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Creative, Easy Ways to Use Leftovers

Updated on September 4, 2012

What is a great way to stretch an already tight budget in these poor economy times? Using leftovers resourcefully can definitely improve the size of your wallet and of your conscience if you waste as much food. Included are some basic meals that are prepared, so choose one that you use regularly to find out how you can use it for later, or read the whole article in order to get some great money saving tips!


Soft Tacos- So, you've used up all of the ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese, but not the soft tacos? Then just use some for the kids' lunch tomorrow or for a healthy snack after school. Spread peanut butter and jelly inside of the taco, make a "napkin holder" by writing a sweet note and wrapping it around the taco, and place inside their lunch box.

Hard Tacos- You've used up everything except for the tacos? Then just break them to make chips and use leftover salsa to dip in. If you have some ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese left, then you can have a lovely taco salad the next day for lunch.


Noodles- Make sure you don't mix the sauce with the noodles for this idea. You can use the noodles for a cold salad. Don't heat them up, but just pour some Italian dressing over them and mix in some olives for a lunch or light supper

Sauce- Once again, don't mix the sauce and noodles together. Fix some breaded chicken or pork chops, melt some mozzarella cheese on it in the microwave, heat the sauce, and then pour the sauce over it and serve.

Breakfast Night: If you had breakfast foods for dinner, you can use some of them for lunch or dinner the next day.

Eggs and Bacon- Reheat the eggs and bacon in the microwave. Toast some bread; you'll need two pieces for each person. Spread ketchup on one slice and mustard on the other. Then put the egg and bacon on the slices to make an egg sandwich. Bon Appetit!

Grits- These can be used as a snack or a dessert. Instead of adding salt, add sugar and cinnamon. Add some butter and then heat it up in the microwave.

Hot Dogs:

The Dogs- Cut them in small pieces and wrap store bought biscuit or crescent dough around them. You can also add some cheese in it also if you wish. Cook in the oven by following the time and temperature on the dough package. Serve as a snack or part of your dinner.

Buns- Make your own subs. You can use Chef Boyardee meatballs and sauce from the pasta in a can. Put some of it in the buns and cook in the oven or the microwave. Spaghetti sauce and ground beef can also be used instead if you wish. Mozzarella cheese or Parmesan cheese can add more flavor.

Leftover Baked Potato Recipe

Uses for Tomato Ends

Use for Leftover Rice

Leftover Grits and Oatmeal Used to Make Waffles

Happy cooking!


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    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      Becky Katz: Those are some great tips! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      I have a friend that saves the little bits and pieces of leftovers in the freezer. Every Sunday, she just tosses it all into a pot with some broth and makes soup. The veggies, meat, pasta and rice all go in and blend together to make a wonderful soup.

      My favorite is to bake some potatoes and put the leftovers in it. Steak and gravy is my husbands favorite. I like the leftovers from tacos in mine. My daughter loves Italian food in hers. We will do this when there is just enough of each for one person.

      We also use the leftovers for lunch the next day. When there is just enough left for one person, I will put it in a bigger, flatter storage dish and put it in the freezer. Homemade TV dinner. If my husband and I go out to eat without our daughter, she will go cruising through them and pick one. Make sure you label them so people know what they are getting.

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 6 years ago from Georgia

      Very true, f! Add some tinfoil and plastic wrap to the mix and you're ready to save your food until the next meal. :)

    • profile image

      6 years ago a good set of plastic containers to put the left-overs overnight in the fridge.