Leftovers. Some like them, some don’t. I like to make extra food to have a break from cooking. After maybe three nights of good meals I will pull everything from the refrigerator and proclaim C.O.R.N.- Clean Out Refrigerator Night. My kids seem to like it as it gives them control over what they are eating for dinner, or so they think. We have a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as some of the main dishes from previous nights. What does not get eaten on C.O.R.N. usually gets packed for lunches, put in the freezer, or tossed if we have had it to death.

I cleaned out my refrigerator today and was dismayed to find small cubes of cheese or small bits of vegetables gone to pot. I feel bad about that because I am usually careful not to waste. I had to throw out some small jars of ingredients that I used one time only. I need to make sure I am using the entire jar from now on. With food costs rising I need to be more diligent with using leftovers. Himself does well to take them to the office for lunch but I think we could do even better.

My Ma used to use leftovers in Leftover Soup. It was quite scary really. She dumped a weeks worth of leftovers in a big pot and made soup. You never knew what you were going to get from bite to bite, especially if it was a week of a variety of dishes from raviolis, to ham and cabbage, to grilled chicken. Some of these were frightful soups. Sorry Ma but they were, admit it! But I have to say some of them were great, like I said it depended on the week of meals. My children were happy to hear that I was not going to take this path. I like Hash. A stir-fry of leftover meat with veggies and cubed potatoes. I made it for them the other day and they liked it, maybe because it had a side of cheese sauce to help it go down.

How do you use up leftovers? Share some creative ways with the rest of us. I could use some inspiration!


  1. FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    I find rotisserie chicken is the easiest to dress up and re-use in a variety of ways and cuisines after its first use — cacciatore, quesadilla, stir fry, chili (see my current post), etc. And, the best news is…it freezes well so you needn’t fear an episode of clucking after multiple chicken dishes in a week.

  2. Nicole
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

    Well your photo makes your leftover look good. I don’t mind eating them too much but can only handle a meal twice in one week. My husband won’t eat leftovers and I feel like we waste sooo much food. I call it hodge podge night when I start pulling things out and we all kind of eat whatever.

  3. Stacey Snacks
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    For me, it’s clean out freezer night. COFN ?
    I just found a year old container of frozen veal stock.
    Is it too old to use? I hate to throw it away, it would make a soup soooo yummy!

  4. Kate
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    It looks great! My method is a bit of a cross between your ma’s soup (my grandmother did that) and your hash. Depending on how much freezer space I have available, I usually keep a plastic ice cube tray reserved for leftovers. A dip of gravy in one cube, a piec eof ravioli in another, a bit of herbed rice in another, etc etc. It goes back into the freezer with each addition. In that manner, every time I want to stir up a pot of leftover soup or hash, I can take out that tray and pop out some cubes of leftover food, but avoid that one item that doesn’t work — like a cube of pizza sauce in an omelette or skillet hash. Nope, wouldn’t work! For soup, I can pop out ALL the cubes if they work, or just a few. Generally works pretty well.

  5. Karen
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    We’re big on leftovers in our house. Chicken, pork, game, beef always turns into burritos on Saturday mornings. My problem seems to be in not just eating the leftovers, but *making* a new dish with the leftovers… which leaves me with (you got it)… leftovers!LOL

  6. grahamstravelblog
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

    Hash works well and it goes well with those homemade tortillas that store well in the freezer if you have leftovers of those (large zip bag).

    What I want to know is how you had leftovers from Rockland’s that weren’t gone in a day or two. That just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Leftover chicken from making chicken soup turns into chicken salad for lunches fairly quickly. That’s what I’m having for lunch today.

  7. noble pig
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

    Okay I’m laughing-gagging at the leftover soup…that is frightful but hysterical.

    I am not creative with leftovers but with leftover salmon I’ll make pasta alfredo with salmon or salmon salad sandwiches. With rotisserie chicken I’ll make a gravy the next day or chicken tacos or quesadillas.

  8. That Girl
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

    I’ve actually been doing a pretty good job of not having leftovers or anything to clean out of my fridge!

  9. Grace
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    leftover soup? that does have the potential to be pretty unsavory. 🙂
    i love your abbreviation for this “event”–way to make it fun. 🙂

  10. Theresa
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 3:40 PM | Permalink

    When I have left over veggies, I make a frittata to use them up, or you could make a quiche.

  11. Robin Sue
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    Hey everyone- Lots and lots or great ideas here that I must use in the future. I forget about the simple things like frittatas, quiches, and burritos. Great uses for the smae ole same ole. Thanks for commenting I appreciate everyone’s imput always!!

  12. Caroline
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    Just confiscated Michael’s computer to check out all the blogging people

    see ya soon:)

  13. dethmonger
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    Back when I was a kid Mom used to make croquettes from leftovers – always with some kind of meat, but adding whatever else was in the refrigerator. She ran it all through one of those hand-cranked grinders that clamped onto the table before forming and frying them.

    No matter what went into them, they always tasted pretty much the same. I actually liked them!

  14. Robin Sue
    Posted November 12, 2008 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    Dethmonger- That is a good idea! I will have to remember that one! Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Hélène
    Posted January 23, 2015 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    Leftovers? What is this thing you call leftovers? ;0
    Even if its not eaten that meal, it’s surely scarfed down the next — if it doesn’t get snacked on first. (my kids will eat ANYthing for snacks)
    Leftovers, I would love leftovers…
    I have been trying to make extra veggies at dinner so I can have them later or at lunch next day. If my 9yo knows there’s anything left tho, “I’m starving still, Mom!”; she has been a bottomless pit from day 1. Her sister is right on her heels. Both are actually skinny. Go figure lol

    • Robin Sue
      Posted January 23, 2015 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

      I hear you! They eat all the leftovers at the actual meal! Sometimes I have to make extra and hide it just so I have something to serve for lunch the next day. So difficult to keep them full!!

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