Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Creativity and lots and lots of ideas for leftovers.

In my friend Angie's blog check it out here she was talking about people not having creativity and that she went to the grocery store and saw the person ahead of her buying over $200 of food that is not healthy like frozen dinners, french fries, frozen pizza etc and that she saw nothing healthy.  She was stating that people need to focus a little more on what they feed their families and themselves... I made a comment that I used to have one afternoon on my day off that I would cook alot and have a bunch of stuff for the week when it was crazy busy...I told her I was gonna brainstorm and come up with some basic ideas.  Here are what to do with the leftovers.. look later this week on the cooking one afternoon and eating all week.  None of these things take more than 30 minutes (except the potpie depending on your oven).... there is no excuse to eat bad.... plan ahead... I used to shoot for eating at home 5 days a week, eating take out one day and then maybe going out to dinner one day a week... come up with whatever works for you...It's not hard and I welcome your comments or do you get creative and how do you get dinner on the table quick.....

Ideas for leftover Chili:

Chili Topped baked potatoes:(microwave cleaned potatoes poked with a fork until soft), heat leftover chili and spoon over potatoes, sprinkle with grated cheese and microwave until cheese is melted.  Serve with sour cream & green onions (optional).. also crushed fritos on top are yummy too...
Chili Mac: Boil macaroni according to package directions in salted water, drain.  Mix with leftover chili heating until hot.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve.
Frito Pie: In oven safe dish line bottom of dish with fritos, heat chili and spoon over the top. Sprinkle grated cheese over top and bake (or microwave) until cheese is hot.  Serve with sour cream
Chili Dogs:  In frying pan melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat add hot dogs, cook turning until hot add chili and cook until chili is heated through and bubbly.  Serve in hotdog buns, with mustard and onions. 
Nachos: Preheat broiler.  Place aluminum foil on baking sheet.  Heat chili in microwave. Line sheet with tortilla chips.  Spoon heated chili over chips.  Sprinkle with lots of grated cheese and place under broiler (watch carefully) until cheese is melted.  Serve with sour cream, jalapenos and hot sauce...
Taco Salad: Heat chili.  In large bowl place a bag of precut salad mix.  Add washed halved baby tomatoes, sliced green onions.  Spoon over chili.  Add shredded cheese.  Top with french or ranch dressing and crushed Dorito chips.  Serve immediately with additonal chips.

Chicken leftovers:

Chicken pot pie:  Mix together, 2 cups shredded leftover chicken, 3/4 cup milk, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 cup cooked veggies ( can use leftovers, 1 can drained mixed veggies or 1 cup frozen veggies, thawed( splash of worchester sauce and seasonings of your choice.  Place in greased dish.  Mix 2 cups bisquick, sprinkle of garlic & onion powder, 1 egg  and 1 cup milk pour over chicken mixture bake at 400 for about 30 minutes or until done. 

Chicken enchiladas: 3 cups shredded cooked enchiladas, 3 cans mild enchilada sauce, 1 small can tomato sauce, seasonings of your choice,1 pkg torillas, shredded cheese.  In saucepan  mix  2 cans enchilada sauce (our 1/4 cup in bottom of oven safe dish), tomato sauce seasoning and chicken heat through.  On plate (for easy cleanup) place torilla and 2-3 tablespoonfuls of chicken mixture sprinkle with cheese roll up.  Place seam side down in dish continue until all torillas are used. Pour remaining can enchilada sauce on top sprinkle with cheese and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. 

Chicken Ceasar Salad:  Take leftover cooked chicken heat thru sprinkle with seasonings of your choice.  Place over bagged salad mix.  Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese and drizzle with bottled ceasar salad dressing and cracked pepper.

Black Bean, corn & chicken enchiladas:  Mix 2 cups heated cooked shredded chicken, one can each drained and rinsed black beans & corn.  Add 2 cups salsa,a pinch of sugar, seasonings of your choice.    Roll about 3 tablespoonfuls up in a warmed tortilla, sprinkle with cheese .  You can also skip the torillas and serve this mixture spooned over mixed salad green & tomatoes.  Drizzle with your favorite dressing and sprinkle with cheese.  Eat with warmed torillas.

Chicken Salad: 3 cups shredded cooked chicken, 1/4 cup each finely diced onion & celery, 1/2 tsp mustard 3/4 cup mayo and seasonings of your choice ( I use garlic powder, onion powder, Mrs. Dash, seasoned salt & pepper) 2 T. of either banana pepper juice, or dill pickle juice.  Mix well and serve on lettuce lined rolls, or bread of your choice (or you can use a wrap)

BBQ Chicken pizza:  2 cups shredded chicken, BBQ sauce, 1/2 finely diced onion, shredded mozerella cheese, your favorite pizza crust or can use a pre-baked shell.  Spread BBQ sauce over pizza crust, sprinkle cheese over top, sprinkle chicken and onions over top.  Bake until pizza crust is done and cheese is melted.

Easy Chicken fried rice:  3 cups leftover rice, 1 1/2 cup shredded chicken, 1/2 cup frozen peas & carrots mixed, green onion tops thinly sliced, 3 T. soy sauce, 2 T. sesame ginger marinade ( I use lawry's find it in the bbq/ketchup sauce aisle), 1 t. brown sugar, 1 clove garlic minced salt & pepper to taste, 1 beaten egg.  In large skillet place 2 T. olive oil heat add, garlic cooking for around 1 minute, add chicken heating through..  add remaining ingredients (except egg & green onion tops) stir around and saute until hot and heated thru.  I sometimes add a little more soy sauce and sesame ginger marinade.  Move rice around making a small well in the middle of the mixture add 1 teaspoon of butter and melt.  Add beaten egg and stir (just in the well leaving the rice mixture alone) cooking egg.  When egg is done mix all together and add green onion tops. Taste and adjust salt & pepper if needed.

Meatloaf leftovers:

Meatloaf sandwiches:  Spread bread with mayo.  Slice cold meatloaf and sprinkle with seasoned salt & pepper.  Place on bread.  Eat with a dip made of equal parts mayo & ketchup & a splash of hot sauce. Serve chips and coleslaw on side.

Tacos:  Crumble leftover meatloaf in a skillet drizzled with olive oil.  Sprinkle with a packet of taco seasoning mix, and a little ground cumin, and 1/4 cup beef broth.  Serve with tortillas or corn shells, and taco fixings.

Spaghetti:  Crumble leftover meatloaf adding a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce.  Serve over cooked pasta and sprinkle with mozarella and parmesan cheese.  Serve with salad and garlic bread.

Roast Beef or Pork Ideas:

Shredded BBQ sandwiches:Take shredded meat and mix with BBQ sauce and a little ketchup, mustard, worchester sauce and a splash of hot sauce. Serve on buns, with mustard and a little onion (my husband likes cheese not me :)

Shredded Pulled meat tacos: Take shredded meat, can of enchilada sauce, hot sauce, pinch of sugar and a samall can tomato sauce, sprinkle with cumin, paprika & chili powder.  Serve in tortillas with lettuce, tomato and cheese.

Stew:  Take one box of beef broth, a couple of cups of shredded meat, 1/2 package of frozen mixed vegetables, 1 package dried onion soup mix, splash of wine (optional) seasonings of your choice. Add all ingredients and simmer until hot and bubbly for simmer for around 10 minutes.  Add dumplings (think Bisquick ) or noodles and cook until done.


  1. It is no wonder we get along so well...we cook the same way. I will use left-overs and turn them into other meals until they are gone. Great post Joelle!! I hope everyone soaks up your advice.

  2. Thanks my friend.... I was just talking to another friend who was saying that it was expensive to eat good and too hard to cook... I am helping her (little does she know it yet;) how to plan ahead and make a food shopping list & budget.... like we both said prioritize...and plan your health & family are worth it....