A recipe calls for a smidgen of an ingredient, leaving you with a lot of excess. What do you do with what's left? You read these tips.
Every single home cook has encountered the following scenario: A recipe calls for a small amount of a certain ingredient. So you go to the grocery, where they only sell larger quantities of the item. You go home, you chop up the thing, you use what little bit the recipe calls for...and now you have a whole lot of an ingredient you're not sure what to do with. Inevitably, the excess ends up in the trash can.
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It happens. But before you go and toss the excess in the trash just because you're unsure how to use it, consult the helpful tips below. We sourced them directly from the Cooking Light Diet Community, where members of the Cooking Light Diet meal-planning service help each other solve problems like this all the time.
Here are 8 ways you can use up leftover ingredients before throwing them away. Your planet—and your wallet—will thank you.
Go With Dry Herbs
You know the drill: A recipe calls for a teeny amount of cilantro, basil, thyme, or some other herb. You'll buy one of those little packages of fresh herbs, cut up a little bit, and then end up tossing the rest after it browns and wilts in your crisper drawer. So what about buying dried herbs instead? No, they don't taste as fresh, but you can put the surplus back in the pantry for the next time you make that recipe. Alternatively, you could start a mini herb garden and grow your own, clipping off whatever you need when you need it.
Use the Scraps to Grow More
Instead of throwing away vegetable scraps, consider using them to grow more vegetables. Cooking Light Diet member Patricia Reidy Lawrence said she places her excess green onions in water, like flowers in a vase, and they'll keep growing, giving her more for later. There are actually several different types of vegetables you can regrow from scraps, so keep that in mind the next time you're using one of these in a recipe.
Hakuna Frittata It
Give us your tomato scraps, your leftover onions, your tiny bits of gourmet cheeses—all the things that would make for a tasty scramble. Seriously, your extra bits of herbs and veggies can make a regular breakfast (or brinner) a superb one, courtesy of leftover shallots, herbs, and whatever else is languishing at the bottom of your produce drawer.
Freezing: It's Your Friend
The freezer is there for a reason, friends. Use it! Whether it's tomato paste (more on that in a minute), tortillas, onions, ginger root, meats, or even cheeses, you can tuck those excess ingredients into your freezer and keep them there until you need them. Pro tip: Keep a running list of excess freezer items on your fridge so you'll know exactly what's been in there and for how long. That way you can A) Limit your food waste, and B) Use up the leftovers and save yourself money on the next grocery run.
Think outside your normal ingredient box: If a recipe calls for canned tomato paste, consider buying the tubed variety instead. According to multiple Cooking Light Diet members, it tastes the same as the canned stuff but keeps infinitely longer since you can just screw the cap back on and stick the rest in the freezer. Instead of buying a whole squash or vegetable when you only need X amount, consider buying precut. The yield will likely be less than purchasing several whole veggies/fruits, and if there are any scraps left you can throw them into that frittata you're slowly building.
Stone Soup It Up
If you're not familiar with the folk tale, Stone Soup tells of a stranger who wanders into an unfriendly town and, little by little, brings the townspeople together over the promise of "stone soup:" a hodgepodge of ingredients the stranger gets the townsfolk to contribute. The end result is a delicious soup made all the better by the ingredients each curious person adds to the pot. In essence, you can do the same with your leftover ingredients. Whether you choose to just dump your excess scraps into a soup recipe you're already making (after all, a little extra herb or veggie won't hurt) or start with a stock base and concoct a build-your-own soup recipe, you're saving money by not throwing away ingredients you normally would. Just don't forget the stone.
Use It Up
As alluded to in the previous tip, if a recipe calls for 3/4 cup of onion and you find yourself with an extra couple tablespoons, just throw it in the pot! Using a little bit more of a certain ingredient (disregard where spices are involved) shouldn't throw the yield completely off kilter, nor will it drastically change the flavor of the recipe. So the next time you're stuck with scraps, just throw them in and be done with it.
Ice Cube it (Make Today a Good Day)
annick vanderschelden photograph/Getty Images
Did you know that ice cube trays can be used to make more than just ice? Crazy, right? It's the little things, folks... But seriously, any and all excess liquids—broths, stocks, brines—can be portioned out into ice cube trays and stuck in the freezer. Cooking Light Diet member Nikki Morgan says all her leftover non-solids go into ice cube trays, and we're with her in believing it's a great way to minimize your food waste and keep ingredients for when you'll need them again.
7 Ways to Use Leftover Vegetables
It's a common problem: you only need a cup of diced butternut squash, half a tomato, or a handful of spinach, but veggies often aren't sold that way in the grocery store. After making a few recipes, you may also end up with half an onion, a few Brussels sprouts, and a broccoli stem. What now?
Don't throw those veggie odds and ends in the trash. Give them new life by tossing them into one of the following dishes. It's easy to mix and match, so you can use up every bit of leftover vegetable without getting bored.
What to do with Leftover Chicken?
If your family enjoys roast chicken, you’ve probably found yourself wondering what to do with the leftovers. All too often, leftovers can sit in the refrigerator while we figure out what to do with them, and before long they’ve started to look a bit sad and unappetising, and we end up guiltily scraping them into the trash, trying not to think about global food waste and its impact on the environment.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. After all, there are tonnes of online recipes for leftover turkey to help you make the most of your Christmas or Thanksgiving roast. So if you’re looking for quick and easy ways to make a meal of your leftover chicken, take a look at our mouthwatering selection of recipes, designed to help you reduce waste, help the planet, and save money on groceries in the process.
Greek Chicken Grain Bowls:
One of the great things about chicken is that it goes with so many things, so you can do something completely different with your leftovers to keep things interesting. This healthy grain bowl from The Kitchn is the perfect light lunch for the day after a big roast. Full of fresh, crunchy salad and quinoa grains, with salty olives, creamy feta sauce, and those tasty chicken leftovers, this dish will tempt your tastebuds and make you feel virtuous at the same time.
Chicken Fried Rice:
Use up your leftover veggies too with this flavourful and satisfying Asian-inspired dish, also from The Kitchn. Perfectly-cooked, eggy, crispy rice, with aromatic ginger, sesame oil and soy, savoury chicken and the sweet crunch of a rainbow of bite-sized vegetables.
Honey-Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry:
A deliciously simple midweek meal, our third recipe from The Kitchn takes just 30 minutes including prep time. Made with fresh broccoli and sweet peppers, and drizzled with a savoury-sweet honey and garlic sauce, this dish is sure to be a hit with the whole family.
Chicken Mac and Cheese:
The ultimate comfort food, this rich and creamy Mac and cheese recipe from Jo Cooks can be adapted to whatever you happen to have in the fridge. If you only have a little chicken, the cheddar and mozzarella sauce is strong enough that it will still pack a punch flavour-wise, and it’s also perfect for hiding extra veggies from your kids.
Chicken Noodle Soup:
This chicken noodle soup from Averie Cooks is like a hug in a bowl. Packed with goodness and flavour, this quick, 30-minute soup is made from an aromatic base of celery, onion and carrot, with a delicious herby chicken broth, egg noodles and strips of chicken.
BBQ Chicken Quesadilla:
Give your chicken leftovers a Mexican makeover with this easy cheesy recipe from Meatloaf and Melodrama. With a total cook and prep time of just 15 minutes, they’re perfect for a busy weekday meal.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers:
A simple and tasty recipe from Taste of Home, these yummy stuffed peppers are packed full of tasty chicken and rice, and topped with cheese and enchilada sauce. They need just 20 minutes prep time, then you can leave them in the slow cooker while you get on with your day.
General Tso's Stew:
This flavourful stew from Taste of Home is bursting with Asian flavours, with a spicy tomato broth made with hoisin sauce, soy, and red chilli flakes. The recipe also works with other leftover meats like turkey or pork.
Chicken Potpie Galette with Cheddar-Thyme Crust:
All the flavours of a comforting, home-cooked pot pie in a French-style galette, with a golden cheese and herb crust. Made with chicken and vegetables in a delicious chicken and herb gravy, this recipe from Taste of Home really does deliver that made-with-love taste of home cooked food.
This Italian inspired bread salad from Southern Living makes simple, quality ingredients the star. A fresh vegetable salad, chicken, and chunks of rustic granary bread, all tossed in a tomato seed and mustard vinaigrette and left for 15 minutes for the bread to soak up all those delicious juices.
Roast chicken and asparagus soufflé omelette:
This 15-minute recipe idea from Delicious gives the simple omelette a gourmet twist, with spring asparagus, chicken, and sharp cheddar. The perfect light lunch or supper.
Chicken and mushroom pasta bake:
Chicken and mushroom is always a winning combination, and this creamy pasta bake from Delicious is a real crowd pleaser. This is another dish where you can use leftover veggies as well as your chicken - the recipe calls for baby spinach and petit pois, but any green vegetables work well.
Chicken, spinach and ricotta cannelloni:
An Italian classic from Delicious, this midweek meal for two is rich and comforting, and so easy to make. Pasta tubes stuffed with a chicken, ricotta and herb mixture, smothered in a tasty tomato sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan, then baked in the oven until golden and bubbling.
Chicken Alfredo Lasagna:
This lasagna dish from Taste of Home is a variation on another Italian favourite, replacing the classic beef filling for cooked chicken and salty prosciutto ham.
Chicken and Fontina Panini:
Treat yourself to the ultimate gourmet sandwich with this irresistible creation from Southern Living. Made with ciabatta bread, chicken, fresh tomatoes and fontina cheese, and heated in a panini press until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted and oozing out of the sides.
With these recipes to hand, you need never throw out your leftover chicken again. And there are plenty of recipes out there to help use up your other leftovers, too. Do your bit to help combat food waste with these mouthwatering gourmet dishes you can make with leftovers.
Plan your weekly menu and only buy what you need. Meal planning is one of the best ways to ensure that there are no leftover fruits and vegetables that need to be used up.
Do you need additional help with meal planning? Budget Bytes has easy, healthy meal ideas, all using inexpensive ingredients. Pick some recipes, add the ingredients to your grocery list, and you&rsquoll be shopping smarter in no time.
If you really can&rsquot handle managing a larger amount of fresh produce, no worries. Choose the frozen and canned produce options. Not only do they tend to be less expensive, but they will also keep for a much longer time.
What&rsquos your best tip for using up leftover fruits and vegetables? Did I cover it above?
Zero-waste zucchini bread
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 2 medium loaves
prepping the zucchini guts:
2 pounds of zucchini guts (from 1 batch of dolm’it koosa) *
1/2 teaspoon salt
baking the zucchini bread:
2 cups wrung-out grated zucchini
1 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
- Prepping the zucchini guts: Grate the zucchini using a food processor’s grater attachment. If you don’t have a food processor, very thinly slice the zucchini guts and then coarsely chop the thin slices (it’s very hard to grate these by hand with a box grater).
- Combine the zucchini with the 1/2 teaspoon salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, let the water drain away and then wring the zucchini out using your hands or a clean kitchen towel. Once all is said and done, you should have about 2 cups of wrung-out, grated zucchini (a little more or less is just fine).
- Baking the zucchini bread: Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Butter 2 8ࡪ inch loaf pans. **
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the wrung-out zucchini, olive oil, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, and salt, and whisk together until the whole thing is completely incorporated.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, walnuts, and raisins.
- Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Do not over-mix (stop mixing as soon as there are no large lumps of flour).
- Divide the mixture evenly between the loaf pans.
- Bake for about 1 hour. Start checking for doneness after about 50 minutes, by inserting a toothpick or wooden skewer into the center of the loaf. If it comes out with batter, it needs more time, but if it comes out with just some crumbs, it’s ready to take out.
- Remove from the pan and cool on a rack or clean, unscented kitchen towel for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
* The idea with this recipe is to use the guts of the zucchini left over from making dolma, but you can of course just use 2 pounds of whole zucchini. The amount of guts left over from one batch of my dolm’it koosa should be exactly enough for this recipe (assuming you core them thinly enough).
** If your pan isn’t nonstick (or is very scratched-up nonstick), make parchment slings for easy removal (butter the pan, place the sling, and add more butter to the parchment). Simply trace a butter knife around the bare sides and lift it out with the parchment flaps.
Keeping Fish and Leftover Fish Fresh
A skilled fishmonger is your first line of defense against buying too much fish — they can guide you toward the right quantity for your meal and divide your purchase in portions so each eater gets just enough. They also act as a trusted third party that can ensure your fish is as fresh as it can be.
When you get your fish home, put it in the coldest part of the refrigerator, typically the lowest shelf or drawer. You can also put an ice pack on top to keep it extra chilly—cold conditions keep your fish at its finest. Even if you take all precautions, raw fish will only stay fresh for a day or two so you want to get it in the pan as soon as possible. Come home with a bit more fish than you think you will eat in one sitting? Cook it up with the rest and use the recipes below to enjoy it another way. Cooked fish has a longer shelf life it remains safe to eat for three to four days in the fridge and up to two to three months in the freezer. If you can’t cook your fish, you can freeze well wrapped, uncooked portions for up to three to four months.
How to Use Up Leftover Ingredients So They Don't Go in The Trash - Recipes
There's no reason the leftovers from your last barbecue should end up in the trash.
For one reason or another, many of us end up with barbecue leftovers. No matter how many times you’ve thrown a barbecue in the past, you just can’t seem to get your shopping list right, and always end up with extra buns or hot dogs lying around the house.
Believe it or not, those extra hamburger buns don’t have to go to waste, and that bowl of ketchup you put out doesn’t have to go in the trash. There are plenty of ways you can repurpose what’s left from your grilling party, and they don’t involve eating hot dogs and hamburgers for several days in a row.
You’ll be happy to hear that hot dogs are a great addition to your breakfast, and broken chips can go further as a delicious party mix. And if there’s ever a case where you have extra beer on your hands, why not try that beer-battered recipe you’ve been eyeing?
Barbecue staples are for more than just barbecues, and we’ll show you how to use the leftovers so that you don’t have to put up with the guilt of buying too much. So after the guests have gone home and the grill has been put away, try some of these fun and delicious ideas for your barbecue remnants.
How to Use Food Before It Goes Bad
Food waste is not a new problem, but during the past several months of quarantine, it has been thrown into stark relief for many with resources scarce at times and budgets tighter than ever, no one has wanted to throw a single unnecessary scrap away. One of the simplest ways to fight food waste is to make sure you use leftovers and extra food before it goes bad—but sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds. Here are some strategies and tips to keep in mind to help you stick to your best intentions.
On average, Americans waste 400 pounds of food, per person, every year! Sounds like a lot, right? But think about those times you didn’t get to that cilantro before it got slimy, or how one bad apple really did spoil the whole bunch. And what about all those un-appetizing leftovers, and all that overzealous bulk grocery shopping—how much of that food ended up in the garbage? Save your food from untimely demise in the waste bin with these helpful food-saving mantras.
Slow It Down
Green Gadgets Products to Help Reduce Food Waste If you find that your good intentions to prep and eat fresh produce are foiled by Father Time, then you need ways to slow down the aging of your fruits and veggies. It could be as simple as proper storage—check out our guide on How to Store Fresh Produce So Fruit, Vegetables, and Herbs Last Longer for tips like what not to store in the fridge, when to trim vegetable tops, and more! Additionally, for leafy herbs, storing with stems in water and a produce bag on top (like this) can make all the difference for keeping them fresh for weeks.
The freezer is an obvious choice for keeping food usable, but you can get even more use out of that ubiquitous appliance with a few extra steps of prep. When bananas start to soften, cut them into slices and put them in a container in the freezer. Now, they’re ready to go for smoothies and banana bread. Super ripe berries are also great candidates for freezing and using in smoothies and desserts later. For vegetables, take a look at this guide on how to blanch, prepare, and freeze vegetables. Blanching (or boiling or steaming in hot water) kills the enzymes that make vegetables lose their flavor and color, better preserving their flavor and extending their freezer life.
You might be surprised at what food you can freeze besides the obvious. And see our guide to the best way to store everything in your freezer too, to help you keep it organized and maximize everything’s shelf life.
Sometimes we throw away food because it has lost its appeal in the fridge. Leftovers are a great way to prevent food waste, but only if you end up eating them—it doesn’t count if you give them a short fridge stopover en route to the trash. If your leftovers are fried foods, like french fries or fried chicken, reheating in the oven is a great way to restore that original crispiness this can even fix fries that were soggy from the start! Take a look at how to reheat fries, or how to reheat fried chicken, and taste the difference.
Beyond simply reheating, you can learn to creatively utilize leftovers:
- You can reuse curries, sauces, and broths as marinades.
- Chop and season leftover cooked vegetables and add to scrambled eggs for an extra serving of veggies during breakfast.
- Savory leftovers made mostly of meat, beans, or tofu, depending on their original flavoring, can either be an obvious or innovative base for tacos—just add taco shells, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and whatever else you’d like!
The key is to lean into that left-brain mindset, and come up with unusual ways to reuse those leftovers. You can do it!
For some more specific ideas, see how to use leftover BBQ, how to use leftover chili, and how to use rotisserie chicken (which you can apply to any leftover cooked, shredded chicken you have on hand). As for other excess ingredients, see how to use fresh herbs before they go bad, and how to use leftover cream cheese. Still stuck for ideas? Visit our ultimate guide to using all the leftovers in your fridge.
Cook in Bulk
Cooking in bulk cuts down on the number of times you have to set up and clean up the kitchen—do it once, and reap the efficiency benefits for the next week or more!
Some More Ideas 5 Big Batch Recipes to Save You From Cooking Every Single Night One of the easiest ways to cook a lot of vegetables and proteins at once is with a slow cooker. This is truer if you own either a very large slow cooker, or several slow cookers, to maximize the volume of chili, stew, or soup. The next time you find yourself with lots of potatoes, root vegetables, or meat, peruse our list of 15 Crowd-Pleasing Family Meals from the Slow Cooker, or search online for any of the trillion slow cooker recipes that live on the internet—you’ll be sure to find something that works with your ingredients at hand. Refrigerate what you can eat in the next several days, and freeze the rest for later—effortless future meals!
Even if you don’t own a slow cooker, you can still cook up big batches of food before they go bad. As many of you know, spinach is the poster child for bulk-cooking—dump a mountain of spinach into a sautée pan, season, heat, and stir, and suddenly you have a palm-sized amount of cooked greens ready to eat or store. While kale does not shrink down like spinach, you can make a large amount of it more palatable by making it into chips get our Baked Kale Chips recipe, and eat them as snacks, or sprinkle over ramen and rice dishes for additional texture and flavor.
Of course, you can always go with that age-old method of cooking twice as much of any recipe to start, and saving the leftovers. In the summer, check out ideas for grilling extra food to eat later in the week.
And you can deal with an overabundance of some things without cooking too. Too much basil? Make pesto! Too much oregano? Chimichurri! Use your cilantro stems, not just the leaves. See these big-batch no-cook recipes for more ideas.
Flavor and Infuse
Infusing liquids with herbs and other produce is probably the most fun way to use food before it goes bad—all of these concoctions connote gatherings with friends, fancy cocktails, and extra-special touches for meals. Take, for example, our recipe for Cucumber-Orange Water. Sometimes called “spa water,” this idea of infusing water with cucumbers, citrus, berries, and more has taken off for summertime parties, baby showers, and as an alcohol-free option at brunch. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to use that produce that is going to go bad in a few days.
For cocktail fans, flavored simple syrup and infused liquors are a great way to use up leftover herbs or too much produce. Look at our Simple Syrup recipe as a guide it’s just one part sugar and one part water. When you add fruit that is juicy and contains some water, like in our Cranberry Simple Syrup recipe, you cut down on the water a bit to compensate. Make herby simple syrup for gin cocktails, or fruity simple syrup for vodka cocktails (or homemade soda with a splash of fizzy water)—experiment with whatever you have on hand!
The same goes for infusing liquor a lot of it is up to taste! Check out this guide to infusing alcohol for some flavor and timing suggestions. I’ve personally had success with blueberries in vodka (don’t forget to score them first to release more flavor), infusing for a few weeks. Conversely, a whole week might be overkill for jalapeños in tequila, unless you love tons of heat in your drinks—really, a day or two for spicy peppers might be best! (Try making your own hot honey too.)
Finally, you can infuse olive oil with herbs, but if you plan on storing long-term, make sure that you first dry them. As explained in these tips for infusing olive oil, any moisture can lead to bacteria growth, so you definitely want to avoid adding fresh herbs or garlic to olive oil unless you plan to use up the mixture within a week.
Pickle & Preserve
istetiana / Moment / Getty Images
An old-fashioned yet timeless method of saving food before it has a chance to spoil, preserving by pickling and canning is also a great way to capture peak produce flavor and stock your pantry for the months ahead. You can quick pickle practically any vegetable, and any jam or jelly recipe can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks without the need to can it (or up to a few months in the freezer). But if you want to get into longer-term storage, see our beginner’s guide to canning, essential canning equipment, and handy canning tips for total newbies.
While all of these suggestions are also ways to just plain-old “use” food, the key is to keep these ideas at the ready when you bought too much broccoli, have too much leftover chicken, are facing down a bounty of berries, or ended up with extra rosemary after you made that one herby recipe. When you’re not sure what to do with those foods, but you don’t want to let them go bad, think of these themes and get creative!
9 Easy Dinner Recipes that Use Leftover Ingredients
Freeze. Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them and Step Away from the Bin.
My theory. Meals made with leftovers taste better. I can’t be absolutely sure. But, I think it’s their way of saying “thanks for saving my life”. I mean, death by trash can. That’s gotta suck. Plus, there’s lots of other awesome things about using leftovers, like helping the environment and saving money.
But, leftovers. I know. They can be as inspiring as that Kardashian brother (yes, there is a brother).
At least. That was. Until now….
I’ve put together a list of YTGT recipes that use Australia’s most wasted foods. That way, you always have something fun, fast and YUM to cook up with your leftovers. Easy!
Let’s Go. Leftovers. Let’s Go.
There are so many ways you can use up bread. Think, French toast breadcrumbs, croutons for your favourite salad. But, my favourite way to use up bread? Well, that always involves cheese.
Like my famous pizza toast – the triple threat of leftovers. Because, it also happens to be an excellent way to use leftover veggies and stuff from the deli like ham or salami. Plus, its an excuse to eat pizza for dinner. Grab the easy recipe here.
The trick here. You’ve got to catch it before it goes off. But if you can do that. YUM! Because there are so many ways you can use leftover milk. And here’s where I prove it:
- Drink it – smoothies, hot chocolate, iced coffee, regular coffee. Hello, legit excuse to drink any kind of creamy milky delicious coffee.
- Bake it –scones, muffins, cake, rice pudding, bread and butter pudding and then maybe more cake.
- Cook it – pancakes, porridge, soup, fish pie or a cheesy sauce, which I give you permission to pour over errrything.
But, my all-time favourite way for using up milk? Creamy Mushroom Baked Gnocchi. Oh yeah! It is as good as it sounds. Maybe even better. And the sauce. Well, that’s made with milk not cream. BOOM!
Personally, I don’t get the whole leftover cheese thing. Me: 1059. Cheese 0.
But, I know a lot of you must struggle. Because cheese comes in third on the list of most wasted foods in Australia.
The good news. I can definitely help you out. Because when a cheese lover invents recipes. Well, there’s a lot of cheesy delicious happening. Like so much….
Do I have a cheese problem? Nah. No such thing.
Bananas are the type of leftovers you *actually* want. The riper the better. And, I’m giving you. Not one. But, two! Amazingly delicious ideas for using them up. It’s like a choose your own adventure, with leftover bananas. But, be warned. This choice will not be easy.
A. Chocolate Banana Bread, which is the actual best thing since sliced bread. Chocolate in bread form…I rest my case.
B. Deliciously sweet, soft and crumbly super easy, Apple + Banana Sugar Free Muffins.
My advice: Save yourself some heartache. Make both.
I am not a huge fan of cooking chicken from scratch (see below). So, when I buy fresh chicken it ends up in the freezer OR in a Chicken Club Burger. I strongly suggest the Chicken Club Burger over the freezer. Because, it legit tastes like holidays. I know. Sealed the deal, huh?
And hot tip. God didn’t invent supermarket roast chicken, so you would keep cooking it. Buy it pre-cooked. You will be more likely to use it. Like a gazillion times more. Why? Cos, it makes cooking crazy easy. You can literally throw it into anything and everything from pasta to stir fries to tacos and burgers. It’s like instant, no mess, no fuss, yum.
Whoop. Whoop. YTGT classic alert. 15-Minute Fried Rice. Main ingredient, rice (obvs). But, throw in practically anything else. I’m talking leftover meat, veggies, eggs. It’s like a party. And all your leftovers are invited. Your job? Bring the wine.
No matter how hard I try. It’s inevitable. There’s always leftover ham in my fridge at the end of the week. I can’t prove it. But I’m pretty sure it multiplies. Just like a gremlin. Truth.
But, it’s not all bad. Because from leftover ham, this deliciousness was born – Ham and Asparagus Pasta. And, don’t count it out, just because you don’t have or like asparagus. You can throw in any leftover green veggies and it’s just as good. I can personally vouch for zucchini, broccoli and beans.
Leftover eggs? Sorry. There is no option. You must eat brinner (aka breakfast for dinner). I seriously eat eggs on toast for dinner alllll the time. Because quick + easy. Plus, eggs…well they’re super good for you.
Usual situation: Fried eggs in one pan. Leftover veggies in another. Serve with toast. And dinner done. But, when I’m in the mood for fancy (that’s *my* type of quick and easy fancy not *actual* fancy). I make my one-pan baked eggs with chorizo. Insider tip: t’s totally worth the extra 10 minutes. And don’t stress if you don’t have chorizo, chick in some leftover ham or salami instead – yum!
Lettuce, Tomato and Mince
I know that’s three leftovers. But, just like I was touched by the hand of leftover Gods. Lettuce, tomatoes and mince round out the list of Australia’s most wasted foods AND I have the most delicious recipe that uses ALL three.
Cheesy Beef Mexican Taco bowls. They are seriously life. Get the recipe here. Leftovers or not. You gotta put this one on your weekly meal plan. Yep, that good.
Talk to me. What do you do with your leftovers? What ingredient do you ALWAYS have left over at the end of the week? Am I the only one that thinks, leftovers really *are* the secret ingredient?
P.S – Want a whole weeks worth of dinner recipes just like this? Grab your FREE quick and easy weeknight dinner plan right here.
Instant Pot Leftover Turkey Pasta is a creamy, delicious one-pot meal that uses leftover turkey meat or chicken. This is a “dump and start” pressure cooker pasta recipe. It doesn’t get much easier than this tasty dish! Recipe from Simply Happy Foodie.
While chicken wild rice soup is always a popular dish, turkey is a great spin on this classic soup recipe. This creamy Instant Pot turkey wild rice soup is the perfect way to use up any leftover roasted turkey you have this holiday season! Recipe from Zest & Lemons.
A side of sautéed greens goes with almost every dish. And look at that spark of color they add! If you want to make them tastier, add a little bit of garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice.
It’s Wednesday. You’re ridiculously busy, and you know you’re not going to have time to do anything with the half bunch of arugula or the untouched collard greens that have started wilting in your produce drawer. No worries, dude! If you have five minutes and a freezer, you have a solution.
First, wash and blanch the greens, and pat dry. Then put them in a Ziploc-style plastic bag or a Stasher bag, and make sure you squeeze out all the air before zipping it up. If you’re freezing herbs, there’s an even more convenient option: you can make frozen herb cubes, which can then be easily plopped onto a pan or into a sauce! Here’s a guide to freezing them in oil (the most common way to do it), and here’s a more comprehensive guide with three different methods.
There you have it! Frozen greens can be kept in the freezer pretty much indefinitely (although ideally you’d want to use them within a few months), and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend just defrosting them and digging in — freezing will change the texture and make them limper — you can still apply most of the methods I’ve already mentioned. Personally, I think frozen greens and herbs work best in a soup, sauce, or curry situation.