Did you know that Americans throw away an average of 20 pounds of food per month? Coming up with creative leftover ideas can help decrease the 40 percent of food in America that is wasted. Although we all tend to cut corners and use budget-friendly tips to save some cash, reusing leftovers is a feat that many of us have yet to conquer. But you don’t have to have boring, flavorless meals with your leftover food! Try these yummy leftover ideas to repurpose your food and cut down on waste.
Sure, rice might be super cheap, but that doesn’t mean that you should be wasteful. Take those leftovers and make some delicious, homemade fried rice–it actually tastes better with refrigerated rice! All you need for this dish is some frozen veggies of your choice, meat, soy sauce, an egg, scallions, sesame oil and garlic. Not a fan of fried rice? You can also make rice balls, soup or meatballs with the remnants.
You can play with so many leftover ideas for meat from a meal, and one of my favorites is to toss it into a salad the next day. It’s a simple way to jazz up some fresh greens and get an added boost of protein the following afternoon. Want to use it for dinner during the week? Throw it in with pasta, make enchiladas, top off pizzas, stir up soup or grill paninis. You know that fried rice that you’re going to whip up? Why not use the rest of your chicken or steak to throw in the mix. Now you’ve got a quick, easy and delicious weekday meal planned.
It’s easier to chop up a bunch of veggies instead of the exact amount that is needed for a meal, but then you run into the issue of your fresh produce going bad quickly. If you’ve got leftover vegetables in your fridge, you can quickly throw together a light pasta, stir fry or omelet. Leftover mashed potatoes can be fried up into scrumptious potato pancakes or even homemade gnocchi.
Unlike the leftover vegetables that are still useable for meals, the scraps of your veggies can be turned into nutritious, homemade broth! Since summer is well on its way, making a heaping pot of soup may not seem appealing, you can freeze these remnants for a chillier day or use the broth to create gazpacho or another type of cold soup.
If you bought a fresh loaf of Italian bread for your pasta meal, chances are you didn’t polish off the entire loaf. Leftover bread gets stale in what seems like a matter of minutes, but there are plenty of ways to repurpose stale bread. You can slice it up and turn it into a delicious breakfast of homemade French toast, chop it up into square pieces to make croutons for a salad, or slather on some butter and garlic and pop it in the oven for yummy garlic bread.