11 Ways to Use Up Leftovers

One of the things that we get really practiced at during a down financial month or during a pantry challenge is eating up leftovers. It’s one way to fill the tummy without having to cook or spend money. I consider leftovers “free” in a sense, since the ingredients were originally destined for another meal and “should have” been eaten up.

Some leftovers are worth fighting over. My husband and I divide these Poblano Enchiladas even-Steven. No cheating, unless some bartering is involved. They are that good.

Other times, you might not have enough leftovers to feed the family, but you want to make sure they don’t go to waste. That’s when you need to think creatively about what to do with them. Leftover, cooked food, properly refrigerated, is good for four days. There’s nothing wrong with giving it new life in a new dish.

And, no, I’m not talking about Gramma’s Mystery Meatloaf.

One night last week we had grilled chicken, quinoa, and a salad. The first night, I enjoyed these items separately. The second day, I combined them for a fabulous lunchtime salad. The flavors were different the second day since all the components were chilled and tossed in vinaigrette. It was a great way to use up what we had and enjoy a great lunch in the process.

Here are ways to use up leftovers that retain the integrity of the ingredients, stretch your supplies, and help you avoid waste. You’ll eat well, too, which is the whole point, right?

The following are great ideas for using leftover cooked meats and vegetables, preferably without sauces.

  1. Reheat and eat.
  2. Make an omelet.
  3. Make Stone Soup.
  4. Make fried rice.
  5. Top a pizza.
  6. Fill a sandwich or panini.
  7. Make a salad.
  8. Fold into a quesadilla.
  9. Make a potpie.
  10. Wrap in a burrito.
  11. Freeze it to use later. Just be sure to label it with the contents and date.