As a mom and a cook I love leftovers. There’s nothing worse than throwing away perfectly good food, and I love saving time in the kitchen the next day. Why shop and re-create when you have perfectly good staples right in front of you?
Unfortunately my brood don’t share my enthusiasm. In fact, they’ve started lobbying for a dog so that we can feed it the leftovers! This has forced me to get creative. Here are my favorite ways to use up basic leftovers. Do it right and they won’t even know it’s last night’s dinner in disguise.
What to do with grilled salmon
Grilled some salmon the night before and don’t want to dump it? Throw some on top of your lunch salad or make something entirely new with these suggestions:
Try this: Salmon and spinach burgers
Or this: Fish tacos
Crumble your fish. Place on a taco shell (I always have these on hand in the freezer!) or substitute a piece of butter lettuce with chopped tomatoes and avocado. Add red onion and jalapeño. If you’re feeling adventurous, sauté an onion with some taco seasoning before adding your garlic and fish.
What to do with ground beef
I buy high-quality, grass fed beef for my family, so once I’ve cooked a bunch I feel it’s a real shame to let it spoil in the fridge. Here is what I whip up instead.
Try this: Beef and lettuce cups
Or this: Beef burgers
Brown an onion and add some of your favorite vegetables (I like chopped mushrooms, tomatoes and red peppers). In a large bowl mix the cooked veggies with your leftover beef. Add an egg and some paprika, cumin and a clove or two of fresh garlic. Form into patties and bake until set.
What to do with grilled or cooked veggies
Who loves to eat cooked vegetables the next day? They are sort of blah, right? But, they make a great filling and addition to dozens of great dishes. Here are some of my faves.
Try this: Vegetable frittata
Or this: Green salad with Brussels sprouts
You can make this salad with any leftover grilled or cooked vegetables instead of the Brussels sprouts.
What to do with ripe fruit
How often do you throw away fruit because its over-ripe, or you’ve bought too much? I often dehydrate my over-ripe fruit and make fruit chips or dried fruit that last forever. You can also make fresh and amazing sweet dishes in no time too.
Try this: All-fruit Smoothie
Pop your fruit into a high speed blender. Add your favorite non-dairy milk, some honey and vanilla protein powder or additions like hemp seed and chia if desired.
Or this: Fruit Salad
Chop up your leftover fruit. Season with orange juice and cinnamon. I make this for the kids as an after-school treat.
What to do with hard boiled eggs
I boil up eggs every friday to have for breakfast on Saturday mornings and we almost always don’t eat them all. This egg and avocado salad is my daughter’s favorite and it takes just three minutes to make.
Try this: Egg and Avocado Salad
Chop your egg up and add in some smashed avocado. Season with favorites like chopped onion, fresh herbs, salt and paper and eat on a cracker, use as a sandwich filling or a vegetable dip. YUM.
What to do with grilled chicken
Grilled chicken is one of my more versatile (and favorite) leftovers. I often make a quick salad and top with leftover chicken or use it to make the following new dishes.
Try this: Chicken lettuce cups
Or this: Chicken Stir-fry
Heat a wok with some coconut oil. Fry an onion. Add garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add your favorite vegetables — anything you have in the fridge, like courgettes, snow-peas, peppers or broccoli. In a separate bowl, mix your leftover chopped chicken with some tamari and a touch of cornstarch. Add chicken mixture to veggies. So good.
What to do with cooked rice
I don’t make a ton of rice at home but when I do I always make too much. If you do, don’t dump it! It’s still good the next day to make some creative filling winter dishes.
Try this: Rice salad
Chop peppers, carrots, and red onion. Mix with the rice and season with lemon juice, a touch of honey and a little bit of olive oil. Add raisins or other dried fruits to taste.
Or this: Fried rice
Wok fry your favorite vegetables. Add rice, one fried egg, season with tamari sauce, salt and pepper.
Have a question about using up your leftovers? Find me on Instagram and tell me what you’re whipping up!