What to do with Leftovers?


Some of us love them, some of us hate them, but almost everyone struggles with creative things to do with them.

Leftovers can be a big pain and can end up being a big waste of food too. It seems like the story of "what to do with these leftovers" always ends one of three ways: save them and microwave them later in the week (which never taste too good), save them and forget about them (and have to throw away some old food in a few days - what a waste), or just throw them out right now (don't delay the inevitable?). 

The way that we all seem to handle leftovers leaves something to be desired. Why do we have to either eat soggy, microwaved foods or throw them away? Here are 3 cooking hacks that can help make your leftovers delicious and help you waste less food. 

1. The sides make all the difference

Even when not using the microwave to reheat food (so doing it right in the oven or on the stove top), eating the same thing a couple times during 1 week can get pretty repetitive. 

The easiest way to freshen up some leftovers is to make some new sides to go with it. Try making an easy salad or sautéing up a hearty vegetable like kale. The sides are a super easy to make sure that your tastebuds are entertained and that you're introducing a wide variety of produce into your diet. 

Make sure to add liquid, like oil or water, when reheating the leftovers - you don't want them to dry out!

2. Brand new works too

If you have more time, another great way to use leftovers is to make a completely new dish out of them. This requires a little more creativity than cooking up some sides, and maybe a few pantry staples, but it also means that you won't have to eat the exact same main dish again. The best bets for this are to turn the leftovers into a brand new soup, salad, or casserole. 

The dishes you can make will depend a lot on the original dish that's leftover. For some inspiration on specific dishes to make checkout Big Oven's 'Use Up Leftovers' tool. Click here to give it a try.

3. A plan before you even begin cooking

The best way to waste less food is to have as few leftovers as possible. And this requires planning or at least knowing how much everyone you're cooking for is probably going to eat. 

By portioning out your meals according to everyone's 'stomach size' you can save a ton of time and a ton of ingredients, freeing you up to make completly new dishes from scratch throughout the week. Only going to use three quarters of that package of chicken for tonight's dinner? Save the rest and use it in a salad tomorrow! 

Knowing your eaters and know your portions for less waste and more variety in your weekly meals.