New meals from old leftovers

One basic rule of leftovers is to transform them into a new dish; reheated in their original form, they are seldom as good as they were the first time around. For example, warmed-over roast beef slices are unexciting, but cubed roast beef reheated with spicy currysauce and served over fluffy rice is both appetizing and an excellent way to stretch a limited amount of beef.

Avoid combining too many different leftovers in one dish-the result will be a mishmash of ingredients. Cook leftovers just long enough to heat them through. Overcooking destroys flavors and toughens meats. To give soft foods texture, add crisp bacon, nuts, water chestnuts, diced sweet green or red peppers, or celery.

Meats, poultry, and fish

Try beef in soups, hash, potpies, curries, noodle or rice casseroles, and in sandwiches; or combine it with onions, celery, leftover vegetables, and dressing, and serve as a salad. Mix beef with tomato sauce and serve over pasta.

Leftover lamb is ideal for shepherd’s pie (chopped meat in gravy topped with mashed potatoes) and curries; turn it into rice pilaf with onions, beef broth, and seasonings. For a change of pace, use lamb instead of beef for stuffing green peppers.

Leftover pork, spread with mustard and relish, makes good sandwiches. Perk up casseroles or turn pasta into a main course with slivers or cubes of roast pork, or heat pork with sweetand-sour sauce for a Chinese treat.

Chopped ham adds flavor to scrambled eggs, scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, salads, souffles, biscuits, muffins, and corn breads. Mix ground ham with bread crumbs, a lightly beaten egg, and seasonings for a ham loaf.

Dice chicken forchicken a laking or salad. Add it to soups or combine it with sweet relish and mayonnaise for a sandwich spread. Make broth with the chicken carcass, meat scraps, and fat.

Combine fish or shellfish with a white sauce and serve over crepes, puff pastry shells, hot buttered toast, or biscuits; or make croquettes. Use fish or shellfish mixed with mayonnaise and herbs to stuff eggs, tomatoes, or avocados or to make sandwich spreads.


Use vegetables from yesterday’s dinner in salads, souffles, or omelets. Garnish a casserole with mashed potatoes or shape them into small patties and saute them in butter. Refrigerate the nutritious liquids from cooked vegetables and add them to soups, sauces, and casseroles. Egg yolks and whites Many dishes call for either the white or yolk of eggs, leaving you with the other part. Use eggyolks to make mayonnaise, hollandaise, custards, puddings, and cakes. Freeze leftover egg whites in ice cube trays, one white per segment. Then transfer the frozen whites to a plastic bag and return them to the freezer. Thaw and use them for meringues, souffles, macaroons, chiffon pies, angel food cake, and cake frostings. Add an extra white to scrambled eggs.


Make croutons, French toast, or pudding from day-old sliced bread. Coat meat or fish with bread crumbs before sauteing or deep-frying. Also add crumbs to croquettes and meat loaf and to poultry stuffings. Top casseroles with buttered bread crumbs to add flavor and crunch.