When dinner was great but you made too much, you find yourself wondering what to do with the leftovers. Too often these delicious morsels are left to ruin in plastic containers at the back of the fridge.
Tossing them on the compost pile is better than tossing them in the garbage, but we think giving leftovers a second life as a meal for your family is the optimal choice.
Here are six meals made from leftovers that will reduce food waste and please your palate
If you like omelets, you’ll love frittatas. Traditionally, frittatas are made with a mix of eggs, veggies and cheese baked in an oven-safe skillet. We like the idea of making frittatas in a muffin tin for portion control and easy eating on the go. Take leftover veggies, meat or even pasta, mix in whisked eggs (enough to cover the add-ins) and top with a little parmesan or cheddar cheese before baking.
For quite some time, people have been making a little go a long way with soup. Boiling a leftover roasted chicken can give you a nice broth if you don’t have any in the pantry. All you need to do from there is throw in leftover meats and vegetables. You can add more heft with a cup of dried beans, rice or noodles. If the leftovers don’t add enough seasoning, feel free to add whatever your family prefers.
Give us this day our daily bread, and we’ll put something yummy between two slices for lunch. Try putting leftover meatloaf between two slices of toasted Italian bread for a hearty new meal. Leftover chicken can become a chicken salad sandwich. Sautéed mushrooms and onions that topped steak last night can transform a grilled cheese into a gourmet treat.
Fritters come in a variety of forms. Some people dip veggies in cornmeal batter and fry them. Others form little pancakes from cornmeal or flour batter. Either way, they are a great way to get yourself an appetizer, snack or main. We love taking chopped zucchini or other veggies, mixing them with flour and eggs, forming patties, and frying in a little olive oil. Paired with a salad, it makes for a delightful lunch.
When it comes to working those leftovers to your advantage, tortillas are your friend. Whether you’re dealing with meats like chicken, steak and fish or need something to do with a bowl of rice and beans, quesadillas are an easy way out of an overstuffed fridge. Wrap your leftovers in a tortilla, add a generous amount of a melty cheese like Colby or Monterey Jack, and toast on the stove top (or the oven if you don’t like flipping).
The casserole didn’t become the star of 1950s home cooking for no reason. Casseroles are quick to make, easy to bake and don’t require a lot of fancy ingredients. If broccoli and rice were sides on Wednesday, they can become the main event on Thursday with nothing more than a little cream of mushroom soup, cheese and 15 to 20 minutes in the oven. The best thing is that casseroles leave a lot of room to play with a variety of ingredients and flavors, so feel free to experiment and come up with your own future famous recipe.