Frugal Leftover Cooking Ideas
By Nikki Willhite
How you deal with leftovers will determine whether they are a plus or a
and whether you lose or save money
Everyone has leftovers. How you deal with leftovers will
determine whether they are a plus or a minus, and whether you lose or save
money.When you throw them out, it is the same as throwing out money. However
it takes time, planning, knowledge, and creativity for you to be able to
take those leftovers and use them in a way that your family and you will
want to eat them again.
When I was a young bride I remember a man saying that his
wife had never fed him the same meal twice. That statement surprised me when
I heard it, and now I can hardly believe it! His wife must have been one
very creative cook. I doubt few of us have risen to that level.
The more skill you have at using leftovers, the lower your
food bill will be. Sometimes we can make our favorite recipes with out
leftovers. One of my familyís favorites is the crescent rolls we make out of
leftover turkey. See http://www.allthingsfrugal.com/turkey.htm
Having said that, here are some ideas to help you with
your leftovers. This article focuses on generalities, and not specific
MEALS THE ACCOMMODATE LEFTOVERS
Almost all meats can be put in the blender and then mixed
with a little mayonnaise to make a sandwich spread. Spreads can be made more
flavorful with the addition of seasonings, chopped vegetables and eggs,
mustard, pickles, and spices. Spread the mix on a piece of whole grain
bread; add a slice of cheese and your favorite lettuce. Youíve got a
delicious sandwich with just a small amount of leftover meat.
SOUPS and STEWS
Leftover meat and vegetables can find a home in many types
of soups and stews. Keep a container in your freezer for leftover
vegetables. When you are ready to make soup or stew, just add them.
This is a very economical way to make use of leftover meat
and vegetables. Just add a little sauce to your diced up meat and vegetables
and your filling is done. You can put it in a pastry crust, or you can just
put a layer of biscuits on top or mashed potatoes. It becomes a very fast
and easy recipe if you use a store bought can of biscuits.
There are a zillion recipes for casseroles. All you need
is a little pasta, meat, and sauce. The sauce can be a can of creamed soup.
You can make fast meals by adding leftover meat and
vegetables to boxes of Rice-a-Roni, or Macaroni and Cheese.
You can fill omelettes with a blend of cheeses as well as
cut up meat and vegetables. Longhorn and cottage cheese blend together well.
If the vegetables are fresh, you just sautť them before adding. If they are
already cooked, add at the last minute.
USES FOR LEFTOVER INGREDIENTS
Casseroles, Soups, Stews, Stroganoff, Sandwich Fillings,
Stir Fry, Quiche, Enchiladas, Tacos, Hash, Meatloaf, and Meatballs.
ONIONS, CELERY, and GREEN PEPPERS
In addition to the above suggestions, considering juicing
these items and freezing the broth. This is how sauce is made for spaghetti
and lasagna in fancy restaurants. The broth adds a wonderful flavor to
tomato-based sauces. Add to your Mexican food such as Enchiladas and Chili.
Potatoes are one of the most inexpensive and versatile
foods you will find in the produce section of the grocery store. They are
abundant, and always available. If your family doesnít like them, you just
havenít found a way to cook them to their liking.
They also have the virtue of being easily re-used. There
are so many ways to use leftover potatoes. They can be mashed, re- mashed,
hashed, made into pancakes, baked, and used in everything from soups and
stews to potpies.
*Make potatoe cakes out of leftover mashed potatoes. Mix
them with buttermilk, eggs, and spices, and fry in 1/2 inch vegetable oil
until they are golden.
*All unused vegetables should be saved in the freezer to
add to soups, stews, and potpies.
*Serve cold as a salad with Italian dressing.
If you have leftover fruit you know you will not eat, put
it in the blender and puree it. Then freeze it, preferably in ice cube
trays. You can add these cubes to gelatin, as well as soups and sauces.
*Fruit can also be made into delicious deserts. You can
make pies, cobblers, or you can just top the cooked fruit with a little
flour, oatmeal and sugar (like apple crisp).
*You can also put fruit in cakes and muffins. Just make
allowances for the fruit juice and decreased the liquid in the recipe.
*You can layer fruit in a dessert glass over cake, and add
syrups and whipped cream and have an English type trifle dessert.
*You can also freeze the syrup in Popsicle molds. Add a
little milk if you want more of a pudding pop.
*Use the syrup from canned fruit to baste ham or marinade
On the website I talk about what I did with all the plums
I grew in the yard of my last house. I canned them whole. Then when I wanted
to make jello, I would puree them and add them to the gelatin. It was
delicious, and so simple to do. See http://www.allthingsfrugal.com/plums.htm
or Click Here!
*Use leftover egg whites to make angel food cake, or
meringue. You can always add additional egg whites to cake mixes.
*Use leftover egg yolks to make pound cake, custard, or
*Try making bread pudding. People donít make it much
anymore, but it was once very popular.
*Make breadcrumbs to be added to the top of casseroles or
to ground beef. One of our readers suggested that if your children wonít eat
the crust of their sandwiches, take it off the bread before making the
sandwich for making breadcrumbs.
*Make croutons for salads.
*French Toast. French toast is not limited to just white
bread. You can also use quick rise breads, like banana bread.
*Toast and cover with scrambled eggs.
*All baked products can usually be frozen. If wrapped
well, they come out as fresh as they went in the freezer. Buy in bulk and
freeze some for later.
*Fresh leftover waffles and pancakes can also be frozen
for easy use later.
*Freeze leftover pasta, or serve cold as a salad, with
chopped vegetables and an Italian dressing.
*Bits and pieces of piecrust can be frozen and used later
for small quiche dishes or tarts.
*Save the water you boil vegetables in. It is full of
nutrients and has flavor. Use it as the base for soups, stews, and gravy.
*Always serve meat separately from Spaghetti. Leftover
meat can later go in chili, tacos, sloppy Joes, and other tomato based
*Save leftover bits of cereals,crackers, and cookies.
Crush them to make a crunchy topping for chicken and casseroles. You can
also add them to homemade granola.
*Use add leftover bits of cheese to hamburger or add to
salads. You can also add to any tomato based sauce.
Make it a goal this year not to serve your leftovers to your trash