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7 Meals That Started with Leftovers

Got leftovers? Don’t just want to reheat them? Try one of these recipes that makeover leftovers in a new way.

7 Meals That Started as Leftovers | Try one of these easy recipes that turn leftovers into a new meal -- Beans & Rice Soup, Chicken Fried Rice, Creamy Turkey Enchiladas, Chicken Salad Wraps, Turkey Pot Pie, Cream Noodles with Ham and Tomato, and Stone Soup.

One of the biggest ways that we can save money on groceries is to prevent waste. I’ve read some reports that say Americans waste 25% of the food they buy. If this is true, if this is you, that means you could cut your food costs by 1/4 if you just didn’t waste food.

Well, that’s easy, isn’t it?

Or not. Sometimes, we just don’t want to reheat the same old, same old from yesterday. Or maybe there isn’t enough leftovers to feed the whole family. That’s where these seven recipes come in to save the day.

Each one uses small portions of leftover meat, vegetables, legumes, or grains and transforms it into something a little bit different. Stretch leftover turkey into a pot pie, stir up a fried rice with last night’s rice and chicken, or combine a few different ingredients into stone soup.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how you can give leftovers new life!


7 Meals That Started as Leftovers | Try one of these easy recipes that turn leftovers into a new meal -- Beans & Rice Soup, Chicken Fried Rice, Creamy Turkey Enchiladas, Chicken Salad Wraps, Turkey Pot Pie, Cream Noodles with Ham and Tomato, and Stone Soup.

Beans and Rice Soup

This simple soup recipe was a brainstorm to use up some leftover rice and beans that we had had for dinner the night before. Most of these ingredients are pantry staples, making it an easy emergency supper as well.

7 Meals That Started as Leftovers | Try one of these easy recipes that turn leftovers into a new meal -- Beans & Rice Soup, Chicken Fried Rice, Creamy Turkey Enchiladas, Chicken Salad Wraps, Turkey Pot Pie, Cream Noodles with Ham and Tomato, and Stone Soup.

Chicken Fried Rice

If you’ve got leftover rice and chicken, you can easily transform them into a great meal of Chicken Fried Rice.

7 Meals That Started as Leftovers | Try one of these easy recipes that turn leftovers into a new meal -- Beans & Rice Soup, Chicken Fried Rice, Creamy Turkey Enchiladas, Chicken Salad Wraps, Turkey Pot Pie, Cream Noodles with Ham and Tomato, and Stone Soup.

Creamy Turkey Enchiladas

These enchiladas are a great way to use up leftover turkey from a holiday meal, but you can use cooked chicken or pork as well. You could even fill the enchiladas with rice and beans or just cheese. Whatever you like will work. The sauce comes together quickly with regular pantry staples.

7 Meals That Started as Leftovers | Try one of these easy recipes that turn leftovers into a new meal -- Beans & Rice Soup, Chicken Fried Rice, Creamy Turkey Enchiladas, Chicken Salad Wraps, Turkey Pot Pie, Cream Noodles with Ham and Tomato, and Stone Soup.

Chicken Salad Wraps

If you’ve got leftover chicken, these chicken salad wraps are even easier to prepare. Its chock full of fruit, veggies and nuts, and because it is is served in cabbage leaves instead of bread, it’s a low-carb, yet filling meal.

7 Meals That Started as Leftovers | Try one of these easy recipes that turn leftovers into a new meal -- Beans & Rice Soup, Chicken Fried Rice, Creamy Turkey Enchiladas, Chicken Salad Wraps, Turkey Pot Pie, Cream Noodles with Ham and Tomato, and Stone Soup.

Turkey Pot Pie with Easy Biscuit Topping

This is the perfect meal to repurpose leftovers from a large turkey or chicken dinner. If you’ve already got vegetables, meat, and gravy, all you need to do is whir up the crust in the food processor and slide this baby in the oven. To make it even simpler, I used a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, but you can easily use whatever leftover veg you have on hand.

7 Meals That Started as Leftovers | Try one of these easy recipes that turn leftovers into a new meal -- Beans & Rice Soup, Chicken Fried Rice, Creamy Turkey Enchiladas, Chicken Salad Wraps, Turkey Pot Pie, Cream Noodles with Ham and Tomato, and Stone Soup.

Creamy Noodles with Ham and Tomatoes

This pasta dish came to be when I had some leftover spaghetti from the night before as well as the Easter ham that I sliced frozen. With a few additional ingredients, I came up with a yummy pasta.

7 Meals That Started as Leftovers | Try one of these easy recipes that turn leftovers into a new meal -- Beans & Rice Soup, Chicken Fried Rice, Creamy Turkey Enchiladas, Chicken Salad Wraps, Turkey Pot Pie, Cream Noodles with Ham and Tomato, and Stone Soup.

Stone Soup

This recipe for Stone Soup is a general formula for you to tweak based on what you have on hand. The only trouble with this soup is that it’s never the same thing, unless you absolutely recreate all your add-ins. It doesn’t matter, though, it’s pretty foolproof and yummy. Just be sure to choose ingredients and seasonings that complement one another.

What’s your favorite recipe that you’ve created from leftovers?

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Comments

  1. Stephanie M. says:

    My husband and I are huge advocates of not wasting any food. With the prices of food these days, it seems criminal to throw anything away. We are both also not adverse to eating leftovers. I know some people that are. I can’t say that I have a favorite way to change one meal into another because I do this quite frequently, especially if I have a leftover roast of some kind. To me, a leftover roast is always a clean pallet for a new meal. One of the ways I use up leftover roast chicken or turkey is to make chicken/turkey tetrazzini and when I make this, that also yields a few days of leftovers as well. This weekend, I am making a pork roast. It is rather large so we will eat it the first day with the sides that I make and then that way again the second day. If there is still some leftover, since I roast the pork in the oven and make the gravy separate, I will probably cut it up in tiny pieces, add some mayo and celery and make pork salad sandwiches for lunch. Sometimes, I’ll make a stir fry or pork fried rice out of that. One time, I bought a ham around Easter and actually made 17 meals out of it! Everything from the original dinner to ham chowder, to ham and noodle casserole to ham and cheese omelets and finally, whatever little bit was leftover after all that, was given to the hounds! 🙂 And each one of those meals made several meals as well. I just froze the ham in different bags for each meal.

  2. I try to keep rice in the fridge specifically for fried rice. We don’t always have extra chicken or meat. When that’s the case, we use extra eggs. Works like a charm.

  3. Fried rice here too. I keep leftover rice in the freezer then reheat in the steamer.
    Another favorite is to use leftover chopped meat, add veg (frozen or otherwise), gravy, then top with cheese and mashed potato. Easy shepherd pie type dinner.
    My main way to use leftovers is to portion out lunch for the next day to take to work.

  4. I agree that some days I just don’t want to eat the same old leftovers from the day before, or even worse for three days in a row. Last night I toyed with making my own corn flour tortillas and used leftover beans, rice, cheese, and corn to make impromptu tostadas. They were definitely interesting, and it helped me almost finish up the leftover corn in the fridge!

  5. Love this post! I also use leftovers for fritattas or add leftover meats and veggies to pasta. Leftover pot roast is good for sandwiches with BBQ sauce, on top of baked potatoes. I also save my ham bones for ham and bean soup.

  6. Love this post! My partner doesn’t like leftovers, so I’m always trying to figure out what to do with them to make them into something he will eat!

  7. My biggest challenge with leftovers is usually not the meals themselves, but the leftover ingredients – for example there’s a yummy fish dish we like that calls for half a can of tomatoes. We never end up using the other half of the tomatoes before they grow mold in the refrigerator. I finally solved that by just adding double the tomatoes to the dish – we like it and eat it all up. Sometimes I try to be more strategic in planning 2 meals that each use half a bunch of green onions, rather than letting the second half wilt. Another ingredient I struggle with is the smallish amount of half and half or heavy whipping cream called for in some cream soups. (We are not coffee drinkers.) I decided I might just as well go with heavy whipping cream and turn the leftovers into whipped cream.

  8. I made ‘Stone Soup’ this month and it was a huge hit.
    However, I also had to throw away half a carton of organic strawberries that Hubs requested but did not eat while I was gone last week. :/
    It drives me nuts to throw out food!

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