10 ways to use leftovers

National Nutrition Month comes to a close this week. If you missed any of my tips be sure to catch up on my Instagram. Most of my posts this month have discussed how I stretch my food, embrace kitchen staples, use leftovers, and more. At the beginning of the month I shared a meal planning tips post! This week I am putting more focus on freezer favorites, but I couldn't let the month end without sharing a topic near and dear to my heart: leftovers.

Growing up, my dad was a stickler about not wasting food. Often, I groaned about needing to eat leftovers hidden in the back of the fridge and I remember making weird faces at the concoctions my dad mixed together from his fridge search. Somewhere along the lines, it stuck. I have become a leftover maniac - perhaps to a fault. While I can tolerate weird combos of foods (thanks, dad) my SO can't always do that. In an effort be kinder to his tastes I have tried to use them in more creative ways. Today, I am sharing 10 ways to stretch your leftovers so you can use up the food in the fridge without feeling like you're eating the same thing day after day. I hope this helps you prevent food waste, and just get  bit more creative in the kitchen.

Food safety alert - the shelf life of leftovers varies. This government webpage has the details you need to know. I tend to stretch my leftovers longer than recommended because I recognize that I have no conditions that put my immune system at risk (pregnant, elderly, illness) and thats just how I was brought up. Don't be scared to freeze things if you can't get to them in the allotted time. 

  1. Pizza. Friday night pizza night at home is great way to save some dollars and clean out the fridge. Throw leftover veggies, greens, and/or protein sources on pizza (frozen or homemade) and you've got dinner. 
  2. Chicken salad. We eat a lot of chicken in this country. If you're using chicken in any recipe, cook extra that won't be used in the recipe. Cube or shred it and set it in the fridge. Use it to make a simple chicken salad to change up your meals.

  3. Soup. Most of us know this one! Leftover solo items like grains, greens, veggies, meat can make a great soup!

  4. Put an egg on it. Seriously - when in doubt, an egg will work. Throw an egg on top of most leftovers or if you have individual food items left (veggies, grains, etc) scramble them up with eggs. Don't forget the cheese!

  5. Stir Fry. Add rice and soy sauce to turn leftover veggies or protein into a meal.

  6. Flatbread. Using naan or pita you can use up leftover sauces, hummus, or other jarred items to make a creative meal.  Try hummus with feta cheese and olives or BBQ sauce with chicken.

  7. Quesadillas. There are few things a tortilla and some cheese can't do. Leftover proteins or veggies make a great quesadilla!

  8. Smoothie or juice. About to wilt greens can be thrown into a smoothie and almost mushy fruit and veg can be used to make a juice. Brown bananas? Dont even think about the trash! These make a great base for a smoothie!

  9. Pasta skillet. Use up meats, sauces, veggies, and cheese by sauteeing it all together with pasta of choice and olive oil. Mmm!

  10. Embrace the freezer! The freezer is the best kitchen tool. Those stews, chilis, soups, casseroles, bakes, muffins, you made this week can be saved by sticking them in the freezer to defrost at a later week. Do this before you get sick of it, and youll have meal prep ready in a pinch at a later time!


Love the freezer but not sure how to maximize it's use? Check out this post I did on freezer staples! Its a good one! Are you a leftover fanatic or a one meal and done kinda person? Share in the comments!