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I know some people that find leftovers disgusting, boring, lazy or common. Well, I am not one of those people. I love leftovers and plan my weekly menu to include leftovers. It saves The Koala and I time and money and who doesn’t want more time and money?
One of the highlights of my work day is lunch. I know all the cheap places to eat around my office, but even those are generally push past the $10 mark. So instead, I’ve been making a bit extra at dinner time to take for lunch. I used to be the kind of girl who went out for lunch every day. Now I treat myself to lunch 2-3 times a month.
Tips for leftovers:
- Cut up large pieces of food before packing so lunch can be eaten with a fork or spoon rather than a knife and fork.
- Avoid microwaving seafood in the office kitchen. Your workmates will thank you. Instead, heat your food up at home and use a thermos or food jar to keep your food warm.
- Invest in some good containers. Screw tops for soups and curries, thermos or insulated food jars if you don’t have access to a microwave. Curry sauce through your handbag is not cool.
- Take the protein (steak, chicken etc) from dinner and add it to a fresh salad greens for a healthier alternative.
- Freeze extra portions and take them out of the freezer to thaw the night before. They’ll be ready to heat up at lunch the next day.
Below is a list of my favourite leftover lunches. Sometimes these lunches are so good they taunt me all morning and I end up eating them before lunch!
Dinner today, lunch tomorrow
You can have a roast dinner for lunch (just cut the meat into pieces so it’s easy to eat with a fork), or you can change it up by making epic roast meat sandwiches or adding roast chicken to some greens for a satisfying lunch salad.
Pack a cooked patty with a slice of cheese in one container and the bun with salad and condiments in a second container. At lunch time, heat up the patty with cheese then pop it into your pre-prepared bun.
I make curry on a regular basis and the flavours are always better the next day. If serving with roti, cook an extra piece and cut into smaller pieces for lunch the next day.
Most office kitchens have a toaster and/or a sandwich press. Soup with a grilled cheese sandwich is one of my favourite lunches. Just pack your bread buttered both sides and a few slices of cheese.
This is actually hack rather than regular leftovers. I usually cook extra rice so that I can make a quick fried rice in the morning for lunch. Just scramble an egg with a little salt, fry and set aside. Add chopped onion, garlic, ham/bacon/chicken, a portion of cooked rice and a handful of thawed peas. Drizzle with a little sesame oil and soy sauce. Lunch sorted.
Stir fries are great the next day. Cut out the rice or noodles if you want to up your vege intake.
Crowd favourite. Bring a small container of pulled pork and a couple of buttered buns with coleslaw or salad. Heat up the pulled pork and enjoy your hot pulled pork sandwich. A small bottle of hot sauce at your desk can be a saviour.
Tomato based sauces improve in flavour the next day. I don’t mind overcooked pasta if it’s a dish that’s been baked in the oven (like lasagna), but if you’re having spaghetti with meatballs or bolognese, undercook a separate portion of pasta to add to the sauce for lunch. The pasta will continue cooking when you reheat it at lunch time.
Eaten cold. I love making home made pizzas and I’ll make an extra one for lunch the next day. I general eat these cold, but you could heat it up in the microwave if you don’t mind the texture.
Bacon and egg pie. I usually add a layer of peas, sundried tomato and/or caramelised onion for a serving of vege. A layer of grated cheese always goes down well too. Served hot with a salad for dinner and served cold for lunch the next day. The Koala and I can go through a large tray of bacon and egg pie easy.