5 Ways to Liven Up Leftovers

15 Mar 5 Ways to Liven Up Leftovers

Batch cooking is one of the best ways to plan for the week ahead. You spend time on Sunday so you have a home cooked meal every day without much effort. However, if you serve the same dish, day after day, on the third day, if your family is anything like mine, they’ll complain: – “Not this AGAIN!”

I totally hear you. We have the best of intentions, but we get bored, and food goes to waste instead. Instead of forcing yourself and your family to eat the same things day in and day out, try these leftover tips that will help you liven things up and reignite the spark that makes you excited to dig in.

1. Change the spices or herbs
Grilled chicken breasts can be made into different meals by changing up the spices or herbs. For example, add Garam Masala (combination of cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and cardamom) for an Indian flavor or Cajun spices (combination of cayenne, paprika, garlic, black pepper, oregano and thyme) for a Southwestern flare. Toss the chicken in the pan with a teaspoon of olive oil and sauté with the spices to enhance the flavor. Voila – two delicious and different meals with the same protein!

2. Add avocado
Leftover brown rice and sautéed veggies? Meh. Leftover brown rice and sautéed veggies with freshly cut avocado? Now you’re talking! Drizzle on some sriracha too for a spicy hit and facelift on your leftovers.

3. Add some crunch
Sometimes, we just need more texture to make things interesting. Adding a crunch to your meal can spice it up quite a bit. Look in your pantry for walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almond slivers, dried coconut – which can add a crunch along with a nice dose of healthy fat. One of my favorites to put on a top of a salad or stir fry is “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning from Trader Joes. It has great flavor and a bit of crunch.

4. Try a new condiment
Salsa and sriracha can help dress up leftovers. It’s so simple to make a flavorful salsa with fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lime, add it to chopped chicken for taco Tuesday! A bit of sesame oil can give your meals a delicious Asian flair. Look in your fridge and don’t be afraid to experiment with condiments to create new dishes by adding a few drops of different flavors. It can make all the difference and completely change the taste of your meal. My favorite helper is “Google”. Just type in the ingredients you have, including condiments, and see what suggestions they have for recipes.

5. Add some greens
As I was affectionately called ‘Elizabeth Vegetable Girouard’ today, this option probably isn’t a surprise. Leftover shrimp tastes delicious over a bed of fresh kale, spinach or arugula, raw or sauteed. Or, make some quick brown rice or zucchini noodles and mix it together to create a new dish that tastes like takeout without the cost, calories or additives!

Give these a try and see if you’re making better use of your leftovers. Remember, when you batch cook, freeze a meal so you can pull them out to make on another busy night. You’ll appreciate them better when you do!

So, spill the beans. Are you a leftovers person or do you struggle with eating the same meal twice? Hit reply and let me know.

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