Thursday, June 9, 2011

What to do with Leftovers – Share Your Ideas With Me!

Now that we have moved and are getting settled into our family routine again, we are back on our grocery budget.  I am also back to being in charge of my kitchen!  Sweeeeet. :)

When we were living with my parents, someone in the house (who shall remain nameless ;) hated leftovers – so a lot of food tended to go to waste.  Now that we’re back to just the 3 of us, Chris and I are all about using what we have.  The creativity part usually falls to me, since I’m the one that cooks. :) 

To be honest, I kinda like the challenge for my brain.  When I know I have some things that are close to going bad, I’ll make a list on the outside of the fridge as a visual reminder before I even open the door.  I don’t know about you guys, but our fridge can totally be like a giant black hole sometimes – so a list helps me to avoid the “When the heck did I buy this super-creepy-looking food item?” factor. :)

I thought I’d share some ways that I use leftovers, and I’d love it if you’d share any clever things you do in the comments!  If you’ve been here a while, you know that I’m all about trying to be thrifty and creative.  ;)

Some ideas for you (that work for me):

- Berries: smoothies, pies, cobblers, topping for ice cream or yogurt

- Apples: crisps, pies, apple cake, topping for oatmeal, stove-top applesauce

- Bananas: topping for oatmeal, freeze for banana breads and muffins (also for this pie which I am going to make soon – I forgot that my food processor broke right before we moved!)

- Random veggies but no lettuce: mix with feta or parmesan and a simple vinaigrette for a side dish OR use in an omelet for breakfast (depending on the type of veggies, obviously) OR make a veggie pizza out of it

- Lettuce (not enough for salad): use for taco topping or in a sandwich

- Bread: pulse for bread crumbs, or make croutons if the bread is thick enough

- Eggs: hardboil or make into egg salad (or just suck it up and make chocolate chip cookies….lol)

- Meat: can be made into panini-type sandwiches.  I got this idea originally from a Rachael Ray recipe.  Hers uses crusty French bread and a beef broth and shallot sauce.  It’s delicious, but it also gave me the jumpstart to do this with leftover meat. 

So if I have a roast that we have extra slices of, I’ll just stop by the deli, pick up some Pepper Jack cheese, put buttered bread on my George Foreman grill, add the cheese and meat, and voila.  YUM.  We actually had this last night! :) Dip it in a little hot sauce and it’s seriously awesome.


mostly blog pics june 016

One last tip: You can always have a potluck-style meal, as well, where maybe everyone has just a few bites of several different items. 

Hopefully this list got your creative juices flowing!  I’m sure I’ll think of a ton more things as soon as I finish typing this, but that’s all I have at the moment.  Okay, now please share: what are your best ideas for re-using food? Please let me know in the comments! 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :)

Linked to:

Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom


  1. To resolve the "when did I open this?" just keep a Sharpie on your fridge and write the date on the jar or package. I used to only write the day but now I do month/day just bcs some condiments last longer than a month. Most of my jars have dates on them. :o)
    As for recipe creativity... I'm not good at that one! But I am a saver too.

  2. Another great way to use frozen bananas in the summer is to process them in the food processor. It makes them into something just like soft serve!

  3. I love your idea of a list of things that get put in the fridge. Often I will put leftovers in the fridge, but forget what is there, and there are days where I'm looking for something quick and simple to eat at lunch. This is a good way to remember what is in there, and when it was put in... thanks for the suggestion.

    As for leftovers, a lot of times we will save things for a special night and then pull out what each of us wants. Its a great way to have our favs over again, and makes an easy night of cooking for me!

  4. I never buy anything for my lunch at school...because I always eat leftovers! When I have extra leftovers (more than I can eat in a week)I'll freeze it in small glass I can have lunch on days when there are no leftovers.

    I make just about everything from scratch, so it. takes. forever. So leftovers are my FAVORITE!! I love to actually plan to use leftovers so I have an easy night of cooking.

    I'll bake a whole chicken and we'll eat that with baked veggies on one night....and the next night I'll pick the leftover meat off the bone and make a Broccoli Chicken Casserole.

    I just made a no-noodle zucchini lasagna (soo good!) from scratch and it fed the 2 of us for 2 nights and me for 2 lunches!

    sorry...I wrote a book!!


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