Repurposing Leftovers: A Simple Way to Reduce Food Waste
Mid-spring is very likely my favorite time of year. I love how each day there are new flowers in the garden and new leaves on the trees. I love tracking my favorite gardens in my neighborhood and seeing when things really launch into full bloom. I love being outside more, whether it’s for a walk or on the sidelines of a soccer game. It is truly a time when it feels like the world comes to life.
With my eagerness to be outside, though, I also find that dinner prep gets pushed later and later, which is fine up until a point, but can start to get in the way of bedtime and other routines that keep life running smoothly. This is when I start to depend on leftovers even more than usual.
There are a number of reasons why I find repurposing leftovers to be deeply gratifying: 1) it pushes me to be more creative, 2) it saves time, and 3) repurposing leftovers into another dish is a much nicer way to reduce food waste then just reheating the same thing again.
If gaining more time in your day and reducing food waste by repurposing leftovers sounds appealing, here are some of my favorite ways to do it by type of leftover:
I love to use them in burritos, quesadillas, baked chimichangas, loaded grilled cheese sandwiches, and grain salads.
I like to throw together a grain salad with veggies, bits and pieces of protein, and a salad dressing, or to use them in a fried rice/quinoa/couscous; or mix them into soups and stews.
I use diced up leftover protein (e.g., chicken, steak, tofu, beans, etc.) in all of the ideas listed above, but also added to pasta sauces, or as a topping on homemade pizza.
I like to use leftover sauces as a dip for veggies, as a topping for toast or bruschetta, or mixed into soup.
I add it to smoothies, mix it with a pinch of sugar and use it as a topping on plain yogurt, or add it to my bowl of granola in the morning.
Do you have favorite ways to use up leftovers? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! If reducing food waste or having ongoing inspiration for dinner sounds appealing, try a two-week free trial of our online meal planning service to see how simple getting dinner on the table can be.