Creating Recipes using Leftovers

Cooking every day for a family inevitably means leftovers. Those of us who cook every day learn many creative uses for leftovers. This article looks at some of those ways to use leftovers and suggests principles for creating recipes for left overs, as an alternative to focusing on just getting them used up.

When we begin cooking for ourselves, we often freeze leftovers, carry them to work in an insulated bag, and use the office microwave to enjoy a favorite meal warmed over for lunch later in the week.

The longer we cook, the more likely we are to use leftovers to up the interest factor in morning omelets or salads for lunch. Leftovers can become a staple for quick and easy dinners. Leftover vegetables add nutrition and interest to a can of soup or a box salad greens. Leftover beans, grains and meat become the main ingredients in stews or casseroles.

More cooking experience often leads to trying more complex recipes, and having more interesting leftovers, but finding recipes for leftovers is sometimes difficult and often humorous. For example, a quick Google search for leftover roast pork turned up a recipe for duck, a casserole recipe which used a cup of mayonnaise, and a site which required users to download a plugin.

Experienced cooks have likely created every omelet, salad, stew, or casserole you can imagine from leftovers, and can be a great resource for ideas. For example, there are some nice recipes for leftovers at Now it’s time to create some leftovers recipes yourself.

Here are two principles for improvising recipes for leftovers:

1. Think about the eating needs and habits of your family. For example, do you have children who need school lunches every day? Do you have vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians in your family?
2. Think of the leftovers as raw ingredients for a recipe, rather than as left over.
Here is an example of creating recipes for leftovers using those principles:

Principle 1: eating needs and habits of your family. For a family with four children who need school lunch, and two of whom are vegetarian and two are not. For Thanksgiving dinner serve roast turkey and roasted mycoprotein loaf, with enough leftovers to make some interesting lunches for school the next week.

Principle 2: think of the leftovers as raw ingredients. Mycoprotein has a mild mushroom flavor, so find flavors that compliment it, and create a unique sandwich filling. As a bonus, all of the complimentary flavors are also nice with turkey. You can chop enough vegetables for four sandwiches, separate the mix into two batches before adding the turkey or mycoprotein, and build the sandwiches the same way. This is a suggested combination:

1. Turkey-Veggie Wrap OR Microprotein Veggie Wrap

    a. Add ingredients until it looks right, you can vary to suit yourtastes.
    b. Chopped: mycroprotein loaf, red radishes, cucumber, orange peppers
    c. Freshly minced parsley
    d. Shredded fresh parmesan.
    e. Wrap in red lettuce leaves
    f. Wrap in spinach flatbread.
    g. Options:

i. Arugula in place of red lettuce.
ii. chives or thyme instead of parsley
iii. add garlic or shallots
Using leftovers can mean simply re-heating them for another meal, or adding them to omelets, salads, soups, stews, or casseroles. Creating recipes for leftovers uses your knowledge of your eating needs and habits, your imagination and leftovers used as raw ingredients to create one-of-a-kind recipes. Keep your eating interesting. More recipes for leftovers can be found at

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