11 Uplifting Leftover Ideas



After fixing a hearty meal to feed your family, it’s likely that you’re too full to think about leftovers. But leftover food can extend the tasty feast throughout the week with yummy, bite-size reminders of your scrumptious cooking. Get creative with what’s left on the stove with leftover dishes and treats that are perfect for healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

BBQ Pizza Leftovers

Mix and match leftover fixings to create a tangy pizza surprise for the entire family. Skover recommends using leftover sausage and veggies to whip up a BBQ pizza. Prepare pizza dough, smother with BBQ sauce, top with sausage and veggies and heat until crisp. This leftover creation will jump start the perfect pizza party.


Chili Surprise

Don’t let those leftover hamburgers go to waste. Use the meat to make a chili dish that will warm your family’s bellies, says Skover. Simply combine hamburger meat with beans, onions, tomato sauce, peppers and chili powder to taste. Spice up this tangy leftover dish with jalapenos or keep it mild for those with sensitive taste buds.


Philly Steak Bagel

After a night of grilling, savor that lean steak once again for lunch the next day. Use leftover steak to create a Philly Steak bagel sandwich like no other. Simply toast a bagel and top with steak meat, grilled onions and cheese for a melt-in-your mouth leftover lunch.


Breakfast Goodies

Serve up a healthy option this season with leftover veggies and breakfast goodies. Sharon Richter, a New York-based registered dietitian and certified dietetic nutritionist, recommends adding broccoli and Brussels sprouts to egg white omelets. “It provides needed vitamins and minerals in addition to fiber,” Richter says. Personalize your veggie omelet by using the leftover vegetables of your choice.


Chicken Sensations

After a scrumptious meal of chicken breasts, keep the taste alive with this creative chicken concoction. Richter recommends dicing chicken into cubes and combining with low fat yogurt, currants and dill for the perfect chicken salad. Vary the recipe by mixing in ham or turkey with salsa and shredded lettuce in a soft tortilla. Toss with seeded mustard and serve.


Fruity Options

Don’t let that fruit salad sour and go to waste. Instead, use them to spruce up fruity drinks, Richter suggests. Combine grapes, strawberries and pineapple with low-fat milk and ice in the blender to create smoothies and shakes. Add fruit juice to sweeten the beverage to your liking.


Baby’s Delight

Don’t forget the little ones when assessing your leftovers. Consider mashing up fruits, veggies and meats to create yummy, homemade baby food. From peaches and bananas to green beans and stewed carrots, you can easily provide a healthy leftover meal for the little one in your life.


Salad Toppers

Steak may have been the staple of your dinner, but the tender bites don’t have to end there. Get the iron your body needs by adding leftover steak to spinach salad, Richter suggests. Or, mix romaine lettuce, leftover steak, mozzarella cheese, garlic powder and green bell peppers for a Philly cheesesteak salad to highlight a tasty meal.


Sweet Tarts

Sweeten up your next meal with tasty tarts made from leftover sweets from your family feast. Use leftover pie crust and dough and simply fill with a topping of your choice, such as cranberries or strawberries from leftover fruit salad. Bake until the tart is brown and savor the sweetness of the meal after it's over.


Next-Day Soup

Take the chill out of the chilly weather by warming up with leftover soup. Combine veggies, beef or chicken broth, salt, pepper and shredded turkey or chicken for a chunky surprise. Spice up the recipe with red pepper flakes or add substance with white beans. Nothing beats a hot bowl of soup with the flavors of a memorable meal from the night before.


Open-Face Turkey Sandwiches

If you have leftovers from a family get-together or holiday celebration, don’t let that juicy turkey go to waste. Spruce up lunches with an open-faced turkey sandwich that's under 400 calories, recommends Sophie Skover, author of “The Continuous Appetite.” Combine one slice of whole wheat bread, two ounces of turkey, 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce spread and 1/3 cup of green bean casserole and dig in.