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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What Do You Do with Leftovers?

Per a reader's request I would like to extend today's "Keepin' My Money Tuesday" post.

This reader wants to see a roundup of favorite ways to "re-make" leftovers.

She says: I'm always at a loss as to how to creatively serve up last night's dinner again. What to do with steak, potatoes, spaghetti, rice, etc. I'm sure there's tons of great ideas out there!

So how 'bout it? How do you "remake" last nights leftovers? Any great ideas or recipes?


Amy said...

This week I'm really trying to work on the leftovers. The hubby and I usually eat leftovers for lunch, but I wanted to try to rework leftovers this week. Yesterday I roasted a chicken, tonight will be chicken and cheese biscuits, and tomorrow will be chicken quesadillas.

larson fam said...

Last night was ham and scalloped potatoes - tonight will be green bean soup with ham in it. Also, some of the ham was saved for sandwiches (it was a fully cooked ham).

Sometimes, if I have a big chunk of leftover meat, I freeze some of it and use it in a casserole later (if it's chicken) or make beef and noodles or chicken and noodles, or use the ham for soup.

Leftover mashed potatoes are great fried.

Mercedes said...

These are some of my ideas:
Leftover rice: use in crust for quiche
Leftover steak: cheese steak sandwich, steak salad

Leftover spaghetti: spaghetti pie

Leftover potatoes: potato has, frittata

Cooked chicken: quesadillas, chicken tacos, turnovers, chicken salad

I'll try to think of more.

Mrs. J said...

For plain rice, you can recook it again and make fried rice or garlic rice. For meat or chicken, you can add it on noodles or make adobo(just check my blog recipes) I'm Asian so I'm all for Asian cuisine :p Well, we all just got to think more resourcefully about it! I don't like throwing food coz I grew up being told that "There's so many poor people in the world and I should be thankful enough to have food available to me." When I was still studying (in Philippines), I would sometimes give my extra food to beggars after my lunch break than throwing them(if I can't really eat everything and there's a lot of beggars there!). Also, I learned to cook in moderation and make sure people in the household would really eat the food.

cooking like a frugalite said...

Hi, Denise. I try to do this a lot and have talked about it a bit on my blog. The most current was this:

Tuesday we had spaghetti. But I only used half a pound because the sauce that I used wasn't the normal 28oz and I wanted to make sure that it didn't get too dry. I put the other half pound in a bag in the freezer.

Wednesday I pulled out the chicken carcass that has been sitting in my fridge since Friday (oops!) I had roasted a chicken, but it was kind on blah, so we didn't eat more than one meal off of it. Then, with my mom coming in, I didn't deal with it. I was afraid it was already spoiled, but it still smelled good, so I said a prayer over it and tossed the whole thing into a pot of water and set it to boil.

I boiled it good for about two hours. Then, I pulled all of the meat off the bone, which was very easy to do after the good boiling. I took out the leftover spaghetti noodles from Tuesday, used the chicken broth that was produced by the boiling chicken and made chicken tettrazini. It was delicious!

We had enough leftover to have it for dinner again on Thursday.

So, two different dinners made two more dinners. That's almost free food!


Centsible Mommy said...


Some ideas for leftover steaks are stir fry and steak tacos. These 2 dishes seem to make the steak tender & juicy again. Usually if you just reheat a steak by itself it is dry. it doesn't seem to be with these!

amybo said...


I have really been trying the "cook once, eat twice" method. I will make a pork shoulder roast in the crock pot, pull half the meat out and make bbq pork sandwiches the first night(usually with leftover buns from burgers the night before). The next night I will usually make pork burritos or enchiladas. It works out great! I also do the same with ground beef. I will make spaghetti the first night, but pull half the meat out before I put the spaghetti sauce on. I use the other half to make nachos or tacos later in the week. This works with chicken too! I have a recipe for roasted chicken in the oven, I use the leftovers for chicken broccoli pot pie cups or chicken quesadillas. I have really been trying to do this a lot so I can stretch my grocery budget further and it is working! My hubby doesn't even seem to mind!

Centsible Mommy said...

Sorry forgot to post about potatoes.-hence my 2nd post! If they're baked potatoes you can make twice baked potatoes. Cut the baked potato in half scoop out most of potato, mix that in a bowl along with butter sour cream and cheese. Scoop this mixture back into potato skins and bake for about an hour, covered with aluminum foil.


jmisgro said...

The only problem with that is - it is Hershey candy. I won't buy Hershey candy or anything else from them. They closed a plant here to send the work to a new plant in Mexico. About a 1000 people lost their jobs. It was so sad.

jmisgro said...

whoops wrong place!

cynthiagilbert said...

I've had some good success using left-over rice or pasta to make salads. I add whatever beans, veggies (frozen or fresh), bits of sauce and salad dressings, scraps of meat, cheese or tofu and mix it up really well. It's great either as a hearty side at a dinner, as a light main entree or even just for lunches and snacks. In any case, it's a fabulous way to clean out the fridge of all the bits and ends, I haven't had any go to waste and several people have even asked for my "recipe." Hee hee - if they only knew!

Pregnantly Plump said...

When we crock pot chicken, there's usually quite a bit left. I'll make chicken salad with it one night and then process the rest with barbecue sauce for barbecue chicken sandwiches. Each meal tastes completely different and I always feel so resourceful.

Terri said...

I use leftover spaghetti and add a chicken breast covered in provolone or parmesan cheese and voila..chicken parmesan.

Steak is stirfried with onions, green peppers and put on a sandwich for Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches or
Stir fry over rice.

sassy stephanie said...

I've used brisket leftovers for yummy enchiladas before. Chicken can be cubed or shredded and be made into virtually anything. My whole fam loves cheese tortellini. I will boil a bunch and use one night with alfredo or red spaghetti sauce as either a main dish or side. Then use the boiled leftovers on a green salad, sometimes with grilled chicken. You guys are making me hungry.

Anonymous said...

I often make Leftover Soup with all the cooked meats, veggies and grains in the fridge. I serve it with homemade wheat rolls. YUM!

Misty Kearns - said...

Here's one of my favorite leftover recipes:

Creamed Chicken on Potato Patties
Makes 6 servings

2 cups cold mashed potatoes (instant potatoes work too!)

1 beaten egg

¼ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup finely chopped celery

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 ½ cups milk or half-and-half

Dried thyme to taste (or other favorite seasoning)

1 ½ cups cooked diced chicken (dice up your leftover baked or grilled chicken breasts)

1 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional, if you don't like peas, use another veggie)

1 cup grated cheddar cheese or to taste

2 tablespoons melted butter

In bowl, combine mashed potatoes, egg, onion, celery and salt and pepper. Mix well. Form into uniform patties, using about 1/3 cup of the mixture per patty. Set aside.

In medium saucepan over low heat, melt the 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about a minute. Gradually stir milk or half-and-half and cook, stirring until thickened. Add thyme, salt and pepper to taste, chicken and peas, increase heat to medium and heat through; remove from heat and immediately stir in cheese until melted.

In large skillet over medium heat, brown patties in the 2 tablespoons melted butter about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown on both sides. Serve creamed chicken over potato patties.


bullwinkl said...

I never did learn how to cook for just two, and my husband isn't terribly fond of leftovers. When I finally got tired of all the food that was going to waste in my house, I started taking the leftovers and immediately after dinner and making individual freezer meals that I can pull out for a quick meal anytime I feel like it. Usually, I can't tell the difference between the first time and the second time. Of course, turkey and chicken carcasses, and nice beef or pork bones get frozen for when I feel like making soup.

bals1962 said...

If we have leftover steak (or chicken or pork) we make fajitas or beans and rice. I just slice the meat in thin strips, add a bit of water and seasoning (we use garlic, cummin and a bit of tabasco) and nuke for a few minutes. Add tortillas, salsa, guacomole, lettuce, cheese and sour cream (or whatever else you like for fixins') and you have fajitas. For beans and rice (a good way to use leftover rice, too) I use Bush seasoned black or red beans. Heat those up, do the meat as same as for fajitas. Serve the beans over rice, meat on top, sprinkled with cheese, salsa, guacomole and sour cream.

Another thing we do with leftover rice is make fried rice. Heat up some vegetable oil and sesame oil in a frying pan, add the rice, frozen peas, a beaten egg and soy sauce and stir until the egg is cooked and the rice is heated through. You can also add chopped chicken, pork or steak to this the make it a "meal."

Milk Donor Mama said...

Soup is a good way to use up small amounts of leftover pasta, rice, and meats/veggies. Pizzas are also great for leftover veggies and meat. You can also add small amounts to an omelet or even a casserole. You can combine leftover spaghetti and leftover chili for chilimac.

erin said...

This week I barbecued chicken leg quarters on the grill. With the leftovers I pulled it off the bone & made barbecue chicken pizza. Yum!

Turtle said...

When we have leftover roast chicken, I'll make a chicken pot pie. I cheat and use the recipe on the bisquick box (and a bisquick crust), which my DH and son tell me is delicious. (I'm a vegetarian.) This works really well when I manage to cook the chicken too long! We rarely have leftover beef, but if we do I turn it into shepherd's pie with some frozen veggies and a mashed potato crust. And leftover noodles go into a tuna noodle casserole. Sometimes I think I learned to cook in the 50s. . . .

Katri said...

we precook all our meats and freeze them. we have individually packaged precooked hamburger and grilled chicken, so we microwave it, and throw it in the dish. this helps cut down on the leftovers!

Jenny M said...

An idea for reheating (if you're not a big micro fan)...reheat in the oven with a pan of water. The food is hot and more dried out rice or mashed potatoes!