If you, or members of your family are not fans of having the same meal a few days in a row, then you probably are a master of the freezer prep. Freezing food is one of the best ways of preserving nutritional value as well as taste, and there are plenty of meals that you can freeze and save for later like soups, curries or stews.
Having a few leftover meals in the freezer not only saves precious time but also saves your purse from splurging on takeaways. So, as frozen food experts, we want to give you a few tips and ideas on how to make the most out of those precious leftovers, and make every meal a joyful moment.
How to safely defrost frozen leftovers
Before you get creative and start repurposing those delicious leftovers, there are few rules to follow to make sure food is defrosted safely.
First things first, you need to make sure your leftover food is defrosted completely. The best way to defrost leftovers is by leaving them to thaw in the fridge because bacteria can easily grow at room temperature. This means you have to remember to take the food out of the freezer a good few hours ahead of time. Any cooked food that has been fully defrosted needs to be consumed within 24 hours.
Once the leftovers are completely defrosted, the method of reheating – whether that’s in the oven, on the stove or in the microwave – matters less. The only rule is to make sure that the food is piping hot, and reaches about 75°C for 2 minutes.
You should also only reheat the leftovers once, because the more times you cool and reheat food you increase the risk of getting food poisoning. So only take the amount you want to use out of the freezer.
Meatballs are a great addition to any meal, plus they’re easy to freeze too! As meatballs go with all kinds of sides, it means there’s no reason to settle for any repeat meal.
Pasta with meatballs is a classic combo, so if you happen to have these pork and peas meatballs stashed in the freezer, add them to a tomato-based sauce once defrosted, then mix them with your favourite pasta. You can also try pasta bakes like this delicious vegetarian meatballs pasta bake recipe, made with our Green Cuisine meat-free meatballs – also a freezer staple.
Frozen chilli ideas
Chilli con carne – or vegetarian chilli, is definitely high on the list of meals to batch cook. It’s simple to make, nutritious and also easy to store in the freezer.
But just because you have some frozen chilli put aside for more idle days, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with it.
Once defrosted you can “unload” your chilli onto as many corn tortillas you’d like, grate a handful of cheese on top of everything, and pop into the oven to melt. Serve with a healthy dollop of salsa.
You can also practise your wrapping skills by making your own burritos. All you need to add is some cooked rice, shredded lettuce, and a bit of guacamole.
Curries are another great example for frozen leftover fans. So if you’re in need of a quick meal, leave it to defrost, cook up some rice, heat up some naan, and voila: your lunch or dinner is sorted. If having the curry the “usual way” doesn’t satisfy you then why not try a leftover curry omelette? Works with many types of curries, meat or veggie and you can have it as a breakfast treat or even dinner. Simply whisk up some eggs, blend in the leftover curry (if the meat or vegetable pieces are too large, roughly chop them first) then cook it in a pan as you normally would.
Another idea is to use your leftover curry in a sandwich or a wrap. This makes it perfect to pack up for lunch and create some food envy.
Explore our range of curry recipes to get inspired and start filling up that freezer.
Frozen side dishes
Another pro frozen leftover tip is to serve them up with a few cooked side dishes. This is where you can get creative because you can always mix and match your sides, as well as pairing them with our delicious ranges of frozen fish or chicken.
Got other unanswered questions about frozen food? Visit our All About Frozen hub and get all your answers!