Food is expensive, so you don’t want to waste it, but if you’re a small family, or you make too much by accident, you may want to use the leftovers in something else in the future. Sometimes the meal was so good you just want to leave it as is for tomorrow’s lunch (think meatloaf sandwiches!), but other times you may want to creatively use the leftovers for something else. Here are some ideas for using up your leftover food!
Plain chicken can be used in so many different ways. If you made a whole chicken, you can reuse the leftovers by removing the pieces from the bone and making soup. Boil the bones to make your own chicken stock, or, for an easier method, remove the meat from the bone and use boxed chicken stock to make soup. You can also use the chicken in a salad, like Chicken Caesar Salad, or in a casserole, or for Chicken Quesadillas another day. It also freezes well, so if you just want to remove the chicken from the bone and freeze it, you’ll have it ready for whenever you want to have it again. Of course you can also implement any of the above ideas with boneless skinless chicken leftovers too.
Leftover veggies are also great in soups and casseroles. A few other ideas include adding a cheese sauce to broccoli or cauliflower, adding meat to make a stir fry (think about using that leftover chicken), or using in a salad.
Leftover pasta makes a quick pasta salad with mayo and tuna, or with Italian dressing, cheese, and olives. You can also add a scampi sauce to it, stir fry it, make fried spaghetti, or spaghetti casserole.
Leftover pasta sauce
You can freeze leftover pasta sauce for later use, and then use it on homemade pizzas, in lasagnas, ziti dishes, meatball parmesan, eggplant parmesan, or even just on spaghetti the next time.
Leftover gravy can be used the next day on open faced sandwiches. This is a favorite idea around Thanksgiving, when there is both turkey and gravy left over. Also, consider thinning out homemade gravy with water and making a cream of chicken or cream of turkey soup.
If you’ve cooked too many hamburgers (or overcooked them), you can easily chop them up and tempt your taste buds by using them in chili, meat sauce, homemade hamburger helper, and as taco meat or sloppy joes.
All it takes is a little bit of imagination to be creative with leftovers. Remember what your mother told you years ago – there are people starving all over the world and they would be happy to eat your leftovers! Now, you can be happy to have them too!
Do you have any ideas for using leftover food? Let us know your favorite way to use up leftovers.