Innovative Ways to Reinvent Leftovers

Innovative Ways to Reinvent Leftovers Broccoli l
Photo Courtesy of Pexels – Keegan Evans

Some people refuse to eat leftovers and throw the remainder of what they cook into the trash.  I cannot abide waste, especially of good food when you can reinvent leftovers into completely fresh meal ideas that could fool even the most doubtful food wasters. In doing so, you will save money in your food budget and have an easier day of cooking since you’ll be merely assembling ingredients together. Here are a few ideas of what I like to do to reinvent leftovers.

Reinvent Leftovers of Cooked Meats, Poultry and Fish for a Variety of Fresh Meal Possibilities

Regarding meats like beef or pork, if you have a leftover roast to some round steak,  there is a lot that you can do. You can chop it up for casseroles, stews, pot pie, hash to grinding the meat for patties. Still, you can also add these leftovers to a main dish meat salad to a stuffing for vegetables.

Let me share an excellent easy ham casserole I make with you.   Those that are searching for some new chicken or turkey casseroles should check out my Cheesy Chicken Casserole or Easy Turkey Casserole.  Both are particular family favorites.  Here is another great casserole that you can use practically any meat in and it turns out delicious.

Meatloaf leftovers are no problem. They make excellent sandwiches the next day or cut into small pieces or crushed and thrown into spaghetti sauce.

Reuse Leftovers of Vegetables to Stretch and Economize Meal Planning

I try not to overestimate when using fresh vegetables, but I do often make more than needed especially mashed potatoes. What I love to do is to make my Mashed Potatoes-Cottage Cheese or Rice-Potato Dumplings, which are delicious especially topped with lots of fried onions, butter and some sour cream. This is so much more that you can do with leftover mashed potatoes. You can add leftover mashed potatoes to chocolate cakes, breads, potato doughnuts, lentil-mashed potato patties (a healthy alternative to a hamburger), soups, meat loaf, meat patties, quiches and pot pie fillings. All these things are just all the ideas that you can have for this one vegetable to reinvent mashed potatoes.

Any leftover cooked potatoes are perfect for adding to soups, chowders, stews or frying to making a cream sauce. Try also making croquettes sometimes because they are too good to be true.

Leftover carrots, corn, squash, green beans, peas, lima beans can sneak into stews, soups, omelets, pot pie fillings, stuffed vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes or a fresh filling and vegetable mix for squash like zucchini, butternut, etc. Another way to enjoy them is serving them with a cheese cream sauce alone or to pour over something fresh that you’re cooking such as chicken breasts to a casserole. You can also use leftover vegetables as a part of the filling in dinner crepes that you also use leftover chicken, ham, beef, pork, etc.

Leftover cooked oatmeal, cream of wheat cereal or any dry unsweetened cereal that may be too crumbly and fine to eat are easy enough to solve problems. My solution is saving what’s left of them for meatloaf, patties, sweet puddings to breads and cakes. No one ever suspects what I was doing in the process was to recreate leftovers.

You can also use any leftover unsweetened dry cereal as a part of a coffee cake topping. Mix this cereal with butter, flour, cinnamon, and the sugar for a delightful addition to that butter-sugar crumb topping.

Stale breads need never to go to waste because they have a world of possibilities just waiting for your creativity. French toast is one solution. If you want a delicious different twist to that French Toast option, I hope you try my Banana French Toast.

Bread puddings are another delectable way to use stale bread.

Why should you buy seasoned or plain bread crumbs to cook with or croutons when they are so simple to prepare at home, not to mention all the extra money that you might be able to put to better use?

To make your own bread crumbs, put the slices on a cookie sheet and dry them out before pulverizing them in the food processor. You can just add some of favorite herbs to that mix and you have seasoned bread crumbs to work with.

Plain, dried bread crumbs are wonderful for stretching meat loaves, patties, casseroles to toppings for your coffee cakes and puddings.

How many times have you needed just egg yolks or whites for your recipe? This always leaves you a container of the other half of those remaining eggs. Needless to say, you might be wondering what else you can do when this happens to you next time?

What I do when I have leftover egg yolks is save them for cornstarch puddings. My Banana Cream or Vanilla Cream Puddings to cream pie fillings are easy saves to reinvent leftovers.

You also use leftover yolks or whites in scrambled eggs, cakes to breads and no one will be any wiser to the change.

Egg whites can be also saved for making meringues and souffles as well.

My feeling is if the food is still good, you don’t have to waste it. Food is too expensive to treat it with little regard when all that you need to do is work the ingredients into interesting new ways to reinvent leftovers. When you learn to use your leftovers in tasty new recipes, you will be that much wiser, richer and doing more to save the planet than before.

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  1. ellen beck
    August 18, 2018 / 7:35 pm

    I am the leftover queen I swear. You have all the bases covered too! I often save things and will be able to make lunches especially out of them. I go a case of chickens ( at a crazy low price) I have been cutting all the wings off and will be making wings of course with them all. Years ago, no one even wanted the wing! Now wings if you buy them are outrageous!

    • nuts4stuff
      August 19, 2018 / 6:06 am

      You sound just like me!

  2. Lynne B
    December 2, 2018 / 6:49 pm

    I agree with you about food not going to waste if it’s still good. I’m lucky because my husband loves leftovers. Stir fries are my typical go-to with leftovers.

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