, make a delicious dahl to serve on the side.

To make the most of leftovers, here's a few more tips for planning ahead, saving time and money:

• It's frustrating just to use a few herb sprigs in a recipe. So use the rest to make pesto! You can store it for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, in a sterilised, sealable jar, covered with a layer of oil.
• If your avocados and bananas are a bit over-ripe, they're still full of goodness. Use them to whip up a super Immune boosting smoothie.
• Kids start an apple and never finish it? Chop up the unused part, throw it in your Thermomix® and make some delicious Apple sauce or Stewed apple.
• Save your vegie scraps in a large snap lock bag in the freezer so that you're all ready to go next time you need to make more Vegetable stock paste. • Collect any stale crusts of bread in the freezer and when you have enough, blitz them in the Thermomix®, along with any leftover herbs or spices to make homemade breadcrumbs … perfect for arancini!