Recycling Grub: Best Leftover Recipes

Editor’s Note: This is a contribution from one our content partners, Divine Caroline.

By Allison Fishman of MainStreet for

One of my favorite dinners as a kid was “leftover night,” when my parents would resurrect the greatest hits from the previous week.

Only now do I realize they were not only serving me delicious encores, they were also saving money on grocery bills.

By high school I was a leftover epicure. I knew which leftover dishes were better cold (lo mein and pizza), which improved when microwaved (stews and chili’s), and how to morph certain leftovers into a totally different dish, even better than the first.

Here are six of my favorite recyclable meals:

1. The Leftover Sandwich

Everyone knows that the best meal of Thanksgiving weekend isn’t Thursday supper, but Friday lunch, where you slather one piece of toast with mayo, another with cranberry sauce, and fill the space between with leftover turkey, stuffing, and gravy.

Other roasted meats lend themselves to leftover sandwiches, including leftover roast chicken and beef. And let’s not forget about the classic Cuban sandwich, which combines leftover roast pork loin, pickles, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese, all pressed until the bread is toasty and the cheese melty.

2. Lasagna

Experts and home cooks agree that lasagna is definitely a second-day dish. The CEO of Moles, Inc. (aka stay-at-home mom) Jennifer Moles cooks for her family every night: “Lasagna is a bit too runny when you first make it, but is just the right consistency after it’s had time to settle.”

Cook book editor and gourmet chef Sara Newberry agrees. “On the first night lasagna always seems too liquid-y…after one night in the fridge it’s always better,” she says.

3. Steak and Potatoes

Reheated steak is not a good thing. But when you dine at a steakhouse, they always serve too much, leaving you with a meat hangover. Don’t gorge yourself. Take half your meal home and use the leftovers to make breakfast hash.

Heat some oil in a skillet or on a flat top griddle, and add cooked potatoes and chopped onions. Flatten the potatoes to get a nice crispy edge, add Worcestershire, ketchup and hot sauce. Next, add chopped up steak (or bits of chorizo, cooked bacon, or corned beef), and warm through. Top the hash with a poached egg, which will make a drippy gooey sauce and bring the dish together.

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