Over 40% of all food in the US goes to waste. It’s bad for both our wallets and the environment. It’s usually due to the fact that when a meal is done, most people place the leftovers in the refrigerator and forget about it. But the truth is, there are many ways to still make that food taste great.
Leftovers are a versatile meal that can be turned into an entirely different meal — one you probably would never have known about.
Learning how to get more value out of your leftovers is a great way to cut back on food waste and save some money at the same time. Check these recipes out to get your creative juices flowing while savoring the joy of eating some delicious food!
Cooked vegetables make a great addition to cold or room temperature salads. You can use them as a topping or mix them in with other ingredients. Some examples include potato salad, coleslaw and pasta salad.
Smoothies are also another great way to use up leftover vegetables. Add them with beans and grains to your favorite smoothie recipe to amp up the nutrition.
Vegetable broth is also one of the easiest ways to use up leftovers because you can make it with any kind of vegetable that’s going bad in your refrigerator. Just add some herbs and spices, and you have a healthy meal that will last all week long!
Leftover Meat as a Topping for Pasta Dishes
If there’s any pasta left over from the night before, consider adding it as a topping for future meals like macaroni and cheese or lasagna. It’s quick and easy and adds a nice bit of variety to your meals without much work involved at all!
Rice Up Your Soup and Enchilada
Make a pot of soup and then add leftover rice to it. This works especially well with soups that have meat or beans in them since the rice will soak up those flavors. It also gives you another serving of protein, which is always welcome!
Leftover rice can also be used as an enchilada filling by mixing it with cheese, salsa and other ingredients and then rolling it up in tortillas with some canned green chilies for added flavor. You could also make burritos or quesadillas using this method, depending on what else you have on hand.
Simply dice the cooked potato into small cubes and pan fry them in butter or olive oil until browned and crispy on all sides.
The same goes for sweet potatoes. Just cut them into smaller pieces than you would for mashed sweet potatoes, and roast them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until soft. Then serve them with more butter or brown sugar.
If you have leftover pizza, don’t throw it away. Reheat it and use it as the base for an omelet or frittata. Top with your favorite vegetables and cheese, then fold it up and cut into wedges or slices.
Cheese is one of the easiest things to use up. For example, if you have leftover grilled cheese sandwiches, toss them with some cooked pasta and sauce for a quick and filling meal. Or make nachos with the cheese and other toppings from last night’s pizza.
If you have leftover bread, it can be turned into French toast or bread pudding by adding some eggs and milk or cream. You can also make croutons or breadcrumbs by drying out slices of bread in the oven or in a skillet on the stovetop.
If you’re like most Americans, you probably waste a lot of food each year. But it’s possible that you could address this problem by tackling your meal planning head on. Hopefully you can use up any leftovers on hand, and here are some other ideas to use them. Don’t leave any ingredient behind, and work to make sure that nothing goes to waste!
Bea is a copywriter specializing in adept research and creating all kinds of content. She’s all about getting creative, developing relationships, and contributing to making businesses succeed through her writing.
When she’s not writing (professionally), you can see her binge-watching RuPaul’s Drag Race or writing film reviews on Letterboxd.