What to Do With Leftovers

At Wendy Keer’s house leftovers is practically a dirty word. But with a few no-measurements-necessary recipe ideas from REAL SIMPLE. REAL LIFE. foodie Nathan Lyon she can stretch one tasty meal into two. And so can you.

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Photo by Sang An

If you have: Leftover plain pasta
Make: Grown-up pasta salad

Go Greek by mixing the pasta with pre-crumbled Feta cheese, chopped cucumber and red onion, avocado cubes, salt and pepper, and oil and vinegar.


If you have: Leftover chicken breast
Make: A dinner omelet

Shred the chicken and toss it into an egg omelet along with fresh herbs (chives and tarragon work well) and your cheese of choice. Or whip up a curry chicken salad: Mix shredded chicken with enough mayonnaise or plain yogurt to moisten it, then add in yellow or sweet curry powder (to your taste) and diced celery and apples. Serve on bread or over salad greens.


If you have: Leftover steak
Make: Steak salad

Slice the remaining steak and set it atop wilted spinach, then cover with crumbled blue cheese, pecans, and thinly sliced shallots with the dressing of your choosing. (Oil and balsamic vinegar is a good bet.)


If you have: Leftover ground beef
Make: Shepherd’s pie

In a casserole dish, combine the beef with cooked frozen peas, corn, and sautéed onions. Top with a layer of mashed potatoes and cook at 400 degrees until brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.


If you have: Leftover cooked rice (brown or white)
Make: Asian refried rice

Set a sauté pan or wok on high heat, coating the bottom with sesame or peanut oil. Pour in the rice and a package of pre-sliced vegetables―or whatever vegetables you have handy. Add red pepper flakes, a dash of soy or tamarind sauce, and crumbled peanuts. Serve.