Cooking leftovers – tips for using leftovers and simple recipes from leftovers

Cooking leftovers recipes ideas tips recycling leftovers

You don’t feel like going shopping right now, but it’s time to eat? Then it’s better to check the fridge first before ordering a pizza. In almost every kitchen there are leftovers that can be used as the basis for various delicious recipes. Food such as fresh herbs, vegetables, stale bread and leftover side dishes from the day before are far too good for the bin. Today we’re going to show you how to cook your leftovers and use them to make delicious meals. In the article you will find a few useful tips for recycling leftovers.

Reasons for the food waste

leftovers waste possible measures tips leftover kitchen

According to a study by the University of Stuttgart on behalf of the Federal Ministry, every German throws away around 82 kilograms of food per year. That corresponds to a value of around 235 euros – cash that goes straight to the bin. According to the study, fruits and vegetables account for almost half of all food waste, followed by baked goods and leftover food. The most common reason to discard is appearance. Food that no longer seems appetizing enough usually ends up in the trash faster, even though it is still edible.

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We should take action ourselves to reduce the amount of food waste. First, we looked at the reasons for food waste. In the first place, many of us buy more than we need because we are attracted by the cheaper price of bulk packaging or the appetizing look of many foods or their packaging. Another reason for the waste is that the products are incorrectly stored. This way they spoil faster and end up in the bin. Many continue to think that a “best before date” is an “expiry date” and do not give the product a chance, even though it still smells and looks good. We also cook too much and don’t use our leftovers. So if we plan our groceries better, store the groceries properly and cook the leftovers instead of throwing them away, we can keep food waste to a minimum.

Tips for recycling leftovers

tips food waste write shopping list

Here are a few practical tips to help you avoid wasting food.

How to buy properly:

– Check your supplies before every purchase to avoid buying unnecessary products.

– Pay attention to your basic needs. These are the foods that you use every day and that should always be available.

– Write down the foods you really need on a shopping list and don’t deviate from them.

– Better to buy more often, but not too much.

– Discuss the purchases with the other family members.

– Choose quality over quantity.

use leftovers tips stock check before shopping

Storing food properly:

– Create order in the refrigerator and pantry. This makes it easier to check supplies and find groceries more easily.

– Store food in sealable cans and boxes.

– Cover opened food and cans with cling film.

– Check the expiry date of your foods and use those first, which are about to expire.

– Freeze excess herbs, vegetables or whole foods for later.

leftovers cooking recipes ideas different ingredients refrigerator

Cooking and recycling leftovers:

– Create a weekly meal plan with recipes that contain similar ingredients. So the leftovers from the previous evening can be used to prepare food the next day.

– Pack the leftover dinner for lunch for the next day.

– Try to cook the right amount. Cookbooks and recipes from the Internet help with this.

– Boil your leftovers instead of throwing them in the bin.

Cooking leftovers – recipes for what’s left over

waste recycling tips put in the refrigerator food

If you want to reduce your food waste, you could get creative and cook your leftovers! Leftovers can be used to prepare delicious dishes for breakfast, dinner and lunch that simply taste great. In the following you will find a few simple recipe ideas for a delicious leftover kitchen.

Cooking leftover bread

cooking leftovers bread utilizing ideas recipes

The fresh, soft bread from the day before yesterday is already hard and no longer looks so appetizing? Still, stale bread does not belong in the trash. You can use it to prepare a few delicacies that will be a real treat for the palate and without much effort. You decide for yourself whether a nutritious bread salad, a delicious bread casserole, crispy croutons or sweet poor knights.

Make croutons yourself from stale bread

cooking leftovers bread using leftovers croutons do it yourself


old bread

Oil or butter

Salt, paprika powder, herbs for seasoning

Cut the bread into cubes. Heat the fat in a pan, add bread cubes to the pan and roast until golden brown. Season the croutons to taste and turn them several times so that they don’t burn. When done, drain on kitchen paper and use to refine salads and soups.

Recipe for poor knights made from leftover bread

Cooking leftovers stale bread poor knight recipe

To use the leftover bread, you can use it to make tasty Poor Knights yourself. What you need:

1 egg

250 ml of lukewarm milk


Cinnamon, powdered sugar, chocolate or jam

Whisk the egg with the milk in a deep plate. Cut the bread into slices and soak it well in the egg-milk mixture. In the meantime, heat a pan with oil, then fry the bread slices until golden brown on both sides and let the excess fat drip off on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon while still warm or spread with a spread and enjoy immediately.

Recipes made from leftover vegetables

vegetable leftovers cooking recipes ideas leftover use tips

Half of all food waste is made up of fruits and vegetables, but they are not always spoiled. Sometimes you just throw one or the other tomato away because it has withered spots. In order not to throw the most expensive and healthiest foods in the trash, turn them into a sauce or dish in good time. If you cook the leftover vegetables instead of throwing them away, you will have delicious, healthy dishes.

Vegetable soup cook from leftovers

vegetable leftovers cook cream soup easy recipe


2 potatoes

3 carrots

1 onion

1 piece of celery bulb


2 tbsp olive oil

1 L vegetable stock


black pepper

200 ml of cream

1 bunch of parsley

* The ingredients for the vegetable soup are exemplary. You can of course use what you have available as leftovers.

Clean the leftover vegetables, peel them if necessary and cut them into small pieces. Then put everything in a sufficiently large saucepan with olive oil, sauté for a few minutes and finally add the vegetable stock so that it is completely covered. If necessary, add a little more water and season with salt and pepper. Put a lid on and cook over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes. Puree the finished vegetable soup and top with cream and chopped parsley.

Tip: You can freeze excess vegetable soup and eat it after a few weeks.

Make herbal quark yourself

Use leftover recipes to make herbal quark yourself

Fresh herbs don’t last long in the refrigerator at all, so use them as soon as possible before they wither. So if you have leftover herbs, you can quickly turn them into a herb quark or herb butter.


150 g sour cream

150 g low-fat yogurt

200 g quark or low-fat quark


pepper from the grinder

1 teaspoon of sugar

fresh herbs, e.g. B. chives, parsley, dill, coriander

Wash the remains of herbs and remove the withered leaves. Then finely chop and mix with the other ingredients. The herbal quark combines wonderfully with baked potatoes and is a delicious spread with wholemeal or crisp bread.

Use overripe fruit

smoothie overripe bananas pumpkin recipes made from leftovers

For many, fruit with bruises is no longer edible. But that is pure waste. Because overripe fruit sometimes even tastes better than fresh. Especially when it is used to prepare delicious pancakes, fruit sandwiches and smoothies. So next time don’t throw away the apples with brown spots, but bake them into a tasty apple pie. Ripe bananas, on the other hand, can be used to bake banana bread or try many different combinations for smoothies.

Cook the leftover pasta

Pasta leftovers cook spaghetti recipe frittata

But what to do if there isn’t one product or the other left, but a whole piece of yesterday’s meal? In this case you can also cook the leftovers and transform them into a completely new dish. Whether pasta, rice, potatoes or meat – the possibilities are many.

Cooking the right amount of pasta, for example, often seems to be a very difficult task. In the end, the pasta is either too little or too much, so that part of it ends up in the trash later. So it is better to cook more and use the leftovers for another dish the next day, such as a frittata.

Recipe for spaghetti frittata with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella

Cooking leftovers spaghetti frittata yourself

You can prepare a frittata with any type of pasta. If the leftovers are without sauce, you should think about a suitable variant. A little tomato paste would work wonderfully with this recipe.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

4 eggs, size L.

700 g leftover spaghetti with sauce

1 handful of basil leaves, chopped

6-7 cherry tomatoes

1 small mozzarella, torn into pieces

salt and pepper

recipe spaghetti frittata simple recipes from leftovers

Whisk the eggs and mix with the basil and spaghetti. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix everything well. Put the spaghetti in an ovenproof pan and top with pieces of mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes at 170 degrees or until the edges are crispy. Cut the spaghetti frittata into triangles and serve with some fresh basil.

recipes cooking leftovers spaghetti frittata yourself

Cooking leftovers from the boiled rice

Cooking leftovers boiled rice fry vegetables

Have you cooked a large amount of rice? Then you can easily make a delicious fried rice yourself, just like in a Chinese restaurant. Here is the recipe:

2 tbsp butter

2 eggs

1 bag of carrots and peas, frozen and thawed

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

4 cups of cooked rice

3 spring onions, chopped

Soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil to refine (optional)

salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a frying pan, whisk the eggs and make the scrambled eggs. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and set aside. Then add some more butter to the pan and sauté the garlic for about 1 minute. Add the carrot and pea mixture and fry briefly. Then add all the other ingredients except for the scrambled eggs and the sesame oil to the pan, mix well and fry for about 5 minutes. Finally mix in the eggs and sesame oil, stir well and you’re done.

Recipes from leftovers of potatoes

Potatoes leftovers cooking recipe farmer's breakfast eggs

The boiled potatoes are the perfect basis for the so-called farmer’s breakfast. It’s a simple leftover dish that can be prepared with any ingredient. In addition to potatoes, this usually includes leftover meat, as well as eggs, onions and chives. So a great idea if you want to cook your leftovers.

Cooking farmer’s breakfast from leftovers

cooking leftovers ingredients refrigerator recycle boiled potatoes


5 slices of pork ham, torn

1 onion, finely chopped

3-4 boiled potatoes, cut into pieces

3 eggs, size L.

1 tbsp butter

3 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper

1 tbsp chopped parsley

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

cooked potatoes use leftover kitchen recipe

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon oil and butter in an ovenproof frying pan and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes until translucent. Then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the leftover oil to the pan and turn the heat on high. Add the boiled potatoes and fry for 6-8 minutes until they turn lightly brown. Now add the onions, ham and a little salt and pepper and stir. Make three small holes and break the eggs in them. Place the pan in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the eggs are cooked through. Enjoy the farmer’s breakfast with chopped parsley and cherry tomatoes.

Cooking leftovers potatoes meat farmer's breakfast recipe