Making the Most of Leftovers

Tonight I had planned to make turkey tacos for dinner, but as it turns out we have so many leftovers.

I have a couple of hamburgers, a little of this, part of a calzone, and some lettuce. There is not enough of one thing for all of us to have the same thing, but there is plenty of good food and I do not want it to go to waste! The bonus is I don't have to cook. Also, I'm saving money by using what we got and moving turkey tacos to a night later this week.

leftovers some time in August 2014

Here are a few discoveries I've made when it comes to enjoying leftovers:

Heat them up properly. Often, microwaves do not do food any favors. Take the extra time and heat the food up in the toaster oven or on top of the stove in a skillet.

Boil a pot of pasta and throw leftover meat and vegetables on top. Pasta will give any dish a second life and will help you stretch a meal. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese to make it feel really special. The same thing could be said for lettuce. Put your leftovers on a salad.

Make a wrap or quesadilla. Roll up leftover meat, vegetables, salad, rice etc. in a tortilla. Drizzle on a little salad dressing. For a quesadilla, heat cheese, leftovers, and vegetables in a tortilla on a skillet.

Open a bottle of wine. Suddenly leftover chicken spaghetti doesn't sound so bad when you consider opening a yummy bottle of wine and making a fresh side salad to go with it.

Stephen and I started a ritual on Sunday nights. When we get home from church, we march the kids straight to bed and then we enjoy a candle lit meal of properly cared for leftovers and a glass of wine. It's a date.

It's really fun to have something like this to look forward to at the end of the weekend. Sunday nights used to be kind of a bummer for us until we started this Sunday supper thing.

Here are some of the leftover meals we've shared together...

pork chops re-heated in the skillet with a little butter, side of pasta and broccoli.
leftover spaghetti and meatballs my mom sent home with us from the beach.
hamburgers with toasted buttered buns

If we don't have leftovers, a fried egg on toast is pretty good.

What about your family? Do you eat up all your leftovers or do you find yourself throwing food out? 


  1. You are one smart woman! And I love the Sunday night ritual.

  2. oh my gosh, leftovers are our fast food around here! We usually eat them for lunch when we're home, or I pack them for my husband's work lunch. I sometimes freeze a large batch of a dish instead of eating it that same week - that way, I have something quick for the crazy or lazy nights later. I sometimes cook double portions with a future quick meal in mind. Love your idea for making pasta to fill out a leftover meal. I will use leftovers in frittatas sometimes.

  3. We recently got a new microwave because the ancient one died and I was quite surprised that the new one does way less harm to leftovers than the old one. Perhaps the technology has changed. If I have a lot of leftovers I put them all into a 350 degree oven and they are all hot in 30 minutes which is way easier than microwaving. We rarely waste anything here. To me it is just like putting money in the trash. And I love the wine idea! Wine makes any time special to me. Swinging on the porch swing in the evening becomes a date with a glass of wine!

  4. I do my best to use up leftovers. Sometimes it's just "Clean out the Fridge" night at our house and I set up buffet style and let everyone choose what they want and heat their own plateful. Sometimes I combine things to make something new. Like Margo I eat leftovers for lunches or freeze for later use. Often I cook with leftovers in mind for the next meal. As our children leave the nest I'm having to adjust quantities. In less than two years it will be just hubby and me again. Hard to believe all the hands-on mothering is almost over. Thanks for sharing your ideas and keep up the good work.


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