Cooking with left over foods

Most of us have food left overs from time to time. Possibly too little to feed a whole family again, possibly not as attractive anymore heaten up in the microwave.

But too good to go to waste.

Here are a couple of recipe ideas to create with some of the most commonly wasted foods: broccoli stems, bread ends, milk & eggs, meat or fish and potatoes.

Reduce food waste, and use up typically wasted food products. This is a recipe to make a delicious broccoli stem pesto sauce. Simple recipe to liven up your pasta in no time!
Broccoli stem pesto pasta sauce

Broccoli stem pesto sauce

This lemony pesto sauce makes great use of all the broccoli and makes a perfect (and quick) pasta sauce, with ingredients that you may already have at home.


  • stem of 1 broccoli (ours was about 130g)

  • handful of basil leaves

  • 30g parmesan cheese (use cheddar for vegetarian option)

  • 1 garlic clove

  • ½ lemon

  • 40ml olive oil

  • salt and pepper to season

  • optional: serve with roasted pine nuts


  1. Slice stem in 2 cm chunks and steam for approx. 5 min. till soft to stab with a fork

  2. Add the steamed broccoli, basil leaves, parmesan cheese to a food processor and chop all ingredients

  3. Grate ½ lemon and add zest to the food processor. Juice the remaining lemon and add juice

  4. Add oilive oil, generous amount of pepper and some salt

  5. Blend well together

  6. Serve on top of pasta (with steamed broccoli heads), and if you have some at home, add some roasted pine nuts.

Best home made croutons made from bread heels / bread ends save food waste
Bread end croutons

Home made bread end croutons

Fresh croutons are so much better than those from a (plastic) pack. The smell of grilled garlic bread alone makes me hungry. Even better, these are made with the bread-heels: those ends of the breads that no one ever wants to take!


  • 2-3 Bread ends (bread heels)

  • olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • oregano

  • salt

  • pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celcius

  2. Dice the bread into small squares and put onto a baking tray

  3. Drizzle some olive oil over the bread squares

  4. Press the garlic over the bread squares

  5. Sprinkle over some salt, pepper and oregano

  6. Pop in the oven for 10 min

  7. Add to soup or salad & enjoy!

Left over milk & eggs protein rich pancakes

Who doesn't like pancakes? If you ever find yourself at a loss as what to do with some left over eggs or milk - here you go!


  • 5 eggs (or less, if you don't have 5 to spare, anything between 2-6 goes)

  • 250g flour

  • 250ml milk

  • a drizzle of maple syrup (or alternatively a spoon of sugar)

  • pinch of salt

  • butter

  • Optional: apple slices (very thinly sliced), cheese (sliced), raisins, bacon or cherries to fry inside your pancakes


  1. Carefully crack your eggs, add flour, milk, maple syrup (or sugar), pinch of salt and mix well with (hand)-mixer

  2. Heat a non-stick frying pan and melt a little butter, change heat to medium (medium-hot)

  3. Add a small layer of pancake mixture, if filled top with one or more ingredients and add a very thin layer of pancake mixture on top

  4. Turn over as soon as you can slide the pancake by shaking the pan a little

  5. Leave for a minute, than serve with your favourite topping(s)

Left over meat faijita

Spice up your left over meat or fish into tasty fajitas! This recipe is very forgiving, and you can add most veg /potatoes /left overs of your choice to make a tasty meal.


  • 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper (or any colour you have at hand)

  • 1 onion

  • 1 tbsp oil

  • left over meat or fish

  • can black/chilli or taco beans, drained

  • optional: other left over veg/potatoes

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • ½ tsp chilli powder

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • ½ tsp ground cumin

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • coriander, finely chopped (replace with dried coriander, (fresh) basil or other herb if you dont have any fresh coriander)

  • 1 lime (or lemon)

  • 6 flour tortillas /wraps

  • 2 avocados (optional)

  • yogurt

  • grated cheese


  1. Cut bell peppers and onions into strips. Heat the oil in the frying pan and fry the strips until soft and starting to brown at the edges. Transfer to a dish

  2. Add the meat and beans into the same pan and add the chili powder, smoked paprika, and ground cumin. At this stage, you can also add other left over veg. Stir the mixture around the pan to warm through and help absorb any flavours of the fajita mix, then stir through the coriander, crushed garlic, and grate a little lime zest over it

  3. Optional: Crush the avocado in a bowl with a fork until creamy consistency. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime and a sprinkle of salt.

  4. Pan fry tortillas each side until golden brown.

  5. Serve the tortillas, with the fajita mix, meat (/fish) & beans, guacamole, yogurt and grated for everyone to help themselves.

Use up any left over boiled potatoes in this delicious potato & leek soup. Served with home made croutons. Reduced food waste and saves you money.
Left over boiled potato & leek soup

Left over potato & leek soup

Potatoes are the numer 1 wasted food in the UK. If you have some boiled potatoes left, try this quick & easy soup. You can even just store it in the freezer for a quick lunch time (wintery) healthy meal!


  • 25g butter

  • ~500g leeks, chopped up into 1cm chunks

  • tbsp olive oil

  • ~500g left over cooked potatoes

  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 stock cube

  • 100ml milk

  • 100ml double or whipping cream

  • salt & pepper to season

  • to serve: croutons and herby cheese (eg. boursin)


  1. Melt butter in a pot, add chopped up leeks and spoonful of olive oil

  2. Fry on medium heat until soft (approx 5 min)

  3. Add boiled potatoes and thinly sliced garlic & stir

  4. Add 500ml water and 1 stock cube, bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes

  5. Blend all ingredients until you have a creamy thick soup

  6. Add 100ml milk and 100ml cream, stir. If you feel that the soup is too thick, add a bit of water

  7. Heat up again and season with salt and pepper

  8. Serve with home-made croutons and a spoon of (whipped) herb cheese (eg. boursin)

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