Leftovers – some people don’t mind eating them, others hate them and live by the phrase, “Variety is the spice of life.” But most agree that tossing out good food doesn’t make economic sense, especially when you consider as much as 50 percent of the food produced is wasted or thrown away. If you’re not a fan of leftovers, consider reinventing them into new and delicious dishes.
Makeovers for Common Leftovers With the Internet, thousands of recipes are at your fingertips, including recipes for using leftovers. The Guardian’s article “15 Recipe Ideas for Leftover Pasta” includes ideas for turning leftover pastas into frittatas, pasta salads and Asian stir fry dishes. Roasted chicken is another common entrée, making it a common leftover. From Asian-infused salads to the humble British pie, roasted chicken lends itself to a huge array of interesting recipes. The Guardian offers 21 things to do with your leftovers, including salads, soups, curry, sandwiches, and more. Even meatloaf can be repurposed. About Food’s “Top 10 Leftover Meatloaf Recipes” article suggests turning it into meatloaf spaghetti (hey, you could even use leftover pasta!), a cheesy meatloaf sandwich, stuffed shells, shepherd’s pie, chili, and a variety of sandwiches.
What’s in Your Basket? The hit TV show “Chopped” features top chefs from around the nation. They are given a basket with four ingredients they must use – a fresh item or two, as well as packaged or precooked items. Using those items and what’s in the pantry, they must create gourmet appetizers, entrees and desserts. The show is great inspiration for recreating leftovers. Have fun with your significant other, kids or grandkids using leftover items and what’s in the pantry to create a tasty meal. It’s a challenge of ingenuity and creativity. Home chefs are even occasionally invited onto the show, so who knows – maybe your practice will come in handy! For more ideas on saving money and repurposing things rather than throwing them out – including ideas for frugal food storage, going vegetarian on the cheap and growing your own – check out AARP’s “The Cheap Life.”