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3 dinner leftovers that make awesome lunches for kids

Asian-style pork burgers. Picture: Supplied

Asian-style pork burgers. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 19, 2022


When you are meal planning for a family, the first question is: “Will most people eat it?”

The second question should always be “How can I use it for lunchboxes the next day?”

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By cooking meals that have a second life as a fabulous lunch, you save time, money, and energy trying to figure out what to prepare for lunch the next day.

Think outside the box – you might not always serve leftovers in the same form they were originally made.

They can often be re-purposed into a wrap, a salad, fun finger food, or a whole new dish. To get you started, here are some recipes that you can try.

Succulent beef wrap. Picture: Pexels/Roman Odintsov.

Succulent beef wrap

Yield: 6 servings


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1 boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼ tsp pepper

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3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided

3 tsp olive oil, divided

1 medium red onion, cut into wedges

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1 jar roasted sweet red peppers, drained and cut into strips

¼ cup dry red wine or reduced-sodium beef broth

6 tbsp fat-free ranch salad dressing

6 flour tortillas

1- ½ cups torn iceberg lettuce

1 medium tomato, chopped

¼ cup chopped green onions


In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute the beef, garlic, pepper, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce in 2 teaspoons oil until meat is no longer pink.

Remove and keep warm.

Saute the onion in the remaining oil for 2 minutes.

Stir in the red peppers, wine or broth, and remaining soy sauce; bring to a boil. Return beef to the pan; simmer for 5 minutes or until heated through.

Spread ranch dressing over one side of each tortilla; sprinkle with lettuce, tomato, and green onions. Spoon about ¾ cup beef mixture down the centre of each tortilla; roll-up.

Asian-style pork burgers. Picture: Supplied

Asian-style pork burgers

Serves: 4


600g pork mince

20ml grated fresh ginger

5ml chopped garlic

125ml chopped fresh coriander

45ml sweet chilli sauce

10ml sesame oil

250ml fresh breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

Oil, for frying

Sesame buns

Lettuce and sweet chilli sauce, for serving

Pickled Slaw

250ml white cabbage, shredded

250ml red cabbage, shredded

15ml salt

125ml rice vinegar

20ml-30ml castor sugar

5ml yellow mustard seeds


In a bowl, combine the mince, ginger, garlic, coriander, sweet chilli sauce, sesame oil, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into four portions and shape it into patties. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes aside. To ensure the burgers are fully cooked, place them in a preheated oven at 180°C for 10 minutes.

Serve on sesame buns with lettuce, pickled slaw, and extra sweet chilli sauce or with potato wedges if desired.

Slaw: Combine the white and red cabbage in a bowl. Sprinkle the salt, and allow it to stand for 20 minutes.

Rinse well and allow to drain thoroughly.

Transfer to a bowl. Mix the rice vinegar, sugar, and mustard seeds and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the cabbage, refrigerate and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

Shepherd’s pie. Picture: Supplied

Shepherd’s pie

This recipe is pretty flexible and depends a lot on what kinds of leftovers you have lying around the kitchen.


500g fat-free minced beef meat

1 medium onion

1 small green pepper

1 medium tomato

½ bunch dhanya

½ tsp nutmeg

5 cloves garlic, grated

1 slice bread soaked in water (preferably day or two old)

1 large egg

Salt and pepper to taste


Wash and drain minced meat well.

Soak bread in water and squeeze excess water out.

Chop onion, pepper, tomato, dhanya finely.

Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly using your hands.

Transfer the mixture into an oven-proof dish.

Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes at 180°C.

Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.

Grill in the oven until the top is slightly browned.

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