18 Smart Ways To Use Up All That Leftover Food In Your Fridge

No one likes wasting food, but sometimes opening the refrigerator door reveals a hodgepodge of food items that don’t seem to be the makings of a delicious meal! Don’t worry—we’ve got your back. If you’re living on a budget or simply hate to throw food away, here are 18 super-savvy ways to make the most of whatever food you have lingering in your fridge.

Frittatas or Omelets

Photo Credit: Chatham172/Shutterstock.

Eggs are a nutritious and versatile ingredient that can form the basis of a tasty meal for any time of day—breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Because eggs lack a strong taste, Sudden Lunch says you can add almost any leftover items to omelets or frittatas—cheese, meat, vegetables, and even leftover pasta, rice, or bread!

Broth

Photo Credit: Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.

If you find yourself constantly discarding old vegetables, peels, and meat bones, try collecting them in a freezer bag instead. Once full, simmer the contents in salted water with some herbs and make your own flavorful broth. Zero Waste Chef recommends using it to make soups or sauces or as a tasty cooking method for other foods like beans, vegetables, and pasta.

Stir-Fries

Photo Credit: jyk20180915/Shutterstock.

Stir-frying is great if you have various leftover food items and not a lot of time to cook. You can use various ingredients, from vegetables, meat, and grains to rice, quinoa, and beans. Just grab a wok and keep yourself well stocked with oil, seasoning, and spices. Easy!

Soups and Stews

Photo Credit: Anna_Pustynnikova/Shutterstock.

Open the fridge, say what you see, and then add the word ‘soup’ to the end. It’s as simple as that! Soup Addict says that soups and stews are very forgiving dishes that accommodate almost any leftover ingredient, from vegetables that are past their best to the last scraps of meat from a roast. And if the texture of your creation seems odd, you can always blend it until smooth.

Smoothies and Juices

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Overripe fruits or salad greens that are no longer crisp can all be used to make easy and nutritious smoothies and juices. While preventing waste is an obvious benefit, you’ll also be taking in plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well as increasing your daily hydration.

You can even add yogurt or milk for extra protein and calcium.

Casseroles

Photo Credit: AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock.

Casseroles have a talent for taking a bunch of unrelated ingredients and making them taste way better than the sum of their parts! Incorporate whatever carbohydrate, protein, vegetables, and sauce base you have into a delicious and hearty family meal. If you cook for fewer people, try freezing the rest in batches.

Pizza Toppings

Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.

Almost any leftovers can find a second life as a pizza topping—from roasted vegetables and corn-on-the-cob to meat scraps and jars of olives. If you don’t have the means to make pizza dough, you can use wraps or sliced bread, like focaccia. So long as you have enough cheese, it’ll taste delicious!

Salads

Photo Credit: Timolina/Shutterstock.

If you have the base for a salad, then leftover food items make great additions. Cold-cooked vegetables, grains, and any protein (eggs, cheese, chicken, fish, ham) make for a speedy and nutritious meal that’s great for using refrigerator veggies. Try adding seeds or nuts and a good dressing for extra tastiness.

Pantry Clearing Curry

Photo Credit: Ravsky/Shutterstock.

Curries are wonderfully adaptable, and most of us already have the required spices in our cupboards. You can use almost any leftover bean, vegetable, or meat items—just simmer them in canned tomatoes, coconut milk, broth, and curry spices or paste. Serve over rice or with bread to soak up the flavorful sauce. 

Bread Pudding or French Toast

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Don’t discard bread that’s past its prime. Give stale bread a new lease on life as bread pudding or French toast. The drier texture of stale bread soaks up the egg, milk, and other ingredients better than softer, fresh bread, and either dish makes a great breakfast or a tasty dessert.

Pasta Bake

Photo Credit: Elena Shashkina/Shutterstock.

Pasta doesn’t last long, so use leftover spaghetti, penne, or fusilli to make a pasta bake from whatever veggies or protein you have available—top with cheese and herbs and bake until golden and bubbling. Almost any type of pasta will work—just make sure you always have a jar or two of marinara sauce or béchamel in the cupboard.  

Croutons

Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.

Another great use for stale bread is homemade croutons. Cut the dry bread into cubes, scatter it with herbs, seasoning, and olive oil, and bake it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until crispy. Perfect for snacking on or adding to those soups and salads we were talking about earlier!

Vegetable Dips

Photo Credit: Elena Veselova/Shutterstock.

Almost any roasted vegetable can be blended to form a delicious dip, from sweet potato and capsicum to onion, eggplant, and carrot. Puree them with garlic, seasoning, olive oil, and perhaps some tahini or other paste. You can even add in leftover legumes like chickpeas, butter beans, and kidney beans for a smoother, thicker texture.

Fried Rice

Photo Credit: gkrphoto/Shutterstock.

Like cooked pasta, leftover rice doesn’t last long in the fridge, so use it quickly. A great suggestion is fried rice, which works better with day-old rice anyway. Use a wok and hot oil to sauté some onions, garlic, and other vegetables, then throw in the rice and fry it with a beaten egg and soy sauce. You could throw in meat or fish scraps, too.

Mashed Potato Pancakes

Photo Credit: Kritchai7752/Shutterstock.

Do you have mounds of leftover mashed potatoes but nothing to go with them? Try frying them up as individual patties. Simply season the mash, shape it into rounds, and fry in some hot, clean, and flavorsome oil. You can even add extra leftovers like onions, sweetcorn, cheese, or bacon for extra flavor.

Fruit Compote

Photo Credit: Ildi Papp/Shutterstock.

Overripe fruit need not be wasted—it will keep for much longer if you stew it with sugar and lemon juice to create a delicious reduction. The compote will give the fruit a few extra days of life and can be spooned over yogurt, porridge, pancakes, waffles, or ice cream for a sweet, nutrient-packed breakfast or dessert.

Pies and Tarts

Photo Credit: MariaKovaleva/Shutterstock.

If you have ready-rolled pastry or the means to make your own, pies and tarts are an extremely versatile way to utilize whatever vegetables, cheese, or meat scraps you have lying about. Experiment with different combinations, and you may well discover a delicious new pie recipe of your own!

Sandwiches

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Almost anything can make a delicious hot or cold sandwich—all you need is sliced bread or wraps to hold the whole thing together. ‘Christmas dinner leftovers’ are especially popular for filling bread, with roasted meats, vegetables, jellies, gravy, and even potatoes making a delicious, festive meal with zero effort.

READ MORE

Photo Credit: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.

While it’s easy for younger generations to feel like they’re steeped in slang, Boomers know that some of the best phrases have been passed down for years. Think you’re hip to all of them? Read on for 18 popular phrases of Baby Boomer slang.

18 BABY BOOMER SLANG PHRASES THAT MAKE MILLENNIALS SCRATCH THEIR HEADS

STOP NORMALIZING TOXICITY: 18 BEHAVIORS THAT NEED TO STOP RIGHT NOW

toxic
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Are there some behaviors you think everyone is guilty of doing, but don’t realize how damaging they are? Well, a recent internet poll asked ‘what toxic behaviors have been normalized by society’ and the list may surprise you!

STOP NORMALIZING TOXICITY: 18 BEHAVIORS THAT NEED TO STOP RIGHT NOW

13 BOOMER STEREOTYPES WE NEED TO STOP BELIEVING RIGHT NOW

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

It’s time to set the record straight! Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, have long been saddled with numerous stereotypes that simply don’t hold water. These generalizations can be unfair, misleading, and downright incorrect. Here are 13 boomer stereotypes that need to be debunked pronto!

13 BOOMER STEREOTYPES WE NEED TO STOP BELIEVING RIGHT NOW

19 FALSE MYTHS THAT ARE SO OBVIOUS YOU’LL KICK YOURSELF FOR BELIEVING THEM

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Sometimes it’s hard to sift fact from fiction, especially when certain long-ingrained myths are still perpetuated by society and in the media. A recent internet survey asked, “What’s an annoying myth that people still cling to?”:

19 FALSE MYTHS THAT ARE SO OBVIOUS YOU’LL KICK YOURSELF FOR BELIEVING THEM

19 THINGS WE DO IN SECRET THAT ARE MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK

Photo Credit: maBerlin/Shutterstock.

Anyone who says they don’t have an unhealthy, embarrassing, or time-wasting habit is lying. We all have them, and some really aren’t great for us. Let’s look at 19 guilty habits that we should really stop indulging in.

19 THINGS WE DO IN SECRET THAT ARE MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK