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15 Top Tips to Help Elevate your Lunch with Leftovers

17 June 2022

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Whether you’re running late for a school run or simply tired from running daily errands, lunch doesn’t need to be bland or boring.

Lunch. 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year and can often feel either like a chore or that thing that doesn’t get as much attention as the thought that goes into what you might have for dinner later in the day. It’s a little bit, unloved. We carried out a survey and found that almost one third of Brits are bored of their usual lunchtime recipes and eat the same mid-day meal four times a week. Lunch doesn’t need to be bland or boring. Tilda ready-to-heat rice pouches are full of flavour, convenient for all, easy to combine with fresh ingredients for tasty meals ready in minutes. Because of the versatility of rice, you could have any number of lunch combinations and never get bored. Here’s some useful tips to help you ditch the dull from your lunch:

1. Think ‘ingredients’, not ‘leftovers’

The first barrier to cooking up a storm is overcoming the thought that leftovers are boring and hold very little value – they’re anything but! Leftovers should be seen as worthy ingredients, opening a world of exciting recipe possibilities. When combined with our Ready to Heat pouches (microwaveable in just two minutes), you have now invented a new recipe, but more importantly, a tasty lunch. Also, don’t forget that the rice you cooked yesterday is just as good today with a little bit of love and the right combination of ingredients.

2. Crisp and crunchy vegetables

Did you know that you can revitalise old vegetables in ice water to restore their original crisp and crunchy texture? Vegetables like celery, greens, and peppers that are beginning to lose their crisp texture, soaked in ice water for two minutes will be just like new!

3. Pickles and preserves

Pickling vegetables in vinegar with salt and sugar not only gives them a new lease of life, but also adds a new flavour to your lunchbox. Don’t stop there! You can add a host of spices to your pickles to pack in even more flavour

4. Add colour to your plate

If you’re unsure which ingredients can be paired together to compliment flavours, colour combinations are always a good starting point. Pairing your red tomato salsa with yellow sweetcorn is not only complimentary but helps to stimulate our minds when we eat as it makes a dish look more appealing

5. Plan ahead

Planning your lunch for the week ahead will help keep stress levels lower and inspiration juices flowing, as well as helping keep costs and food waste down. Write a menu full of delicious and easy lunch dishes at the start of the week to create lunches you know you are going to love.

6. The freezer is your friend

Do you have a favourite dish that takes a little longer to cook? Try batch cooking in the evening or at the weekend, and freeze portions so you have future tasty meals to eat throughout the week when time is of the essence or if motivation is low. Your freezer is your friend for keeping you on track with your lunch time plans.

7. Double up on dinner

Cooking extra food is always a good thing. Pair your leftovers with some crunchy green vegetables with Tilda’s ready to heat rice pouches for a tasty and filling lunch meal.

8. Store food correctly

Store your leftovers in individual portion sizes, to save time and hassle when you’re hungry. Using air-tight containers will help keep food fresher for longer. Read our FAQs to understand how best to store rice to avoid spoilage.

9. Garnish your dish

Toppings can be a game changer – from seeds to croutons, dressings to cheeses, adding a variety of toppings to your lunch can add texture, flavour and colour. Having store cupboard essentials at home can equip you to take lunch up a level at any time.

10. Think big, think global

If you’re looking for a way to add a twist to your leftovers, consider a new cuisine or flavour profile. Check out our international recipes for Caribbean, Asian and Mexican-inspired recipes to name a few. In terms of your store cupboard or pantry, sometimes going outside of your comfort zone also helps to keep you inspired, so stocking up on other worldwide kitchen cupboard essentials will ensure you have flavour at your finger tips at all times.

11. Lunchtime tapas

Can’t decide whether to reheat your curry, use up leftover chicken or make a mouth-watering tagine? Why not do all three! Cooking with multiple small portions of leftovers at a time means you can create your own lunchtime tapas and have the best of both worlds.

12. Everything goes with rice

A speedy and delicious meal that easily uses up leftovers is a rice bowl – pile on your toppings all found in the fridge, combine with herbs and serve up in a bowl or dish.  A tasty lunch made in minutes.

13.Don’t settle for the ordinary

You can quickly whip up a tasty meal that is full of both colour and flavour by pairing Tilda’s ready to heat pouches with any combination of ingredients in your fridge, just like this recipe from Dean Edwards. Nothing should be off the table and think about using substitutes when you have them to vary your lunches further

14. Simplicity is key

Lunch doesn’t need to be complicated and time consuming to be flavourful. Combining 3 ingredients can be enough to create a tasty lunch. When you do your food shop, buy some slightly different ingredients each week to help you vary those combinations and keep the flavour coming.

15. Think out of the box

Don’t be scared to experiment, explore, combine ingredients and flavours. It is a great way to break the routine and bring more excitement into your meals by trying something new. Rice is a versatile staple across many cuisines and can be used and consumed in many ways e.g.: fried rice, poke bowl, cold salad or as a side for leftover curry. Give it a try and see what good comes from you experiment.