Delicious ways to use up leftovers

There is nothing quite like the joy of cooking a meal at home. You put in the time and effort to get the food just right and then get to savor the flavors. For some home cooks, the true joy comes from seeing the satisfied looks on the faces of loved ones or guests. 

The only problem is those pesky leftovers. No matter how much or little you prepare, there always seems to be a little of something left in the bottom of a bowl or two. You put those leftovers in storage containers and either freeze or put in the fridge. Then what? Then you get creative and use those leftovers! 

Soups/stews

Some of the best soups and stews can come from leftover veggies and meats. The best time for “play it again” (use of leftovers) soups and stews is in the colder months. This is the time of year when hearty meals really hit the spot. Just the smell of a soup or stew simmering in the pot all day is enough make anyone happy. 

The seasoning on leftover veggies can add a special flavor to almost any vegetable based soup or stew. The types of meats you can use are endless. Some examples include seasoned ground beef, steak cut into bite-sized chunks, pork chops cut up and even fish or other seafood. Leftover chicken and turkey can make wonderful soups also. 

Stir fry

Once again leftovers can create a lovely dish in the way of stir fry. Leftover rice, meats like chicken, pork or beef and veggies can all be tossed into the pan with some soy or teriyaki sauce and simmered to perfection. One idea is to put your finished stir fry into tortillas and enjoy. 

Stir fries are great because of the relatively short prep time and the smell will make anyone hungry! This dish is so easy to make and is great reheated. It travels well in lunches too. 

Omelets

This could quite possibly be the perfect place to use certain leftovers. You can put just about anything into an omelet. For example leftover meatloaf, cut up into bite sized pieces. It might sound strange, but give it a try; you could be pleasantly surprised.

Other leftovers to try in an omelet include veggies, meats and sauces. The sauces are great to reheat and pour over the finished omelet. Leftover gravy is an excellent omelet topper. Omelets are not just for breakfast any more.

Casseroles

Pick out your favorite casserole recipe and start substituting with the leftovers you have. A delicious casserole can be made from a wide variety of leftovers, including pastas, seafood, ground beef, and even mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes make a tasty topping for the casserole. One suggestion is to tie the ingredients together by blending with a cream soup or pasta sauce of your choice. You can also use gravy. 

The nice thing about using leftovers as the ingredients for your casserole is that you only have to put it in the oven long enough to heat through. You may want to allow the top to brown slightly also. This usually takes about thirty minutes at 350 degrees. 

Leftovers have such great potential to become part of yet another fantastic dish. From soups to casseroles, leftovers have so much to offer. The mixing of herbs and spices and natural flavors is part of what cooking is all about!

You never know, something you create out of leftovers just might become a family/friends’ favorite. Never again do those delectable leftovers have to live a sad existence in the fridge until being tossed in the garbage. The next time you are in the mood to whip up something in the kitchen, don’t forget to grab the leftovers.  

Posted in Cooking