What to Do With Leftovers

What to Do With Leftovers

Whether you cook at home or order takeout, it’s common to find yourself with leftovers. Saving leftovers or reusing them can save time and money during the week. However, it can be confusing to decide what to do with leftover food. You may not want to eat the same food twice in a row or might find it easier to throw the leftovers away instead.

With the right techniques, you can enjoy your leftover food as much as the first time you ate it. Repurposing leftovers into a new dish prevents waste and mixes up your weekly menu.

Here are a few ideas for what to do with leftovers.

Store Them Properly

The first step for managing leftovers is to store them securely. Proper storage methods keep your food safe and tasty. After your food cools, you can store it using these techniques:

  • Cover them with foil. 
  • Wrap them in saran wrap.
  • Place them in sealed storage containers.

Then, place the leftover container in the fridge or freezer. Leftovers remain safe to eat for three to four days in the fridge or three to four months in the freezer.

When you take these proper storage actions, your food better retains its moisture and flavor. You also keep the food from picking up odors from other ingredients in the refrigerator. 

Repurpose Them Into New Meals

After you store your leftovers, you can reheat and enjoy them in the following days. Instead of eating the same food again, you could repurpose food into new meals. Here are a few examples of common leftovers and ways to incorporate them into new meals:

Broccoli

Vegetables are a common and healthy side for many dishes, but you might find yourself with extra portions after your meal. Luckily, there are many creative ways to implement leftover vegetables into new dishes.

For example, you might have extra broccoli. One way to repurpose the broccoli is in a delicious stir fry. Add chicken, rice or rice noodles, additional vegetables and seasonings to create a new dish. John Soules Foods carries a wide range of frozen and refrigerated chicken options that make preparation simple. You can heat them up in minutes and reheat your broccoli for a quick, appetizing meal.

Here’s how to prepare a delicious Spicy Thai Chicken Noodle Stir Fry for six in just 30 minutes. 

Bake six John Soules Foods Spicy Chicken Strips at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip each strip. Pop them back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes while you get started on your produce.

Grab your extra broccoli from the fridge along with 1 red bell pepper, ½ a red onion and any other leftover vegetables you want to use up. Carrots, snow peas, cabbage and mushrooms are all great additions to any stir fry.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a skillet and warm over medium-high heat — olive, coconut or avocado oil will all work well here. Add your sliced veggies and saute for roughly 5 minutes or until slightly tender, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. 

Finally, add your chicken to the skillet along with 1 pound of cooked rice noodles and ½ cup of your favorite peanut sauce. Simmer for about a minute, then portion into bowls and serve topped with chopped peanuts and green onions.

Broccoli

Pasta

Another common leftover is pasta. It’s easy to over- or underestimate pasta quantities, which can result in extra servings. If you don’t want to eat pasta with tomato sauce again, you can explore innovative ways to upgrade your leftover noodles.

For instance, this Chicken Alfredo recipe combines your leftover pasta with a creamy ranch sauce and grilled chicken. John Soules Foods carries delicious pre-cooked grilled chicken options that are perfect for this combination. 

Pour a jar of Alfredo sauce into a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tray of John Soules Foods Flame Grilled Chicken Strips and 2 tablespoons of ranch seasoning. Cook until the chicken and sauce is heated through. 

Stir in spinach and 1 ½ cups of halved cherry tomatoes, and cook until the spinach wilts. Remove the skillet from the heat. 

Next, just reheat your leftover pasta in the microwave and stir the pasta into the sauce until the two are combined. Top with Parmesan cheese and basil, and serve with bread or a glass of wine to feel extra fancy!

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a favorite meal of many people. Various toppings and serving ideas make this simple dish more exciting. For instance, many people add bacon to their macaroni and cheese for an extra flavor burst. You can experiment with these creative options to enhance your leftover mac and cheese. 

This inventive Mexican Chicken Skillet Mac and Cheese recipe serves up to eight people. Throw your leftover macaroni and cheese into a skillet and top it with chicken, fajita veggies, fresh cilantro and more. The John Soules Foods Chicken Fajitas are fire-grilled and pre-cooked, making them a perfect match for this recipe. 

First, preheat your oven to broil. Whether repurposing homemade mac and cheese or boxed mac and cheese, get those leftovers ready!

Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped red peppers and cook until they grow soft. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin. Add 2 cups of whole milk, and bring the entire mixture to a boil. 

Once boiling, remove the skillet from the heat and fold in your leftover macaroni and cheese. Top with some extra cheese and broil the dish until it is golden brown. Remove from the oven and add cilantro and jalapeño if desired!

Breakfast Foods

Cooking a big breakfast when you have the time is rewarding and delicious. If you find yourself with some extra scrambled eggs, we’ve got a recipe for you to try. 

This Classic Chicken Waffle Taco recipe is a delicious way to spice up your leftover scrambled eggs for lunch. 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, and spread a 16-ounce bag of frozen Soules Kitchen Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks evenly on a greased baking sheet. Heat in the oven for 12-14 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

Toast 8 frozen waffles while the chicken is cooking. Depending on the kind of toaster you have, you may need to complete this step in multiple batches. 

Grab your leftover scrambled eggs from the fridge, and warm them up in the microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring between each to ensure even heating. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. 

Finally, it’s time to assemble your tacos. Fold your waffles in half and fill them with the eggs and chicken. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions and a drizzle of maple syrup. Feeling adventurous? Complete the dish with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Transform Your Leftovers With John Soules Foods

Transform Your Leftovers With John Soules Foods

Creative recipes can enhance your leftovers. Whether you have extra vegetables, pasta or anything in between, John Soules Foods products are the perfect addition to your repurposed leftovers.

Since 1975, we’ve provided high-quality, flavorful and convenient meat options for our customers. We use 100% natural ingredients and rich flavors to bring the best quality possible. All of our chicken and beef products are refrigerated or frozen, letting you cook with minimal preparation. 

Browse our products today to find the best options for leftover repurposing. Or, explore our recipes to find other good meals for leftovers. 

To get started with John Soules Foods, find a store near you that carries John Soules Foods products.