Tips for utilizing leftovers

You're hungry and you want something to eat, but all you have is this week's leftovers, and none of…

Tips for utilizing leftovers
Foto: Flickr

You’re hungry and you want something to eat, but all you have is this week’s leftovers, and none of them sound appealing. If this sounds like you, it’s time to get creative. Everybody has leftovers — at least people who cook at home do. But even people whose refrigerators are overflowing with Styrofoam to-go boxes can get creative and get into the habit of utilizing leftovers. Some of the best meals are made from ingredients cooked a few days prior, and reusing them is a great way to save yourself both time and money. With careful planning, you’ll be amazed at just how far you can make your dollar stretch.


Yesterday’s beef doesn’t have to be tomorrow’s trash. The next time you have steak, think about using the leftovers for things like tacos or fajitas. And it doesn’t have to end there. Instead of throwing away those leftovers, why not incorporate them into breakfast? Day-old taco or fajita ingredients make excellent breakfast burritos. You can also try utilizing leftovers like these for such things as tasty salad toppings. Leftover steaks, roasts, and potatoes can be made into a delicious beef hash that’s a welcome addition to toast and eggs.


Beans are an integral part of any Latin diet, and they’re inexpensive, too. If you’ve recently made a big pot of them in an effort to save money but you’re getting tired of them, don’t throw them away! You can use them for breakfast burritos, tortilla soup, or chili. They’re a great source of protein that shouldn’t be overlooked. Utilizing leftovers like beans is good for you in more ways than one.


Corn on the cob seems to be a staple during holidays and family gatherings. It also seems to be the most common leftover you’re likely to encounter. Leftover corn on the cob can be turned into a myriad of meals and side dishes like yummy corn chowder soup, corn salad. You can also add it to your next batch of beans. Simply remove the corn by shaving it off the cob with a sharp knife, and then use it in your favorite recipes that call for it. You can even safely freeze it for future use by putting it in airtight storage bags. If you’ve got a lot of it, consider storing it in several smaller bags for individual use at a later date. This is a great way for getting even more out of utilizing leftovers.


Fall and winter months are the perfect opportunity for utilizing leftovers for large pots of soup. All you’ll need are leftover bones from chicken, beef, or ham and you’re well on your way. Drop the bones into a stock pot, fill it with enough water to cover, and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer the contents until the meat clinging to the bones starts to separate and begins to float free. At this point, use tongs to carefully remove the bones, or (if there are small bones) pour the stock through a strainer into another large pot. Remove any remaining meat from the bones. Add the meat back to the pot, plus any vegetables you’d like to include, then season. Simmer covered for a few hours and salt to taste. It’s just that simple.