Recipes for Leftovers

Chez Leftovers Sign,

The kids are wrong. Casserole does not mean Mom forgot to go shopping.

The more recipes for leftovers there are, the better. If you're like me you prepare food the way you pack clothes for a vacation: too much is just enough, just in case. You love a bargain, buy those giant bags of onions, potatoes, and dried mushrooms at the warehouse store, yet hate waste. You recycle. And you have lots of leftovers.

Now, if you're talking about large amounts of leftovers from, say, the company BBQ that got rained out, local soup kitchens and shelters are always pleased to have safe donations that have been stored properly. But if you just can't get out of "cooking for teenage boys" mode, there are more practical things to do.

What to Do with Leftovers

Eat them, of course. As a rule, though, it's not that you have too much food left over, but that you don't have enough of it for another whole meal for everyone. There are two ways around that: 

1. Make the leftover food go farther.

Add this to that and make something else. There are so many good recipes for leftovers; you can recycle, repurpose, and restore those leftovers to their former glory. Think soups, salads, sandwiches, casseroles, frittatas, stir-fries, sorbets, and pudding.

2. Open Chez Leftovers "Restaurant"

This is a fun, fun, fun idea from the Family Fun Cookbook. They called it Mom's Restaurant:

  1. Take stock of leftovers in the fridge. Prepare a menu, as we have below, and make copies of it as needed. At mealtime, seat your guests or family and hand them each a menu. Don your apron and notepad, and take their orders.
  2. Get into it. Make a note of the number of servings left of each item; when the time is right say, I'm sorry, sir, we just ran out of that item. Is there something else that looks good?

If you have guests for even a few days, the leftovers can pile up quickly. You hate to prepare another meal from scratch knowing that it will only add to the pile. Open the restaurant, instead. This works for guests as well as it does for family, making leftovers a bucket of fun.

Just click the menu for a template of it that you can download to get you started.

Chez Leftovers Menu

Recipes for Leftovers

Some of the recipes here are party-size, but you can resize them as necessary. 


Stir-fries defy categorization; they fit in no one category simply because they could go in every category. So I'm sticking them here, giving them their 15 minutes of fame.

  1. Stir-Fry Sauce Recipes and How-To


  1. Corned Beef Hash / Roast Beef Hash 
  2. Ham Salad Sandwiches
  3. Lamb Kabobs
  4. Cream Cheese Balls (with ham)
  5. Rigatoni and Broccoli (with ham)

Leftover bacon grease (drippings):

  1. Welsh Rarebit Fondue

Or, you can make a delicious roux from it for thickening stews, gravy or gumbo. (The directions are in the "Options" section.)


  1. Chicken Pot Pie
  2. Chicken Salad Sandwiches
  3. Turkey Rice Soup
  4. Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
  5. Chicken Tortilla Soup
  6. Chicken Penne with Cumin Cream
  7. Chicken Biriyani
  8. Honey Chili Chicken
  9. Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce


Fish and Seafood

  1. Salmon Crepes
  2. Fish Tacos / Lobster Tacos
  3. Shrimp Gumbo
  4. Lobster Rolls
  5. Crab Puffs
  6. Seafood Sandwiches


Bread, Rice and Pasta

  1. Panzanella (an Italian salad that uses up leftover French bread)
  2. Corn Tortilla Casserole
  3. Rice Frittata
  4. Bread Pudding



  1. Bruschetta
  2. Sweet Potato Biscuits
  3. Frittata
  4. Caramelized Onions- Caramelizing reduces the onions drastically, making short work of that warehouse-store size bag of onions.

There are some really good ideas from readers here for leftover butternut squash, in the Comments section.



  1. Peach Delight- a frozen cocktail with ripe peaches or apricots and orange juice.
  2. Mango Sorbet- Almost any fruit can be made into a sorbet. Follow the directions of our Mango Sorbet recipe, substituting whatever leftover fruit you have on hand. Perfect recipe for overly ripe fruit.
  3. Banana Balls

Leftover cranberry sauce:

  1. Hot Buttered Cranberry Punch

Leftover Fruitcake:

  1. Personally, I think it should go curbside with the rest of the toxic waste, or better yet, donated to local housing projects as foundation material. But my husband has a more practical solution: cut the fruitcake into small portions and freeze them. They keep forever and are there when you want some.


Eggs and Dairy

  1. Cheese Puffs
  2. Cream Cheese Balls
  3. Egg Salad Sandwiches

Leftover egg whites:

  1. Cheese Straws- a handy puff-pastry nibbler  

Leftover egg yolks:  

  1. Flan, Eggnog, Hollandaise Sauce, French Vanilla Ice Cream, or Aioli 

You can always add any extra egg whites or yolks to scrambled eggs, before cooking them, of course.


  1. Claret Punch
  2. Sangria

Here's a great leftover wine idea: 

  1. Reduce the wine for concentrated flavoring for soups, sauces, and gravies: Pour the wine into a saucepan and simmer it until reduced by two-thirds or more. Cool. Freeze the reduced wine in ice cube trays, then transfer the cubes into zip-lock bags. Return them to the freezer for future use.

12 Tips for Storing Leftovers

Danger Zone Food Safety 

Top of Recipes for Leftovers

Chez Leftovers Menu Template

Surprise me with something not one of the recipes for leftovers


Join the party! Tell us how you were able to use or improve the recipe(s) or tips on this page.


Join the party! Tell us how you were able to use or improve the recipe(s) or tips on this page.

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