How To Turn Leftover Food Into Delicious Frugal Recipes

How To Turn Leftover Food Into Delicious Frugal Recipes

leftover food recipes

Transform Leftover Food Into Delicious Meals For A Second Time

Becoming a resourceful home cook is important especially when you have leftover food and want to limit your trips to the grocery store.

What I enjoy about having leftover food in the house is that I either;

  1. Don’t have to cook the next day
  2. I have ingredients prepared for the switch-up recipe.

With most Canadians at home and not working waiting for their Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) money is tight and will be for a while.

There has been no greater time than now to consider starting a vegetable garden, incorporate smart shopping tactics and using leftover food to the max.

If you haven’t heard of switching up a recipe or using leftover food to create something new, you’re missing out.

I know some people despise using leftover food and it ends up in the bin and if that’s you then this post is not for you.

One of the biggest challenges for families right now who are at home and not at work due to COVID-19 is they are in the kitchen cooking quite often.

There’s also far more snacking going on in the house which means more money is being spent on food.

Canadian Grocery Budget 2020 On The Rise

When I asked my Facebook followers if they found that their grocery expenses were higher since they are at home every day the popular answer was yes.

However, there were a few that said that their grocery budget has not changed since the pandemic which all boils down to need.

We’ve seen our grocery budget increase this month because we’ve been doubling up on products from Costco.

It has gone up but until I live with its bit I’m not sure how much. I’ve noticed things to have gone up in price considerably.

Potatoes I used to buy were $2.50 now $3.99. Now that I have my dry good staples I’ll get any fresh at a farm stand/on farm market whose expenses haven’t increased as much and have a more controlled environment. Rhonda

Mine had blown up. Just filled a small freezer I got so that was expensive to start with. My kids are usually at school or preschool daycare and fed there.

Now at home eating more. Ordering everything online so I don’t go out at all to grocery stores. Also buying for other family members so its been nuts!!Marie-Ann

Yes. Also because I’ve found prices up a bit with less sales. But everytime I go I buy a couple extra cans of fruit or veggies, pasta etc just to have on hand incase we go into total lockdown. – Mandy

Yes its def gone up. I’m comfort baking almost every day and everyone is snacking like crazy, but we are not spending any money on going out or gas so that’s a plus. – Lise

Yes! We were just talking about this – especially when my husband starts adding to our digital cart, lol.Tanya

Yes! Stress eating and a growing teenage.- Crystal

Although some people may stick to a rigid grocery budget sometimes it’s best to double-shop instead of having to go back often.

At least, that’s what we’ve had to do which means we may have veggies and fruits that need using up faster than we can eat them.

By now you already know that line-ups at the grocery store can take close to an hour before you even step foot in the grocery store.

Not only that buy grocery pick-up times for express online grocery shopping may take a week before you can secure a spot.

Grocery shopping, meal prep and sticking to a budget during the coronavirus pandemic is proving tough for many people.

Let’s have a look at what we can do to curve the grocery expenses in hopes of spending less and eating more leftovers.

Turn Your Leftover Mashed Potatoes into …

Leftover mashed potatoes

Just about every holiday there are mashed potatoes on the dining room table and leftover food.

If you’re like my mum she would make more mashed potatoes than people were coming over to eat.

I think she made extra mashed potatoes because it was easier for her to make leftovers the next day.

Leftover cauliflower mash

A classic leftover mashed potato recipe has to be the cottage pie also known as Shepherd’s pie in Canada. 

In the UK Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb and Cottage pie is made with beef.

No matter what you call it the day-old mashed potatoes on the top with lots of homemade gravy make this a simple frugal meal.

These days we make Keto cheesy cauliflower mash which tastes very similar to mashed potatoes.

We use the cauliflower mash to top our cottage pie and it hits the spot with no regrets.

Italian Potato Zeppole

Turn Your Leftover Turkey into …

There is always leftover turkey at our house so we need to create recipes that will use it up.

One of our most popular turkey recipes on the blog is a Stuffed Turkey Mozzarella Meatloaf however it’s made with turkey mince.

For this reason, I have not added it to my list of leftover turkey meals below.

Turn Your Leftover Pasta into …

Pasta Frittata

Leftover food spaghetti

Any time we would have leftover pasta we would turn it into a frittata the next day.

The great thing about making a pasta frittata is that you can use leftover pasta and add other ingredients such as cooked sausage or vegetables.

We’ve also taken leftover cheese ravioli from a dinner party and layered it into a delicious ravioli lasagna. 

Pasta seems to be a versatile ingredient that you can use cooked in many recipes.

Don’t laugh but I’ve even had next-day fried pasta in the morning for breakfast with sunny-side eggs on top.

Turn Your Leftover Bananas into …

Any time we have leftover bananas in the house I try to use them to make a dessert that we can all enjoy.

I know some people toss brown bananas in the garbage but honestly, they hold the best flavour for baking.

Sometimes I’ve even peeled brown bananas and would freeze them in a container until I need to use them.

That has worked well for us during those days that we want to bake something without having to go grocery shopping.

Brown banana recipes

Turn Your Leftover Pulled Pork into …

leftover pulled pork

We don’t make pulled pork often, however, grocery stores will have pork loin on sale for a budget-friendly price.

In the past, we’d buy one or two large pork roasts when they were on sale and freeze them until we created our weekly meal plan.

Any time I’ve made a pulled pork recipe it was done in the crockpot but these days if you have an Instant Pot you can prepare it even quicker.

When I eat pulled pork I like to have that savoury element but also a sweet element such as a blueberry bbq sauce.

I loved the idea of making pulled pork taquitos which I’ve never done before nor have I made a pulled pork casserole.

Any time someone says the word “casserole” to me I instantly think 30-minute-meals or leftover food dishes.

Turn Your Leftover Roast Chicken into …

Leftover chicken

Turn Your Leftover Steak into …

steak recipes

One thing with steak is that the best time to eat it is after a minute or two of resting off the grill.

If you do have leftover steak don’t throw it away or feed it to the dog. (yes people do this)

You can make delicious leftover steak recipes that will butter the steak back up.

One of my favourite leftover steak recipes is the steak sandwiches loaded with mozzarella cheese and mushrooms.

Hearty Steak Bake wm

Turn Your Leftover Celery into …


Whatever you do never throw out your celery leaves and consider freezing your celery if you’re not prepared to make a new recipe.

Typically we would just chop the ends off of our celery that and any leaves we don’t use and put them into a freezer bag.

When the bag is full I make cream of celery soup and it’s a frugal meal that most people wouldn’t think to make.

I use celery leaves chopped up in all of my soup recipes that call for celery and even if they don’t I just toss them in.

Below are two recipes which I feel represent celery well that I think most of you would agree would be far better on the table than in the compost heap.

apple salad

Use A Dehydrator

Also, if you have a dehydrator at home (we don’t) you can turn your leftover celery and celery leaves into dry celery salt.

A dehydrator is also good to preserve food so if you think you have too much of a product dehydrate it for future use.

homemade celery salt

Turn Your Leftover Tomatoes into …

Whether after the Fall garden season has come to an end or you have tomatoes on your counter that need using up never throw them out.

I’ve used tomatoes that are going mushy to make tomato soup, spaghetti sauce, marinara dipping sauce, and even bbq sauce.

tomato recipes

Turn Your Leftover Tuna and Salmon Salad into …

I don’t have a recipe for this but when Mrs. CBB and I were dating to keep costs down we would make a tuna pasta salad every week.

We would buy lots of tuna since it was fairly inexpensive and make a big batch of it.

What we didn’t use by Friday got turned into a big bowl of tuna pasta salad that we would top with Franks Red Hot Sauce.

On the side, we would have a giant salad and some hard-boiled eggs for added protein.

Leftover fish

Another favorite of ours is turning leftover salmon into salmon patties that we pair with a garden salad.

Even if a recipe calls for fresh salmon use what you have on hand and improvise the recipe.

Turn Your Leftover Ham into …

Leftover ham recipes

After the holidays we typically find ham on the bone for a great price and that’s when we buy one or two and freeze them.

Once we cook our ham in the oven or the crockpot depending on how big it is we have ham for a good two weeks.

I’ve even sliced it and frozen the ham for future meals such as Split pea soup with ham or egg and ham frittata.

Ham is perfect to pack in lunches the next day for ham and cheese sandwiches or cube it to make ham salad with mayo and celery.

Day-Old Rice Recipes

leftover white rice

We don’t eat rice anymore but when we did we’d always make extra in our rice cooker for the next day.

Any time we’d make a fried rice recipe the best rice would always be the rice that was harder in texture after sitting overnight.

Using day-old rice to make Italian Arancini (Rice Balls) with a marinara sauce was a must on our monthly menu plan.

We’d also use day-old rice to make the best broccoli and beef with rice stir-fry.

Fried fish with Indian Rice

Save Money, Save Time and Eat At Home

Overall, while we are faced with the COVID-19 pandemic many of you are working hard in the kitchen to stretch your grocery dollars.

If you want to make that happen then continue to search for ways that you can switch up your meals or bulk them out.

Discussion: How do you use leftover food to create new meals? What are some of your favourites?

Leave me your comments below as I’d love to hear what you do.


The post How To Turn Leftover Food Into Delicious Frugal Recipes appeared first on Canadian Budget Binder.

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