The Art of Repurposing Leftovers

art of repurposing leftovers header

Today “leftovers” are the subject of the blog.  Boring… you may be thinking. Well, they don’t have to be!

I’ve written a few posts now talking about how meal planning saves our family quite a bit of money when it comes to groceries. I also have blogged about how we have a great system where we double recipes when cooking and freeze for future meals (which saves money AND time).  [you can find that post HERE]

Freezing for future use is just one way that our family utilizes leftovers. But we ALSO like to be creative with our leftovers and repurpose them. This allows for the best of both worlds: we have leftovers for future use…transformed into an entirely different meal!

I’ve been percolating on this post for a while and it took me a while to plan so I could take photos, etc. So I’m glad to finally be getting it up! Yay!

Here are 3 leftover transformation ideas for you to try.

OR to sound more “cultured”:

The ART of repurposing leftovers


We use this recipe to make teriyaki chicken bowls, but any teriyaki recipe will do for the nachos.

When making the recipe, we make sure to save some of the sauce for the nachos (it makes a lot!). Also, to make things easier, you can shred the chicken for the nachos (we use our KitchenAid mixer, which takes about 20 seconds!) when it is warm before storing it for future use.

We really love these nachos made with the above recipe! If you don’t like spicy, be sure to leave out the Sriacha. Also, we never have Sesame seeds and often don’t have mozzarella cheese, so we’ve done a few variations of these and they always turn out great! It’s hard to mess nachos up, in my opinion!

2.Meatloaf → Meatloaf Cheeseburger sandwichesmealtoaf to sandwich

I'm not at all a food photographer. Sorry! :)

I’m not at all a food photographer. Sorry! 🙂

We really like this recipe for meatloaf. It’s probably not the healthiest meatloaf ever, but it tastes amazing. Also, we have this stoneware dish used for bread and bake 4 mini-meatloaves (is that a word?!) rather than cooking it in a regular loaf pan. We like the portion sizes it makes and it freezes better like this. I got this dish from Pampered Chef a few years ago and they don’t carry it anymore, but for anyone interested in making smaller meatloaves, I found this mini-loaf pan on Amazon for around $20. It has about the same loaf dimensions and seems like it would work just fine!

I should also note that this recipe calls for about 1.5 lb. of ground beef, but we use closer to 2 ¼ lbs. The flavor still really carries through, even with the extra meat.

This meatloaf recipe freezes really well, so feel free to store it for future use.

IMG_4484The Cheeseburger hamburger style recipe I originally saw in a Midwest Living magazine, which I also was able to track down online HERE. We don’t use their meatloaf recipe, so for the sandwiches, we just use the last 5 ingredients listed and complete “steps 2 + 3” of the recipe.

We also just use whatever greens we have on hand in place of arugula (in this case, spinach!).

With leftover meatloaf, assembling and baking these sandwiches takes about 15 minutes total! I love quick and easy meals.

3. Balsamic Pork chops → Chipotle Pork Quesadillas.pork to quesadillas

We love this Balsamic Pork recipe. It is delicious! We usually grill them, but we have also made them in the oven before too and they have turned out well.

They also taste great marinated in these chipotle pork quesadillas (recipe HERE). They don’t sell shredded monterrey jack cheese at Aldi, so we just use cheddar. These are very yummy!

I hope that these leftover ideas will help you and your family save more money and time! Do you have any repurposed leftover ideas that you would like to share? I’d love to hear so that I can add them to our meal repertoire!

Thanks for reading and happy repurposing!

16 thoughts on “The Art of Repurposing Leftovers

  1. Kari says:

    Yum. I almost always prefer the food as leftovers to when it’s first cooked. For some reason I also love most leftovers cold. Love the different options for using the leftovers in a different way than the original meal.

  2. Melina says:

    I love turning random leftovers into pizza! I have used leftover chicken, small amounts of veggies or salad, leftover taco ingredients, etc. Just like nachos, it’s hard to screw up a pizza!

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