Leftover Lifters

How to make leftovers more exciting and delicious !

Most of us have a fridge full of leftovers much of the time. How many times have you cleaned out the fridge just to discover dishes that you forgot were even in there? Why? Because leftovers can be boring and uninspiring. You pull something out, go “I just had that”, and back into the fridge it goes!

Good news! It doesn’t have to be that way. By keeping just a few things in that same fridge or in your pantry you can switch up those leftovers and give them new life. Let’s look at a few, then I give you a couple of examples of how it can all come together.

CHEESE: (Shredded or Sliced)

A sprinkle of cheese can perk up a wide variety of dishes. The wide range of cheeses readily available make it even that much more flexible. Try microwaving for 30 seconds or so, or until the cheese gets nice and melty. Our first “hack” for rescuing those leftovers? Try some cheese.


Many stores even carry these already cut up for reasonable prices. Sealed they can be good in your fridge for months. However once opened they need to be eaten in 4-5 days, so don’t hold back, ham it up!


Ham’s cousin can be a game changer. Why not add one of America’s favorite flavors to those sad leftovers and cheer them right up.


Add a little “kick” to dinner from the other night and quickly and easily turn it into something new.


Throw almost anything into a tortilla, and you have tacos. There are ground beef tacos, beef fajita tacos, brisket tacos, chicken tacos, fish tacos, on and on. So let you imagination go.


Lettuce doesn’t necessarily keep as well as some of the other ingredients listed. Still, just like almost anything can be put in a tortilla and become tacos, almost anything tossed into lettuce becomes salad. Salads of course can be main courses or side dishes. So if you have some lettuce in there with those leftovers, consider tossing them together.


Another one of America’s favorite flavors. It is at the same time one of the most popular salad dressings, and one of the most popular dips. It has the advantage of being able to pair well with a lot of different flavors. Try a drizzle of ranch dressing for some much needed zip to those leftovers.


Now for a couple of examples of how this all pulls together. One night I came home from work late. The fridge was a little bit of this, a little bit of that. One of the first things I saw was some leftover mac and cheese. Not very exciting. Then I spotted some chopped onions, and ham cubes. So I toss them together and “nuke” them for about two minutes and had a sort of late night casserole.

Another time I had a couple of tortillas, some ham cubes, bacon bits, and cheese. Tossed them together, and boom! Quesadillas.

The point is to get creative. Before you shove those leftovers back in the fridge, think about what else is in there that might switch things up. Not only will it probably be easier to clean out the fridge next time, but the less food you waste the more money you save !

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