Make the Most of Your Leftovers

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Using leftovers is a great way to stretch your budget and to cut down on time in the kitchen. Connie comes up with recipes every week for us and she gives us excellent tips on stretching meals. Below you will find some additional tips for keeping leftovers from becoming boring.

Tips and Tricks for Using Up Leftovers

By: Mrs. Not Made of Money

If you are trying to prepare meals on a budget, leftovers can be a blessing or a curse. Having leftovers can make it much easier to prepare the next meal, but we both know that sometimes leftovers are not looked upon so favorably, especially with the younger crowds. Finding a way to help your family enjoy leftovers can definitely be a challenge. If you’re tired of the groans at your dining room table, you may be ready to try some new methods to make leftovers fun. Here are some of the tricks we’ve tried in our household:

Give leftovers a makeover.
The kids won’t necessarily know that the chicken salad they are enjoying in their lunches today started life out as the baked chicken breast you served at dinner last night. Even leftover mashed potatoes can be fun if you fry them into fun little potato cakes. Anytime you can add a little something extra to a leftover item and make it seem like new, you can bet your family will be happy. Another tip – Do not call the dinner “leftovers”.

Let the kids “cook.”
If you have little ones who are itching to cook dinner but aren’t quite old enough to be turned loose with the stove, this is a great way to use up leftovers and let them practice. We have a kids “cooking” night. Anything in the refrigerator is fair game, as long as they don’t need the stove or oven. They pillage through the leftovers, heat things up in the microwave, and dress their meals up in festive dishes. Having dinner served to me is a nice treat and it uses up plenty of leftovers.

Just freeze it.
When all else fails, your family may just need a short break from a particular leftover before they’re ready to try it again. Maybe you made a casserole and had way too much left after your dinner. Perhaps you baked little muffins for breakfast but didn’t realize you’d end up with forty-eight of them after you finished the recipe. These are both examples of foods that would benefit from being frozen. Then, they are ready to be thawed and served later when you’re ready to eat them again.

Have a buffet night.
Sometimes leftovers accumulate in the fridge. You may not have enough of any one thing to feed your entire family a meal, but you probably don’t want to just throw the food out, either. On these occasions, you may create your own mini-buffet on your dining room table. Simply spread the options out on the table and let your family choose the foods that appeal to them.

So what are your tips for using up leftovers in your household?

Tips and Tricks for Using Up Leftovers was reprinted with permission from

Photo credit: I Stock Photo

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  1. says

    We end up doing “buffet night” a lot. My husband always complains before we eat, but ends up loving it. It’s also a good time to stir-fry up little bits of veggies that might not otherwise make an entire side-dish but are useful for supplementing leftover pasta, etc.

    I covet a bento box kit to package up little bits of leftovers for me and my husband but haven’t found the perfect box yet.

    • Madame Deals says

      Yes, we like to stir fry too! I have heard of the bento boxes but I do not have any. It sounds like something my 3 yr old would like since he does not like any of his food mixed!

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