It can be hard to use leftovers sometimes. Especially nowadays when we’re more reluctant to throw away food than ever before. Possible meat shortages, food waste reduction efforts, environmental reasons, etc. We’re always told to make sure no morsel goes to waste. However, it can be monotonous eating the same thing over and over, so here are five delicious ways to use leftovers that can zest up your taste buds without breaking the bank.
Old Rice to Delectable Stuffed Bell Peppers
This first way to use leftovers everyone can relate to. Almost every person I know has heard of turning that old white rice from Chinese takeout into fried rice. Heck, even I’m guilty of just slapping a little butter on the rice, drizzling a little soy sauce, and putting into the microwave for a minute or so. It’s quick, it’s easy, and all you do is stir it up and consume. But let’s face it, that’s not the healthiest. Not to mention that it’s pretty dull, and I hate boring food. There’s got to be a better way. Well lucky for you, if you’re willing to get just one other ingredient, I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Stuffed bell peppers are super easy and healthy! Just take your rice mix it with some spices that you like, stuff them into the cored-out peppers and cook ’em up. There are tons of recipes online that show a wide variety of variations on this one simple idea. Different spice mixtures, various toppings, even different ways to plate them up. However, when it comes down to it, it’s still the same amazingly simple idea that will make sure all your rice doesn’t go into the trash. Leftovers begone!
Stale Bread to Mouthwatering French Toast
We’ve all heard of making croutons for our salad with stale bread. It’s simple, it’s beginner-friendly and easy, it’s useful, sure. But you have to admit it’s kinda basic Another way to use leftovers that people don’t really think of is French toast. French toast can seem super intimidating to people who have never made it before, but it’s so easy it’s almost laughable. Not only that, but stale bread is actually better for French toast than fresh bread right out of the oven. Let me explain. The process of French toast is essentially you get your bread, and you have to soak it in an egg wash solution with milk and eggs (preferably with some cinnamon and sugar, but that’s my personal preference) and everyone has milk and eggs. Now for the mind-blowing part, the reason why stale French toast is the best for this is because: while it will soak up the egg solution, it won’t get too soggy. Instead, it’ll stay crispy and light and fluffy and just beautiful. Besides, nobody likes soggy French toast. Just like in the other way to use leftovers, this idea has tons of flexible recipes online for all styles of bread. There are even a few vegan recipes online. If you’re a fan and are looking for a way to treat yourself without breaking the bank, I say why not try it!
Mashed Potatoes to Crispy Hash Browns
So, this is a bit of an out-there way to use leftovers but hear me out. I promise I will make it worth your while. While I’m never one to pass up an on a nice piping hot serving of mashed potatoes, even I have to admit the smooth mushy texture can be a bit bland from time to time. We can do better for ourselves. And the best part is you don’t even need any extra ingredients for this one! Make sure your mashed potatoes are cold, preferably just out of the fridge. Put them in a bowl and shape them into hash brown like shapes. Go nuts with them. Bonus points if you pull out cookie cutters and make dinosaur shapes out of them, seriously the possibilities here are endless. Oil up a pan and get it nice and hot, then put your mashed potato patties in the pan, fry up em up till both sides are golden brown and delicious, and congratulations you have hash browns that could possibly rival a trip to Mcdonalds. This lifehack is especially worth it if you’ve already put some cheese or cream or butter into your old potatoes. Just make sure to oil your pan very well, and you’ve got the perfect pick me up snack or breakfast you could hope for. Once again, a quick google search will bring up dozens of recipes, so have fun!
Roasted Veggies to Rustic Soup
Everyone should try to eat their veggies. We’ve been told this by our moms since we were little kids. A lot of the time, eating the same plate of roasted eggplant or Brussel sprouts or charred broccoli just isn’t as mouthwatering as we would like it to be. And old veggies don’t make things any easier. Cold, mushy, and sometimes just gross, these are often the first thing to be thrown out in my experience. But not so fast! There is a way to use leftovers like these in a way that will actually leave you wishing you had more! Take all your veggies and add some stock to a large pot. Chicken, beef, bone, or vegetable, none of it matters really. Let it simmer low and slow for awhile tasting as you go (protip: you should be tasting food whenever you cook just as a general rule of thumb). Add in spices as you go. When everything smells and tastes good, you’re done! It’s really that easy. In my opinion, soup is one of the easiest and most overlooked way of making sure your leftovers get as much use in them as possible. It easy to store keeps for a long time, uses up as many or as few ingredients as possible, and just tastes so comforting.
Old Stock to Slurp-Worthy Ramen
Everyone has just that little bit of bone broth that they’re never quite sure what to do with. And ramen is continuously seen as the worst thing for your cholesterol since the French got their hands on butter. But! There is a way to make it better, and surprisingly enough, it’s to use leftovers. Find a pack of instant ramen, it can be as unhealthy and cheap as you like. Cook the noodles in water as you usually would, do not use the flavor packet, this is super important. In another pot, put in your broth and any other spices you want to add to make this extra tasty. When the noodles have cooked, drain them off and get rid of all that greasy starchy water. For extra measure, you can rinse them under cold water one or two times just to make sure you get all that excess grease out of them. Now you’re probably wondering: Why am I do this? The answer lies in how instant ramen is made. By flash frying the noodles, they keep for an excessively long amount of time, but the downside is that they absorb a lot of grease and salt. By draining and rinsing them (and not using the flavor packet), you’re getting rid of all that down the drain. Once the noodles have been cleaned and drained, combine with your hot soup base, add toppings, and enjoy! It’s that easy.
Have other ways that you’ve thought to use leftovers? Perhaps there’s something that we’ve missed? Comment down below to share your favorite recipes!