Food waste is a rampant problem in every household. On your every grocery run, you go with the honest intention of using every ounce of milk and every last spoonful of peanut butter that you load into your cart. Yet at the end of the month, inevitably you dump a few cups of rice, spoiled cartons of yogurt and sometimes even food items that were in reality, still good to be consumed.
There may be many reasons for this - over estimation of the amount of ingredients required for every recipe you cook leading to wastage, letting your half-eaten food rest in refrigerator for too long, or not being too familiar with the adaptability of various types of ingredients. however, with some close monitoring of your ingredients in your pantries and fridge, and by learning how to whip up some quick-fix dishes, you can drastically reduce your monthly food wastage. And in that process, save tons of money as well.
We’ve rounded up a bunch of effective ways to make maximum use of your leftovers in the kitchen. Here are some stellar recipes to make out of leftovers, ranging from variations of pastas to soupy appetizers, and we've also provided a few key tips for cooking with leftovers:
Pastas make for great leftover recipes. But do have in mind that it should be refrigerated for not more than 5 days. Beyond that, it will slowly start showing signs of expiration. But refrigerated pasta can very easily be reheated and its flavors too can be elevated. Refrigerated pasta, as it cools and sits over time, its different flavorful ingredients and aroma intermix together and develop more seasoned notes.
Leftover pasta can be reheated via a series of simple steps - add some olive oil on the pan, and heat over medium-high heat, add the pasta with some new sauces, sprinkle some fresh ingredients, and sauté it for up to 5 minutes. Keep stirring so that the sauce doesn’t brown. And, there you have it, you’ve given a new life to the pasta you thought was not fit to eat anymore.
Pasta Dishes Come In All Textures and Aromas
Another great thing about pasta recipes is that there are so many of them, and are so easily adaptable. Swap ingredients or sauces for another, and you have a different recipe altogether. Penne Arrabiata is known for its piquant taste, owing to the red sauce and hot peppers. A more creamy and luscious alternative would be the Penne White Spinach Mushroom. This lacto-vegetarian pasta recipe includes chestnut mushroom, penne pasta and a splash of cream and spinach. Easy to refrigerate and reheat later, this dish can be relished in batches over a week’s time.
The meat variant of a similarly textured past would be the Lemon Chicken Linguine Pasta. This easy to toss-up recipe features tender, succulent chicken slices and silky strands of al-dente linguine tossed in rich, creamy sauce.
Ragu, the meat-based sauce, goes very well with all kinds of pasta. Although make sure that once the can is opened, use all of the sauce within 7 days. The acidic content of pasta sauces quickens its expiration. Ragu Rigatoni is a pasta that is simply delicious and you can make it on Nymble.
Stir-frying is one of the quickest cooking techniques which also can whip up some delicious recipes. Due to the quick-fire nature of this technique, it is especially compatible for redoing overnight leftovers.
How to Stir-fry?
The process of stir-frying is fairly simple - toss the ingredients in a small amount of hot oil, on a wok (cooking utensil with a round base), and then keep stirring it vigorously and increase the temperature gradually over a period of 5-10 mins. Although, make sure you do not increase it to the degree that you burn the ingredients and lose its nutrients. When heated at an optimal temperature, stir frying can bring out natural flavors of vegetables, while also making them crunchier. This also makes it easy for picky eaters to get into the habit of eating vegetables.
This method of cooking is ideal for cooking rice or noodles with a variety of finely cut vegetables and chicken or seafood, providing a healthy balance of vitamins, carbs and proteins. Some delicious but also healthy quick stir-fry recipes include the veggie stir-fry, vegetable friend rice and chicken fried rice (find the recipe on each link).
Watch how Nymble cooks Korean Shrimp Stir Fry!
Make a Quick-Fix Breakfast From Leftover Dinners
Apart from Pasta and Stir-fry dishes, there are many quick fixes one can make for a scrumptious and healthy breakfast from leftover ingredients. Have some chopped up potatoes lying in the fridge? Grab a pan, toss the potatoes, add some sausages to the mix, douse them in oil, heat and fry till they start browning. Pair them with a side of scrambled eggs and in minutes you have a breakfast snack ready for munching - a scrumptious plate of Breakfast Sausages with Scrambles Eggs. Some healthier alternatives for a quick-fix breakfast include Chickpea Fajitas. Arrange all the ingredients in a sheet pan - chickpeas, portobello mushrooms, bell peppers and red onions. Now mix them all together in a bowl and season them thoroughly with fajita seasoning and olive oil (if you don’t have a packaged condiment ready, you can refer to this fajita seasoning recipe). Now roast the mix at 360F (or 180C) for 15 mins, flipping them periodically till the chickpeas are crunchy.
Easy Soup Recipes made from Leftovers
The mention of “soup recipes” may conjure up images of you slaving for hours in your kitchen but that does not have to be the case if you have leftover veggies or chicken left from the previous night’s dinner. Making the broth itself should not take you more than 30 mins. Read the full recipe walkthrough for the heart-and-belly warming soups below:
Corn Chowder Soup is an evergreen recipe which can be rustled with fresh corn, scallions, bell peppers, potatoes, bay leaf, and a few dollops of creamy butter. This revitalizing one-pot wonder is exactly what you need to put some pep in your step on a lazy day. It is also highly adaptable since it can be consumed as a side or even a main dish.
Watch how Nymble cooks a delicious bowl of Corn Chowder Soup (inspired by the internet famous Corn Kid!)
For the most part, food wastage can be attributed to improper meal planning. As you can see, the above recipes are unimaginably easy to rustle up. All you have to do is shop for the necessary ingredients sustainably, create a custom meal plan that you can stick to. This way, you can create a recipe plan for a month, and minimize food wastage to a great extent.
Meal-Planning is difficult, but it does not have to be
At the same time, we know meal-planning and cooking meals 3-times a day, on a regular basis can be impractical for people today with their busy schedules. And even if you have set aside a few hours to cook everyday, you may not always find yourself in the right mood to.
We understand. We empathize with your daily cooking and meal planning struggles. And we wanted to take this weight off your plate.
What is Nymble? And how can it help you get rid of your daily cooking hassles?
Nymble is essentially a chef that lives in your kitchen. Not a human chef, but your own private robot chef. It lets you have complete control over your food, without you having to actually cook it. For every recipe, you can customize them to the fullest extent - adjust sauce thickness or spice levels. You can swap ingredients for one another, set unlimited taste profiles for different people so that the robot cooks accordingly for each person. You can even schedule recipes and track their progress from your phone.
Learn More about Nymble here.
So figure this - you can choose from 500+ recipes from various cuisines, customize them to your preferences and quite literally, put your food on autopilot. You can filter and browse recipes based on the ingredients you have in your hand, and make something deliciously healthy each and every time. This is an ideal cooking product to own if you want to make the most out of the different types of ingredients and produce that you have stocked in your pantries and kitchen.
It may sound too good to be true. It did so for early users too, until they started using the product. Here's what they had to say! (Note - In this video, users refer to the cooking robot a 'Julia' as it was previously named so. Julia is now Nymble!)