What I'm Loving: Creative Use of Leftovers

Our household meal plans every week so we usually know how much of each dish we're going to have. That means we know if a dinner is going to give us lunch portions or freezable second meals. Sometimes, however, we make a bit more of an ingredient than we need or we have to use less of something we bought. That means we have unexpected leftovers. I see it as a challenge to use these up before they go bad and, oftentimes, the results are rather tasty.

Last week, we had roasted potatoes as a side dish. The bag of baby potatoes was bigger than planned which left us with a cup or so of leftovers. Sure, I could have eaten these as a small snack, but I ended up using them in a lunch. We happened to have tortillas and shredded cheese on hand. Throw in a few scrambled eggs and - BAM - you've got a tasty breakfast burrito for lunch. It was delicious and filling.

Earlier this winter I was craving soup. I also knew we had the remnants of a bag of spinach and some carrots that needed to be eaten. Our pantry is currently home to a small stash of ramen noodles that I purchased for a lo mein dish months ago. I combined all the ingredients (with the dregs of a bag of frozen peas) to make a filling souped up ramen noodles.

One more example of how leftovers can be put to good use is after a party. When we host the Superbowl, we're always left with some containers of chili. Normally, we freeze a bunch for a quick dinner down the road. This time, we grabbed some hot dogs from the freezer and some leftover cheese and made chili cheese dogs. It's all the fun of fast food with none of the cost.

Aside from making delicious meals, I love that being creative with leftovers both clears out my fridge and saves me from tossing edible items in the garbage. I can't stand food waste so I will always try to find a way to eat up what's left. It's a chance to be creative in the kitchen and save a bit of money instead of grabbing new something from the store.

What's your favorite leftover trick?