Make the most of your roast!

5 midweek meal ideas to stretch out your Sunday roast chicken. They’ll make even the fussiest kids love leftovers!

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It’s hard to beat a roast with all the family round the table on a Sunday. But as it’s such a big meal, there are usually some leftovers. You could always shove them in a sandwich or a salad for Monday lunch, but these ideas from round the world will make great midweek meals.

To ensure you have enough leftovers, you could roast a slightly larger bird than you would usually buy. Or you could roast two – one in a tin with your roasties, and the other in a separate tray on its own. Not only will this save time when it comes to cooking midweek meals, it’s also energy efficient so will save on your utility bills too.

Once your chicken is out of the oven, carve what you need for your Sunday roast. Allow the rest to cool, then take the meat off the bones. Once it’s at room temperature, put it in an airtight container and store in the fridge. But don’t chuck the bones – you’ll need them for recipe 2!

1. Fajitas

Fry an onion for five minutes, and add a couple of garlic cloves and a chilli if you like – these are optional, so leave them out if you don’t want it too spicy! Add some chopped red and yellow peppers, and once they’ve softened, add some leftover chicken.

You can buy packets or jars of ready-made seasoning, but if you don’t have one of those to hand, throw in some cumin (ground or seeds are fine), smoked paprika, chilli powder and oregano. Keep stirring to stop anything sticking, and add a little water if it’s too dry.

Once it’s cooked, scatter it with fresh coriander and put it on the table with tortilla wraps so everyone can prepare their own. Serve with grated cheese, guacamole, sour cream and squeeze of lime.

2. Noodle soup

To really make the most of every part of your roast, put your chicken bones in a large pan with two litres of water. Roughly chop an onion, carrot, leek, two garlic cloves and a stick of celery and add these to the pot.

Add some dried herbs and some black pepper, bring everything to the boil and then simmer for three hours. Skin the top as needed, and sieve once done so you have a delicious chicken-y liquid as a basis for your soup. You can do this in advance – just allow it to cool before storing in the fridge until you need it.

Once you’re ready to make your soup, stir fry an onion with some freshly grated ginger, crushed garlic and a chopped chilli. Then add some vegetables – mushrooms, sweetcorn and sugar snap peas work well, but anything goes!

Once they’ve softened, add your leftover chicken and the chicken stock. Bring it to the boil, and then add some noodles and simmer gently until they’re cooked. Squeeze in some lemon or lime, add some soy sauce, scatter some fresh coriander over the top and then serve.

3. Frittata

This is a great way to use up all the leftover veg. In an ovenproof frying pan, fry an onion in a little oil. Once soft, add your leftover veg, plus any other veg you want to use up – the more the merrier!

In a separate bowl, beat six eggs and season with salt and pepper. Once the veg are soft, add the eggs to the pan, and cook gently for five minutes until it’s just set on the bottom. Add your leftover chicken to the top (you could add some cheese too), and put it under a hot grill for another five minutes to set fully.

Cut into wedges, and serve with a side salad.

4. Pasta bake

Cook some pasta according to the packet instructions. In a frying pan, fry an onion with some garlic and then add whatever vegetables you have to hand – anything goes!

Meanwhile, make a white sauce by melting 50gm of butter, and, using a wooden spoon, add 50gm of flour (this combination is called a ‘roux’). Cook for about a minute, before slowly whisking in 500ml of milk to create a sauce. Keep stirring until it’s thickened and allow to boil for a couple of minutes. Take it off the heat, and add in some cheese, a spoonful of mustard and some salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta, and mix it with the vegetables, some left over chicken and the white sauce. Grease a baking dish, then put the mixture in. Top with a few halved tomatoes and a grating of cheese, and bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is golden.

5. Risotto

Make some chicken stock (see recipe 2, or use a stock cube!). Fry an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic in oil, adding any herbs you fancy – tarragon works well. When soft, add risotto rice and mix so it gets coated in the oil. Add a ladleful of stock and cook gently, stirring all the while.

Keep adding another ladleful of stock as each gets absorbed, stirring until cooked. Meanwhile, fry some chopped mushrooms, adding the leftover chicken at the last minute to warm through. Add them to the risotto, grate in some parmesan cheese and serve with a green salad.


What are your favourite ways to use up leftovers?
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