If you and your family are trying to be budget-conscious, you may wonder what meals you can make with leftovers. This can help prevent food waste as well as save money. Fortunately, there are several options for meals that you can recreate with household staples. Read on to discover what they are and how you can make them at home.
How do you use leftovers to make the most important meal of the day without spending extra money? You can use plenty of groceries to create something that is both healthy and affordable. Here are a few ideas.
Have leftover fruit that’s about to go bad? You can opt for a healthy breakfast and create your very own smoothies. They are both affordable and kid-friendly. Additionally, they are a healthy alternative to a carb-loaded breakfast.
An egg muffin is one of the best meals you can make with leftovers. Mix your egg, leftover veggies, and any cheese or meat that you’d like to add in a bowl. Then, pour the mixture into a muffin pan and cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Egg muffins are great for on-the-go meals or mid-morning snacks and are loaded with protein.
Use up the extra rice from last night’s dinner by adding a bit of honey or agave and a handful of berries or cinnamon to it to create a sweet rice pudding. You can enjoy your rice pudding warm or cool. Use a splash of coconut to bring hydration back to the rice if it’s been in the fridge for a while.
Potatoes can be filling at night and end up getting stored in the fridge. You can cook an egg in the morning and add potatoes while adding a few leftover ingredients to create a hearty breakfast skillet.
Perhaps everyone’s favorite meal of the day is brunch, especially on weekends. If you’re looking for something to make with the flair of a farmer’s market, there are plenty of ways to get creative. Here are a few ideas on how to make this breakfast-lunch combo meal with elements that you already have.
Crust and eggs are the two fundamentals of quiche. You then have the freedom to add any lingering vegetables, spices, or a variety of cheeses to it. Most recipes call for a splash of milk or cream and can be cooked in less than an hour. Have fun and get creative with your quiche.
If you have extra fruits that you need to use, a sweet crepe might be a quick and easy way for you to make a meal with leftovers. Crepe mix calls for butter, flour, milk, and eggs, which are common kitchen staples. You can put anything from peanut butter to fruit in yours, or choose to make it savory and add elements from the previous evening’s salad or dinner to yours.
If you have bananas lying around that are nearly expired, you can create easy protein pancakes. Add bananas, oats, and eggs to yours for a high-protein hit. Not only will you satisfy your appetite but you may have energy that will last throughout the day.
Similar to a quiche, the base of a frittata is eggs. Add your leftover meat, cheese, or vegetables to your eggs, a bit of milk or cream, and bake until it’s cooked through. You can use whatever spices or ingredients you have to make this dish uniquely yours.
If you are trying to stick to your budget and take your lunch on-the-go, it can be challenging to come up with new and exciting meals. Here are a few meals you can make with leftovers to take with you for lunch.
Last Night’s Dinner
While this might be the most obvious use of your leftovers, don’t be afraid to pack up your previous evening’s meal for lunch the following day. If you have access to a stovetop, you can opt to reheat your meal in a pan rather than a microwave to preserve some of the flavors.
If you’re near the end of a couple of cheeses, you may want to combine them and make a grilled cheese sandwich. You can also add vegetables or meat to make it a heartier meal.
Sometimes people use half of a vegetable for a meal and are left wondering what to do with the rest. You can save these half-portions and use them in a salad. Additionally, if you have leftover meat, you can cut it up to add to the salad. If you have leftover bread, you can let it dry overnight and use it as croutons.
If you have vegetables that are ready to go bad, you can add it to beans and tomato paste to create a chili. You could even put it all in the crockpot after dinner to have ready to put into individual containers to take for lunches on-the-go.
Dinner is the perfect time to bond with your family and reflect on your day. But this doesn’t mean you have to make an elaborate meal every night. There are plenty of dinner-like meals you can make with your leftovers that will save you time and money.
If you’re left with a few vegetables or cheese, you can buy a pizza crust and use the last of your ingredients here. It’s always fun to experiment with new combinations. Making pizzas is also a fun family activity that everyone may enjoy.
You can add your leftover vegetables and meat to a large pan, then add soy sauce to create your own stir fry. This recipe is also particularly healthy when prepared with low-sodium soy sauce.
You don’t have to go to a Mexican restaurant to have great tacos. Just use whatever meats, cheeses, and vegetables you have on hand to create your favorite folded food in the comfort of your kitchen.
Lasagna is a great way to either repurpose leftover cooked vegetables or use the last of the fresh ones you have. Additionally, lasagna is great regardless of which cheese you choose to use, so it can be a good way to use what’s in your dairy drawer as well.
Sometimes, it’s easy to toss some vegetables in spices and oil and bake them in the oven. This is an easy way to use several vegetables and is a simple, yet yummy meal to make. You can also make quinoa or rice to eat with the vegetables.
Of course, you can use what you have around the house outside of just mealtime. Here are a few ideas for how you can use your leftovers at snack time.
You can put your leftover vegetables, meats, and cheese on top of tortilla chips to make nachos. Nachos are a big hit with kids and adults alike.
While not often filling enough for a meal, soup is an easy way to get some use out of your vegetables. If it’s not hearty enough, you may want to add milk to the broth or even pasta to your broth.
If you’re down to the last piece of bread, the last half of an avocado, or similar ingredients, an open-faced sandwich might be a perfect snack for you. You may want to also consider a tuna salad sandwich or using the other ingredients that you have available to create a healthy snack.
The Bottom Line
Food is often one of our biggest expenses and is one of the easiest to cut back on when you’re trying to maximize every dollar. You can cut down on food waste and be budget-friendly by making creative meals with the food you have at home. Now that you have ideas for meals you can make with leftovers, what will you whip up?