Leftovers don’t have to go straight to the fridge or the freezer every time. Try a few of these new spins on repurposing your leftovers for new dishes.
What do you do when you have leftover food? The easy answer is to stow it away in the chilliest depths of your freezer. Everyone loves a good treasure hunt, and when you’re a day away from grocery shopping and trying to save money, finding a container of delicious, home-cooked food from the recent past is a welcome surprise. But freezers fill up, and you can’t consign all your leftovers to cold storage. Consider a few of these creative ways to use your leftovers for future meals.
A Pot on the Stove: A Soup-erb Idea
One of the great transformations in gastronomy occurs when we elevate peasant food to gourmet fare. Seldom is this more evident than when it comes to soups and stews. Once the province of countryfolk who wanted to get as much mileage from their food as possible, there’s now an undeniable note of sophistication to a well-made bowl of soup. Canned soup, of course, is little more than sodium in a cylinder, but homemade soup can be as nutritious as it is delicious—and a great way to put leftovers to use. Bones from leftover chicken, ham, or beef can set the stage for homemade stock, and if you still have scraps of meat, those can flesh it out further. Add fresh vegetables and seasoning to your pot, and you have a stew going.
Turn Friday Dinner Into Sunday Brunch
Praised be the noble strata! Stale bread, leftover crudités, unused shredded cheese, and virtually anything you can think of can all find a home in this casserole dish that rescues leftovers from the garbage bin and sends them to the breakfast plate. All you need are about a dozen eggs and some milk to provide a creamy bath for your leftovers to bask in overnight. The eggy liquid rescues dried bread and suspends diced vegetables in what—after an hour or so at 375 °F—turns into a savory brunch staple. Best yet, completing the prep work the night before means that making it in the morning couldn’t be easier.
Embrace Your Giving Spirit
When you’re putting on an event for lots of others, you can find yourself with so much food left that your freezer will be full even after you’ve tried all the other creative ways to use your leftovers. Why not make altruism your new spice of life? Keep your summer parties from being wasteful by sending guests home with leftovers from your party. As you do your grocery shopping in advance of your party, be sure to pick up some disposable containers to send everyone home happy with the makings of tomorrow’s lunch.