Give New Life To Leftovers With These Recipe Ideas

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Noone is too excited when the answer to “what’s for dinner” is “leftovers.” All too often that extra portion or two gets put in the fridge with the best of intentions only to be tossed out a few days later when it’s no longer good (or a few weeks later when it’s growing something…yuck!) Generate some enthusiasm for leftovers by using them to create an entirely new meal. Here are a few ideas:

Fried Rice – Dice cooked chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu, or veggies in any combination and add to cooked rice sauteed in vegetable or peanut oil.

Here a take on breakfast fried rice from Dan Mehta:

Tacos – Toss leftovers such as steak, chicken, fish, onions, peppers, rice, beans, or sweet potatoes in taco seasoning and reheat in a skillet. Serve with hard or soft shell tacos or wrap into burritoes. Pass the hot sauce!

Here’s a take on Filipina Tacos:

Salad – A base of leafy greens can turn just about any leftovers into a healthy salad. Think hard boiled eggs, lunch meat, raw or cooked vegetables, fresh or dried fruits, nuts, beans, meat or seafood, diced or shredded cheese, and even pasta.

Mmmm… Jamaican Jerk Salad

Paninis – The combinations of foods that make tasty paninis are limitless. Sliced chicken with mozerella and pesto, a classic blt (add the lettuce after grilling the sandwhich), ham with cheese and thinly sliced pears or apples, slices of potroast with sauteed onions and peppers and spicy mayo (stir a little hot sauce into mayonnaise).

Turkey Day leftover ideas? Check out this one for turkey paninis:

Baked Potatoes – Transform your leftovers into toppings for baked potatoes served as an entree rather than a side. Meats, cheeses, veggies, dried fruit, beans, chili, diced hotdogs or burgers, crumbled bacon, hard boiled eggs. You can also get creative with the condiments that seem to multiply on your refrigerator door – add hot sauce, soy sauce, mustard, salad dressing, pickles, olives, and bbq sauce to the options and let everyone make their own.

Find basic recipes for these or other dishes to adapt to your leftovers at,, or

Anna Platz is an Editor at, a leading mortgage rate research website, as well as the Lead Contributor to, a blog about budgeting and personal finance. Anna is immersed in the world of real estate, mortgage, and home financing and is here to provide valuable resources for homeowners and soon-to-be-homeowners on buying and selling real estate, researching a mortgage broker or lender, and securing a home loan. Check back often for news, updates, and remember that you can find today's current mortgage rates at My Google Profile+

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