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13 Creative Ways to Use Leftovers

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Right now everyone is trying to shelter in place at home and make the most of what they have on hand. I have gathered up some creative ways to use leftovers to make sure that food isn’t going to waste during this time.

13 Creative Ways to Use Leftovers - Reduce food waste by turning your #leftovers into new meals!

These recipes include ways to make the most of a roast chicken, my favorite way to eat leftover pizza, and the most fun way to repurpose leftover spaghetti.

Creative Ways to Use Leftovers

1. Bacon Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese

Have some leftover burgers? Chop them up and use them to make this incredible macaroni and cheese.

2. Pizza for Breakfast

Add a sunny side up egg to a slice of pizza and you have breakfast. The best way to reheat pizza is to put it in a covered skillet. You can cook the egg in the skillet right beside the pizza.

3. Spaghetti Grilled Cheese

This glorious food mash-up is such a fun way to serve leftover spaghetti. It’s made with homemade garlic bread and held together with mozzarella.

Ever wondered how to make risotto? Today I will teach you how to make risotto with these detailed step by step instructions. I first learned to make risotto a few years ago, and now it is one of my go-to meals.

4. Risotto

I know, I won’t stop talking about risotto, but it is a great pantry meal that feels a little bit fancy. The basic ingredients for risotto are broth and rice, but you can add in some leftover chicken, any veggies you have on hand (I bet you can find some frozen peas or spinach in your freezer), and cheese. If you have a little bit of several ingredients – this is a fun way to use them up. And if you have any leftover risotto – turn it into arancini.

Italian Vegetable Soup with Parmesan Dumplings | This hearty Italian Vegetable Soup with Dumplings is an easy recipe and a delicious way to eat more vegetables. It's filled with tomatoes, zucchini, beans, and swiss chard.

5. Make Soup

Soup is the ultimate leftovers meal; it’s a way to make sure that nothing goes to waste. First, I use chicken bones to make chicken stock. I also add any extra gravy to the broth – it adds an extra boost of flavor! My Italian Vegetable Soup with Dumplings is pictured above. Some of my other favorite soup recipes are ribollita, tortilla soup, Thai curry noodle soup, and turkey soup.

Another great soup recipe that uses up leftovers is my Dad’s Ham and Pea Soup. He always makes it after Easter with the ham bone and leftover ham.

Rainbow Roasted Vegetable Sandwich | A wholesome meal made with roasted vegetables, edamame, and whipped feta.

6. Make a Sandwich with Roasted Vegetables and Hummus

Roasted vegetables and hummus are delicious additions to sandwiches.

Crispy Chicken and Superfood Salads | These superfood salad bowls are a delicious way to eat your veggies. Spinach is topped with beets, butternuts squash, goat cheese, black rice, and crispy chicken - then drizzled with ranch dressing.

7. Salads

If you have a bit of leftover meat, vegetables, cheese, rice, or quinoa – use it to make a salad! If you have chicken, rice, and a roasted vegetable for dinner you can easily repurpose leftovers to create lunches. Depending on the amount of leftovers you have you might want to go into meal prep mode and make lunches for the week. Some favorites are my crispy chicken and superfood salad (pictured above), chicken sweet potato, and kale bowls, southwest chicken salad, and spinach salad.

8. Eggs in Purgatory

Cook eggs in leftover tomato sauce – it’s such a great breakfast! I like to add some mozzarella and to serve with garlic bread.

Buffalo Chicken Loaded Baked Potato Recipe

9. Make Buffalo Chicken

If you have leftover chicken, shred it up and make buffalo chicken. Or, you can easily make a big batch of buffalo chicken in a slow cooker. Once you have buffalo chicken you can make buffalo chicken dip, buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese, a buffalo chicken grits bowl, a buffalo chicken quinoa salad bowl, buffalo chicken enchiladas, buffalo chicken baked potatoes, and more.

10. Chilaquiles

You know that jar of salsa in your cupboard and that half bag of tortilla chips? It’s time to use them. Chilaquiles are a quick and easy breakfast that you can make with salsa, tortilla chips and any tomatoes, beans, corn, avocado, and cheese you have at home.

Mexican Lasagna square

11. Mexican Lasagna or Taco Pie

Have leftovers from taco night? You can use them to make Mexican Lasagna or Taco Pie! Just layer shredded chicken or ground beef with tortillas, beans, cheese, and salsa.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread Pudding combines custardy bread pudding and chocolate chip cookies. It tastes like a combination of cake, pudding, and chocolate chip cookies.

12. Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread Pudding

Have day old bread? Turn it into chocolate chip cookie bread pudding.

Puff Pastry Breakfast Tarts square 4

13. Puff Pastry Breakfast Tarts

Perhaps you have some puff pastry dough in your freezer? Use it to make these super easy breakfast tarts. You can add any cheese and vegetables you have on hand.

If you know of any other creative ways to use leftovers please share them in the comments!

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