How Do You Use Up Leftovers?

Using up leftovers is obviously an awesome way to avoid wasting food and ultimately, lowering your grocery budget.

Since my family has grown, I don’t often have leftovers but I am trying to get into the habit of intentionally making more than I need so that I can serve dinner for lunch the next day.

I admit I’m not super creative when it comes to what Amy Dacyczyn of The Tightwad Gazette books refers to as “Leftover Wizardry”, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve.

I like to use leftover rice to make fried rice for lunch or dinner.

In a large saute pan heat a little oil and saute chopped onion (green or white or yellow, doesn’t matter). I add whatever veggies I have on hand (diced carrot, diced onion, sliced celery, corn, peas, snow peas, really anything).

Leftover fried rice 35/365
Creative Commons License photo credit: fifikins

Add an egg and scramble among the veggies. Add diced leftover meat like ham, chicken, or tempeh or tofu if you swing that way. When everything is hot, it’s ready. Serve with soy sauce. You’re done!

Leftover bits of meat, cheese and veggies can go into quiches or omelets.

A good basic quiche recipe is quite elastic, so experiment away.

Refrigerator Stew – Keep a container in your freezer for small amounts of leftover vegetables, grains, meat and beans. When the container becomes full, you have the makings of a great soup. As long as you start with a base of onions and garlic sauteed in butter, it’s hard to go wrong with soup.

Leftover fruits (you know, the half eaten apples that are lying around the kitchen!), yogurt, milk, etc can become fruit smoothies.

Leftover potatoes become tomorrow morning’s fried potatoes, served with eggs, for breakfast.

Leftover oatmeal is great in just about any muffin recipe.

Leftover chili is yummy on top of baked potatoes (sprinkled with a little cheese or sour cream!).

What tricks do you have up your sleeve for creatively re-purposing leftovers?

I’m tempted to add this cookbook to my kitchen for ideas:
Use It Up Cookbook: Creative Recipes for the Frugal Cook

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2 Responses to How Do You Use Up Leftovers?

  1. Like you, I use left over meats of fried rice. When I have extra chicken, I make chicken noodle soup or sometimes chicken salad for sandwiches – same goes for left over turkey. If I have left over gravy, I make shepherd’s pie.

  2. Candi says:

    You can use leftover salad and puree it and add to soup. Our chili/taco soup recipe ends up becoming Enchiladas after it’s been Nachos.

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