Waste not, want not: how to use up leftovers

From excess rice and pasta to Sunday roast scrapings and stale bread, here's how to turn your leftovers into dinner, take two

Try as you might, it can be near impossible to get the portions just right for dinner, and you inevitably end up with some leftovers.

Sure you can get your hoover of a husband to finish it off, but you could save time and money by using the leftovers for lunch, or to make a whole new meal the next evening.

Here are some ideas for common leftover ingredients...

Leftover rice

It's really hard to judge rice portions - those tiny little grains can expand to make a mountain out of a molehill.

It can be risky to reheat rice, as the bacteria spores quickly grow once it's cooked, but the key is to cool it as quickly as possible after cooking. So figure out how much rice you have left over and cover it with cold water then refrigerate.

The next day you can use it for stuffing roasted peppers or tomatoes with a mix of herbs and spices, or wrap it up with black beans, chopped peppers, spices and salsa for a hearty burrito.

Alternatively just use the rice cold as the base for a tasty salad. Try it with beans, sweetcorn, onion and red peppers then dress with a mix of lime juice, honey and chilli.

Leftover bread

Bread that's seen better days can still be put to good use. Blitz it and use as breadcrumbs for homemade chicken nuggets or fish fingers.

You could make a classic bread and butter pudding, or create a savoury one for something different: simply add leeks, garlic and tomatoes to the torn bread and cover with a mix of eggs, milk and grated cheese before baking for 20 minutes - yum.

Leftover pasta

Like rice, pasta expands when it's cooked, so you're often left with way more than you need. Simply toss the leftover pasta in a little olive oil to stop it from sticking together and store in the fridge or the freezer for up to two weeks. When needed, drop the pasta into boiling water for a few minutes to reheat.

As it's not as good as freshly cooked pasta, simply use it as a base for a pasta bake, or to bulk up one of your favourite homemade soups.

Leftover Sunday roast

Cooking a roast can seem like an expensive undertaking, but actually the ingredients you buy can go a long way. Most of the time you'll find you can stretch two more meals out of the leftovers from your Sunday dinner.

For example, your leftover roast chicken can be transformed into a chicken curry or this tasty chicken rice dish for Monday night dinner, while the vegetables you didn't cook can be used in a tasty casserole.

Want more money-saving tips? Try swapping your regular washing-up liquid for Fairy Liquid. Fairy lasts 50% longer than the next best-selling brand, saving you money in the long run.

Do you have any favourite leftover recipes you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.