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5 Ideas For Making Meals out of Leftovers

There is nothing worse than throwing away leftovers at the end of the week. All that time and money going into the trash. What if you could find ways to use up your leftovers and make some delicious meals? Get creative and don’t be afraid to try new combinations!

Reusing Leftovers Will Save Money, Boost Flavor and Limit Waste

#1: Baked Potato Buffet

Sweet potatoes or russets make a great base. Then add your favorite toppings: roasted vegetables, cheese, beans or leftover chicken are super simple additions.

  • Pro Tip: Keep frozen vegetables and canned beans on hand. These are versatile ingredients, so stock up when they are on sale.

#2: Brinner

Yes, brinner – breakfast for dinner. Think French toast from day old bread, leftover veggies scrambled with eggs, or a fruit smoothie with egg tacos.

  • Pro Tip: Eggs are protein packed and cost effective. They can be enjoyed at any meal, so always keep some on hand.

#3: Soup

Have leftover chicken and roasted vegetables? Add some vegetable broth and noodles for a quick soup.  Have frozen spinach or kale?  Throw that in too!

  • Pro Tip: Soup is perfect to repurpose leftovers, always keep broth in the pantry. Better yet – make your own from a rotisserie chicken and freeze to enjoy later.

#4: Make a Stir Fry

Sauté your leftover protein, vegetables and rice on the stove in a bit of oil. Since everything is already cooked, it won’t take long.  Add some chili sauce and coconut aminos for some spice or even peanut butter for a unique twist.

  • Pro Tip: Keep sauces and seasonings on hand to easily transform any meal.

#5: Go to the Griddle

Grilled cheese sandwiches with spinach, grilled peanut butter and jelly, or grilled steak and blue cheese. Out of bread? No problem. Try tortillas, English muffins and even naan for a fun twist. Use what you have!

  • Pro Tip: Dining out? Cut your meat portion in half to enjoy at home the next day. Budget and waistline friendly.

Finding new uses for leftovers helps to save on the grocery bill. Keeping staples on hand like frozen vegetables, canned beans and sauces can make putting a meal together quick and easy.

Try planning for leftovers into your weekly meal plan. This ensures you will do your best to eat everything before it spoils. Happy Cooking!


Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE, IFNCP™
Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE, IFNCP™

Ellen Thomsen, MS, RD, LMNT, CDE is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist and Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner. She is the diabetes education program coordinator at CHI Health and sees patients at the Millard Clinic. She works with patients to identify root causes to health conditions and make changes to improve overall health. Ellen’s passion is to help others develop lifestyle habits that allow them to feel their best.

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