Giving leftovers a face-lift

The default now at our house is to eat dinner at home, which I love because it means that we know exactly what we’re eating, we save money, and we eat healthy food. So when I cook, I make large amounts so the leftovers can provide my weekday lunches and more than one dinner. But I never just eat the leftovers straight—I always embellish them.  Here are a couple of ways I do that:

  • Combine leftovers. For example, we cook a big batch of garlicky beet greens, chard, collards, kale, and/or spinach on Sundays to go with our eggs. During the week, I microwave the cooked greens with other leftovers and top with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for crunch. Or, if I have leftover seasoned beans, I mix them with a previously prepared pasta or rice dish or veggie stew and top with salsa, mustard aioli, or pesto. It’s amazing how diverse leftovers can taste good together. I’ve tried all kinds of unlikely combos, and they all work (maybe because I like my own cooking!).
  • Add fresh ingredients. For example, I microwave my leftovers and then add a chopped fresh tomato. Or I’ll microwave some fresh broccoli or cauliflower, mix that with a previous meal that is sitting in the fridge, and top with nuts, seeds, and/or diced tofu and hot sauce or other seasoning. I’m also known for heating up leftovers and then mixing in Little Gem or Romaine lettuce for some juicy, slightly warm green crunch.

Don’t be shy—give it a try.

What are your strategies for using leftovers?

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