May 01, 2020

It’s no secret that leftovers oftentimes end up getting forgotten. While you may be tempted to toss them in the trash before they get pushed back further and further into your refrigerator, keep in mind that leftovers are a great opportunity for a new meal or snack!

It can be daunting to have to make new meals every single night, especially when you want to ensure your family is eating healthily. These tips to repurpose your leftovers will revamp your mealtime routine and limit the amount of food you throw away. It’s a win-win for healthy eating!

If you have leftover veggies, there are some awesome ways to turn them into meals.

Soups
Chop up the veggies. Place them in a large pot, and cover them with chicken or vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes. Puree and season with salt and pepper.

Chef’s Note
Save the scraps of your cut-up veggies (the stems of mushrooms, ends of onions, corn cobs, tops of carrots, etc.) and place them in a gallon-size freezer bag. Once it’s full, place them in a pot covered with water or broth, and cook for an hour. Drain out the veggies for a flavorful veggie broth!

Salads
Cut up leftover veggies (like broccoli, asparagus, peppers, etc.) into bite-size pieces and put them into salads. Roasted veggies are great when warmed up, tossed with a little olive oil and your favorite vinegar, pureed, and used as a roasted veggie salad dressing.

Sandwiches
Almost any leftover is great on a sandwich. Add peppers, eggplant, and/or tomatoes with your favorite spread on some warm toast and leftover chicken. Voila! You have a nice lunch that’s all the flavor and half the effort.

Eggs
Adding leftover veggies to scrambled eggs is a great way to use them up! Place them in an omelet or make a tasty frittata.

With your leftover meats, the possibilities are endless. Here’s how to repurpose those protein-rich leftovers.

Soups, Stocks, and Broths
Add chunks of leftover meat to any soup or stew. Those leftover bones are great for making a nice bone broth or stock. Just cover with water, and don’t forget to add in some of those leftover veggies (like onions, carrot, and celery). Cook for 1–2 hours until the stock is flavorful. Drain and freeze the stock to use later.

Salads
Shred leftover chicken, beef, or pork into leafy salads for a flavorful yet balanced meal.

Sandwiches
Make sandwiches, simple lunch box tacos, nachos, or muffin tin tostadas.

Eggs
Bake leftover meats into a breakfast casserole, mix into an omelet, or wrap them into a breakfast burrito. If you have some leftover steak, it’s easy to turn it into simple steak and eggs!

With remaining beans and pasta, your choices for tasty leftover creations are limitless. Try these ways to repurpose those grains and legumes for everyone to enjoy.

Spreads
Looking for an alternative to mayo? Puree leftover beans with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and one of your favorite spices or herbs for a flavorful sandwich spread.

Soups
Leftover beans are great to add to soups! They provide a nice boost of protein and fiber. For a versatile soup recipe, use any beans you have on-hand and add in some leftover pasta or veggies.

Salads
Throw some leftover beans on a salad, mash up some white beans in your tuna salad, and pasta salads are always fun too. Chop up a few tomatoes, a little onion, olives, some shredded cheese, add the pasta, and toss in some olive oil and your favorite vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste for a delicious and easy lunch or even a fresh afternoon snack.


By: Chef Gary Appelsies, MS
Director of Healthy Eating

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