11 ways to trick out your leftovers

Not everyone finds joy in eating bowl after bowl of the same thing. Show those leftovers who's boss by repurposing them into something else delicious.

11 ways to trick out your leftovers

Photo: Roberto Caruso

Leftover roast

Leftover roast can find a happy home tucked into a taco. If you’re feeling a little wild, try turning your leftovers into a ragout that can be spread over lasagna noodles like in our Easy Braised Lasagna recipe. But our vote goes to tacos. Always tacos. Get the recipe inspiration: Braised Beef Tacos

corn tortilla with braised beef, avocado and lettuce

Leftover mashed potatoes

Yeah, yeah, this one is the oldest trick in the book. But leftover mashed potatoes make shepherd’s pie a no-brainer. This recipe changes the channel on tradition by adding roasted eggplant to the ground lamb. We are into it. Get the recipe inspiration: Moussaka Meets Shepherd’s Pie

individual dishes of moussaka shepherd's pie with lamb and eggplantPhoto: Ryan Szulc


Leftover chicken

Mac and cheese is delicious on its own, but if you want to really kick it up a notch on a weeknight, try adding leftover roasted chicken. Shredded up inside a creamy-cheesy sauce, your kids won’t even be fussed by the broccoli. Get the recipe inspiration: Mac and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

Pot of mac and cheese shells with florets of broccoliPhoto: Roberto Caruso

Leftover vegetables

You like to roast your veggies because they’re candy-sweet that way. We get it. If you have any lingerers—think carrots, cauliflower and potato—throw it in a soup. Use this simple recipe as your inspiration, subbing your roasters (steamed can work, too) in for frozen veg. Get the recipe inspiration: Easy Blended Vegetable Soup

bowl of vegetable soup with croutons

Leftover bolognese

You went to all that effort of making a thick and rich bolognese, but those broad noodles aren’t the only things worthy of its sauce. Heap some onto a toasted bun for sloppy Joes. The children in your home will rejoice. Get the recipe inspiration: Sloppy Joes

Two sloppy joes on platesPhoto: Roberto Caruso


SPONSORED: Sriracha Grilled Turkey

Get the recipe: Siracha Grilled Turkey 

grilled turkey on a bed of lettucePhoto courtesy of Ontario Turkey

Leftover steak

Whoa, you made a nice steak dinner! Those medium-rare strips can live a whole other life wrapped up in crisp lettuce with rice, thinly sliced veg and a tangy sauce. Get the recipe inspiration: Leftover Steak and Lettuce Roll-Ups

Strips of steak on boston lettuce with strips of carrot and cucumber with rice and a teriyaki sauce

Leftover chili

Chili is mighty fine in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream, chopped green onion and an excessive amount of cheese, but it can get boring. Spruce up that big batch of chili you made by tucking it into burritos or enchiladas. You won’t regret it. Get the recipe inspiration: Turkey and Bean Burrito

plate with burrito and saladPhoto: Andrew Grinton


Leftover chana masala

Chickpea curries are where it’s at. They’re fragrant, not-too-spicy, loaded with protein and a perfect vegetarian dish to please the masses. Let it shine in more ways than just on top of rice by wrapping heated leftover chana masala in a roti or flatbread with baby spinach and a dollop of plain yogurt. Get the recipe inspiration: Springtime Roti

roti filled with chickpeas and vegetablesPhoto: Michael Alberstat

Leftover ham

If you’ve made a ham, chances are you’re rolling in the leftovers. Go old-school by piling it between pillowy white bread with a smear of mustard, adding it to a split pea soup, or improving your breakfast-for-dinner game with a frittata. Get the recipe inspiration: Baked Ham and Cheese Frittata

frying pan with baked frittata in it

Leftover fish sticks

Last night’s fish sticks aren’t complaining about being tomorrow’s fish sandwich. Pack the components separately so your little sous chef can assemble it himself like a boss (and because then it won’t be soggy and gross). Get the recipe inspiration: Crispy Fish Sandwich

Lunchbox with fried fish on a bun with lettuce and tartar sauce and side of homemade picklesPhoto: Jodi Pudge

Read more:
5 easy recipes to batch cook this weekend
15 recipe projects to take on this weekend
12 hearty-but-healthy recipes for weeknight dinners

This article was originally published on Mar 03, 2019

Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners

I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Amy is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto, Ontario. Her work can also be found in publications like Chatelaine, Toronto Life and The Globe and Mail