We’re big fans of the payday takeaway treat in this house. Usually we eat together as a family, but come Friday night, once the kids are tucked up in bed me the NLM will sometimes treat ourselves to a spicy curry or indulgent pizza (enjoyed with a bottle of wine, obviously) ordered from our favourite takeaway. But because our eyes are bigger than our bellies, we almost always order too much. I can’t stand waste, so the takeaway goes in the fridge until the following day – when it doesn’t look quite as appetising.
Here are some ideas for creative ways to use up those leftovers. Far more appealing than just sticking the plate of cold food in the microwave…
Soups, broths and curries are very easy to warm up the next day (unlike any deep fried bits and pieces you may have ordered, as the high oil content means they won’t keep very well). Leftover chow mein on the other hand, makes the perfect filling for a spring roll. Get your hands on some spring roll casings or won ton wrappers, pile in your left over chow mein, wrap it up, seal it either with water or an egg wash – depending on how thick your casing is – before plunging them into a wok of hot oil for a few minutes, just enough time for the casing to cook and the filling to be hot and steamy. More ideas here.
If you want to get maximum enjoyment out of your pizza the next day, a handy trick is to put a slice on a plate, along with a glass of water and put both in the microwave. The glass of water creates the perfect steamy environment for any bread or pastry product to warm up perfectly, without the microwave drying it out. Just do 30 seconds at a time, checking to see if the pizza has come up to your ideal eating temperature. Trust me, it makes all the difference.
Leftover crusts can be very useful too. Cut off any bits with tomato sauce or cheese on, lay them out on a baking tray and pop them into a very low oven, simply to remove any excess moisture. When they’re nicely dried out, either cut them into chunks for croutons, perfect for dropping into soups or a crunchy ingredient in a salad. Or put the crusts into a food processor and you have instant breadcrumbs, ideal for topping some garlic mushrooms or giving your cauliflower cheese a wonderful crunchy topping.
If you have some leftover curry, find some big bell peppers and make yourself some stuffed peppers. Cut the top off a pepper, keeping it intact as a lid, before getting rid of all the seeds. Put a drop of water in a microwavable bowl, put the peppers in, cover with a lid or some cling-film and microwave for two or three minutes until slightly softened. Let them cool down a little bit, before filling them up with your leftover curry and rice mixture, replace the lid and put them into a hot oven for around 20 minutes. A muffin tin is the perfect vessel if you want your peppers to stay upright.
Tandoori items, like chicken or seekh kebabs will keep perfectly in the fridge overnight, then the next day you could make an Indian style tortilla wrap. Place your sliced, leftover tandoori meats on top of some chopped salad, add a drizzle of any of the mint dips or chutneys that came with the curry the night before and you have a perfect lunch on-the-go.
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