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how to use leftovers to create new meals

Create leftovers purposefully.
When you’re planning meals, think about what the extras can become. It’s a real time- and budget-saver: If you prepare twice the vegetables you’ll need for tonight’s dinner, you’ll have the starting point for a soup or pasta dish later in the week. Anticipate using leftover roast chicken on sandwiches; cook twice as much rice as you need and freeze the extra for later use.

Store leftovers smartly.
Glass storage containers are not only reusable and sustainable; they allow you to see what’s inside. That way, you’re less likely to lose track of leftovers. For freezing, use zip-top gallon bags (which can be washed and re-used), and label and date the contents on a piece of tape.

Dedicate a leftovers night.
If you find your fridge or freezer stuffed to the gills with leftover food, commit to “eating down the fridge” one night a week.

Turn dinner into lunch.
Another money- and time-saver for busy people: Stash a lunch-able portion of dinner in a container and pack it for lunch the next day. With a bit of planning and no extra effort, you can create a week’s worth of healthful take-it-to-work lunches.

Think “ingredients,” not “leftovers.”
Turn extra pasta or cooked vegetables into a frittata. Blend cooked vegetables with a can of whole tomatoes and create a veggie-packed sauce for pasta. Create burritos with leftover cooked rice, meat and vegetables, and top them with sour cream and salsa.

Make soup.
The steamed, roasted or grilled vegetables that you served as a side dish one night can become soup on another day. In a blender, puree the vegetables with 3 or 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth, then warm the soup in a pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and finish the soup with a bit of pesto, olive oil or croutons.