One of my favorite things to do is to clean out the fridge and put together a meal by using leftovers creatively!
With so many little ones now, I am finding that it is very easy to use up leftovers (if we have any at all). At lunch or dinner, we often pull out several containers filled with leftover peas, green beans, corn, or pasta from the day before. We warm them up and that’s our meal. Nothing is wasted and I haven’t had to spend extra time cooking.
Using Leftovers Creatively
But often, I find that I can create a brand new meal from leftovers found in the fridge. Here are some examples:
One day, I dug two containers of cheese dips (variations of this recipe) from the fridge. Add added it to frozen hashbrowns and slow-cooked it all afternoon. It turned into a super delicious cheesy potato side dish! I served it with Sloppy Joes, green beans, and fruit.
This is one of my favorite dishes to make with any Mexican food leftovers we have. No need to measure. No need to proportion. I simply mix together any meat, beans, rice, cheese, corn, guacamole, or sour cream and roll them into tortillas. (This is also a great way to use up small amounts from three open jar of salsa!) Usually, I freeze these to use for fast lunches that we warm up in our air fryer. This makes for super inexpensive burritos!
Apple Bread or Muffins
If I have apples that are starting to shrivel, I grind them up and make Applesauce Bread. Or Applesauce Cake!
We almost always have three or four almost-empty bottles of dressings or sauces in our refrigerator door. I love pulling all of these out and dumping them into a bag of chicken to marinate. This always makes for a fun-tasting smoked chicken dinner. And it clears out fridge space!
If I have any fresh veggies that are starting to get wilted, I’ll make broth or soup with them. Here’s how I add a lot of veggies to make broth.
Any time I have leftover baked potatoes, I cut them and fry them in butter. If I want to make it a meal instead of a side dish, I add any leftover cooked meat we have in the fridge.
Have random odds and ends of meat, cheese, or veggies in the fridge? Throw them on a pizza. Once, I was putting together pizzas for dinner and found two leftover grilled hamburgers from a few days prior. I cut them up and added them to two of our pizzas. See that spinach I “sneak” on there too? My kids eat it without question!
I had a big bowl of leftover spaghetti, so I stirred in cottage cheese along with shredded mozzarella and Colby jack cheese. It turned spaghetti into a “fancy dinner” that we all loved!
We save so much money this way!
I love how we can prevent waste when we use our leftovers creatively like this. I find it fun to see what meal I can put together with whatever we already have in our fridge!
What’s your favorite meal to make with leftovers?