We all know the feeling… discovering some nearly unrecognizable food substance wasting away in the back corner of the fridge. After the gag factor passes, a wave of sadness and possibly even anger rush over you. How could you have forgotten about that perfectly cooked fish?! Or that fluffy as can be rice?! What a waste!
With a little creativity and planning, you can put your leftovers to use before they turn the corner of inedibility. Because we all love the feelings associated with saving time (less trips to the grocery store please) and saving money (purchasing less food = increased Prosecco funds!). We also enjoy cooking up something tasty of course.
And yes, you do get bonus points for being “green” and reducing food waste.
So let’s get started with some simple, delicious recipe ideas.
It’s not uncommon to find yourself with leftover cooked chicken posted up in the fridge. Chicken will keep for four days, so you have plenty of time to make all three of these easy recipes!
You can toss pretty much anything in a wrap and call it good. Cooked chicken is a great place to start. Then simply add your fave veggies, condiments, and shredded cheese!
Chicken, bacon, and bread are besties. Throw some crisp lettuce and avocado in there to round out your meal. Or, get a little fancy and create your own edible masterpiece.
Enjoy creamy chicken salad as is, sandwiched between two slices of bread, or nestled in a big leaf of crisp lettuce! Add nuts to your salad right before you dig in to avoid sogginess.
Turn your leftover cooked fish into a new, flavorful meal. Your cooked fish will stay fresh in the fridge for about three days, so get to it.
Tacos aren’t meant for just Tuesday. Stuff corn tortillas with leftover cooked fish, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, and cilantro, then top with a dollop of crema plus a squeeze of fresh lime.
Crispy fish cakes are still somewhat healthy, plus very delicious. Why stop at crab when you can also use leftover cooked salmon, cod, or even catfish.
This one may sound like a no-brainer, but when you’re strapped for time or simply have few ingredients on hand, top some greens with leftover cooked fish then
dump drizzle on your favorite dressing.
Hard Boiled Eggs:
Tired of munching on plain ole boiled eggs? We got you covered! Hard boiled eggs will keep (in their shell) for about one week in the fridge.
Deviled eggs are the prefect before-dinner snack. It’s quite difficult to stop after inhaling just one! Up your deviled egg game by topping them off with a dusting of paprika and freshly snipped chives.
This traditional salad is begging for an open-faced sandwich treatment. All out of bread or not feeling the carbs? Simply dig in with a fork.
Curry with eggs?? Yes yes it works! If you need a little (and by a little, we mean a lot) of flavor in your life, whip up a bowl of curry then top it off with sliced hard boiled eggs for a boost of protein and a tasty contrast of texture.
Perhaps you have half a can of beans loitering near the back of your fridge. Or, if you’re the ambitious sort, a container full of beans you cooked up yourself. If your beans have been sitting around for five days, it’s time to put those protein and fiber-packed guys to use.
Before you turn your nose up at a bean burger, you have to try one first! Don’t forget allll the toppings. We like cheddar and Jack cheese, avocado, fresh tomato slices, lettuce, and spicy mayo.
There are a lot of different directions you can go here depending on what kind of beans you have on hand. Chickpeas go well with Greek flavors, like tomatoes, cucumber, and feta, while black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans pair well with Southwestern flavors, such as corn and cilantro.
Blend up beans with garlic, citrus, oil and herbs then dunk some veggies (and definitely chips) in there.
Maybe you didn’t polish of all of your veggies for dinner. Not to worry, roasted veggies will keep in your fridge for five days up to a whole week! Time to introduce some carbs into this situation. Balance, right?
We probably don’t need to convince you that pizza is always a good choice. Take your favorite pizza base then toss roasted veggies right on top before baking and digging in.
Pasta and veggies also work well together. Fold roasted veggies into pasta with bright marinara, herby pesto, extra virgin olive oil, or even a decadent cream sauce. You’re going to need a very large bowl!
Just like chicken, cooked veggies can get all cozy between two slices of bread. Spread some creamy, tangy goat cheese in there to really get the flavor party started. Or, keep it vegan by opting for hummus instead.
We know you’ve heard it before… eat your greens! Turn your good intentions into something delicious without letting your greens wilt and go to waste. Your greens will start to get sad after about four to five days in your fridge. Although if you’re lucky, sometimes you can keep them around for one week.
We promise, you can’t even taste the greens. Throw enough fruit and nut butter in there and you’ll be wishing you whipped up a second glass. Spinach works the best in smoothies, but you can also try out kale or even lettuce… just start with a small handful and work your way up to Popeye status.
Frittatas can take on pretty much any veggie, protein, cheese, and herb. Serve your frittata hot, room temp or even chilled… for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Almost sounds too good to be true.
Stir Fries are very versatile as well. Toss your greens into a hot pan with your protein and seasonings of choice.
It’s approaching day six and your plain Jane leftover baked potato has gone untouched. Grab some butter and cheese, then get to work!
It’s hard to get sick of twice baked potatoes. Stir in cooked broccoli, cubed apples, caramelized onions, or just cheese, then bake! (Don’t burn your mouth in all of your excitement.)
Cube a baked potato or two then gently fold into your creamy pot pie filling before pouring the filling into your prepared crust.
Mashed potatoes are normally made from boiled potatoes, but you can certainly mash up baked potatoes with lots of butter and warm milk or cream.
Cook up a big batch of fluffy rice then use the leftovers all week long.
Fried rice is definitely the obvious choice here, but a delicious choice nonetheless. Plus quick and easy. Did we mention you can use pretty much any protein you want? Chicken, pork, shrimp, and tofu all work well. This scenario is sounding more and more appealing by the second.
Cheesy, bubbly golden rice? Yes please! Add some cooked chicken and broccoli to make it a meal.
Make your pot of soup a little more filling by throwing a couple handfuls of cooked rice in there right before serving. White and brown rice are both perfectly acceptable options.
Eyes bigger than your stomach? Perhaps you had every intention to inhale that entire loaf of fresh bread, but two days later it’s still residing on your counter and has gone a bit stale. You could always make avocado toast, but you do have more options.
Top golden brown slices of custardy french toast with a pat of softened butter and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Breakfast for dinner anyone?
Let this salad sit before serving so the bread cubes have a chance to soak up all the wonderful flavors. Day-old bread actually works better than fresh bread, which will get too soggy. Serve room temp, or chilled, if necessary.
Treat your sweet tooth to a warm bowl of decadent bread pudding. You’ll be wishing you had leftover bread more often.