Smart Ideas for Leftovers

There's no need to cook from scratch every night. It's easy to turn last night's extras (think: chicken, rice, mashed potatoes, that last splash of wine) into a tasty second dinner, appetizer, or even dessert with these leftovers recipes.

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  • 1 of 31

    Sweet-Spicy Barbecued Chicken Sliders

    Use up leftover: Chicken

    Pineapple (the sweet) and pickled jalapenos (the spicy) permeate the barbecue-sauced shredded chicken in the scrumptious slider filling. Since you can bake a dozen in one pan, this chicken sandwich recipe is ideal for entertaining.

  • Shortcut Steamed Bao Buns 2 of 31

    Shortcut Steamed Bao Buns

    Use up leftover: Chicken

    Refrigerated biscuits and leftover shredded chicken make it possible to serve mock bao buns in just 30 minutes (yes, really!). A sweet and spicy sauce helps the meat taste like you cooked it up just for this dish.

  • Turkey Pita Nachos with Pomegranate and Mint, nachos, mint, pomegranate 3 of 31

    Turkey Pita Nachos with Pomegranate and Mint

    Use up leftover: Turkey

    Take your holiday roast on a flavor trip to the Mediterranean by way of this platter of pita nachos. Topped with shredded turkey, lemon-scented plain yogurt, crumbled feta, pomegranate seeds, and fresh mint, this sheet pan recipe is hearty and colorful enough to satisfy at dinnertime.

  • Mexican Chopped Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Dressing 4 of 31

    Mexican Chopped Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Dressing

    Use up leftover: Chicken

    This eye-catching layered salad is a masterpiece! Leftover chicken, rows of sliced veggies, mango, and canned hominy look incredible on a platter—and taste even better once tossed with queso fresco, pumpkin seeds, and a DIY jalapeno-cilantro dressing.

  • 5 of 31

    Sweet Potato Brownies

    Use up leftover: Mashed Sweet Potatoes

    We promise no one will guess there's almost a full cup of mashed sweet potatoes hiding inside these fudgy brownies! Nutty almond butter, cocoa powder, and chopped bittersweet chocolate completely disguise the vitamin A-powerhouse secret ingredient.

    Tip: Store in the refrigerator overnight before serving for the richest results.

  • 6 of 31

    Stuffed Baked Mushrooms

    Use up leftover: Ham; Cooked Sweet Potato; Roast Beef; Hard-Cooked Egg; Bacon; Shrimp; Hummus; Sausage; Turkey

    Staring at a fridge full of leftovers? C'mon get happy! Combine three or four meat, vegetable, or cheese ingredients in themed mixes like sausage pizza or beef and blue, then bake for just five minutes. This is one of the most versatile and crowd-pleasing snacks we've ever developed!

  • BBQ Chicken-Pineapple Pizza 7 of 31

    Barbecue Chicken-Pineapple Pizza

    Use up leftover: Chicken

    Layer purchased pizza dough, a few pantry staples, and leftover chicken in your slow cooker and allow it to bake itself while you go about your day. It's almost as easy as delivery (and way more delicious!), plus this leftover recipe infuses your entire home with enticing parlorlike aromas.

  • Ham and Cheese Quiche 8 of 31

    Ham and Cheese Quiche

    Use up leftover: Ham

    For an even easier leftover ham quiche, start with refrigerated piecrust (half of a 14.1-ounce package) instead of kneading and shaping your own pastry. Once you pour on the eggs, meat, veggies, and cheese, the difference in dough will barely be noticeable!

  • Enchilada Casserole, casserole, enchilada 9 of 31

    Enchilada Casserole

    Use up leftover: Rice; Chicken

    To-go-boxed Mexican rice and chicken get a starring role in these cheesy black bean enchiladas. Make this casserole recipe as tempting to the eyes as it is to the taste buds by alternating white flour and purple corn tortillas in the dish, then topping with pretty spirals of beets and carrots.

  • 10 of 31

    Rotisserie Chicken Banh Mi

    Use up leftover: Chicken

    Press "fast-forward" on the classic Vietnamese sandwich with this picnic-perfect and family-pleasing recipe. Quick-pickled carrots, cucumber spears, jalapeno slices, and cilantro leaves lend freshness to the leftover chicken remix.

  • Weeknight Paella 11 of 31

    Weeknight Paella

    Use up leftover: Rice; Chorizo

    A little turmeric and saffron go a long way to pepper this 25-minute paella recipe with as much flavor as the slow-simmered version. Salty, smoky chorizo is the finishing touch that transforms plain old rice into a revelation.

  • 12 of 31

    Slow Cooker Coq au Vin

    Use up leftover: Red Wine; Mashed Potatoes

    Julia Child would be so proud. "This was delicious, a big hit with my French hubby, and even better the second day," says BHG.com home chef Krista. Spoon the rustic French recipe over hot mashed potatoes for a stick-to-your ribs slow cooker supper.

  • 13 of 31

    Supreme Pizza Soup

    Use up leftover: Sausage; Pepperoni; Cooked Vegetables

    Instead of firing up the oven for a pizza again, toss the same ingredients in a stock pot with a vegetable-rich tomato base. Once you ladle up a serving and top with grated Parm and a handful of croutons, you'll enjoy all the flavors you know and love from deep dish—just minus some carbs and calories.

  • 14 of 31

    Egg and Fried Rice Ole

    Use up leftover: Rice

    Introducing a stir-fry that's appropriate and easy enough to serve as breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Leftover brown rice has the just-right consistency for standing up in the skillet during the saute step.

    Tip: Not a fan of runny yolks? Any egg preparation, like scrambled to over-hard, can be traded for the fried variation shown here.

  • Turkey Mole Enchiladas, turkey, enchiladas 15 of 31

    Turkey Mole Enchiladas

    Use up leftover: Turkey

    Spice up leftover turkey with our spin on Mexican mole sauce, made with ancho chiles, cinnamon, almond butter, and unsweetened cocoa powder. It sounds like an odd combination, but trust us: the complex results are mouthwatering!

  • 16 of 31

    Chicken Alfredo Cauliflower Rice Bake

    Use up leftover: Chicken

    Leftover chicken and jarred light Alfredo sauce make it a cinch to disguise loads of veggies (that's cauliflower rice, not pasta!) in this panko-topped casserole. This mac and cheese-inspired meal is the ideal dinner recipe to scoop up for picky eaters.

  • sausage-pesto pull-apart bread 17 of 31

    Sausage-Pesto Pull-Apart Bread

    Use up leftover: Basil Pesto; Sausage

    Pizza night part two. Layers of homemade bread, pesto, crumbled sausage, and mozzarella cheese melt together in one loaf pan. Serve warm and, in just a few minutes, all that will remain of this shareable snack will be crumbs!

  • 18 of 31

    Sesame Chicken with Noodles

    Use up leftover: Chicken

    Sesame oil adds a hint of nuttiness to this 400-calorie dish that takes just 20 minutes to make. (Psst...it's even quicker if you have cooked noodles handy!) Sweet peppers and cilantro keep things colorful, while Asian garlic-chili sauce adds a subtle kick to the chopped chicken.

  • 19 of 31

    Tomatillo-Turkey Chili with Spelt

    Use up leftover: Turkey

    For a dinner that has not one but two secrets to no-sweat success (stirring in precooked turkey, employing a slow cooker), turn to this wholesome chili recipe. Spelt, a filling grain, adds texture and nutrients.

    Tip: Simply skip step one if you're working with leftover turkey.

  • 20 of 31

    Smoked Salmon Quesadillas with Avocado Salsa

    Use up leftover: Smoked Salmon; Cream Cheese

    Try something totally delicious with your leftover smoked salmon. Balance the rich, savory flavors with half a block of cream cheese and veggies wrapped in a crisp tortilla, then top with a big spoonful of fresh avocado salsa.

  • 21 of 31

    Quinoa and Butternut Bowl

    Use up leftover: Quinoa

    Whether you serve it at breakfast or dinner, this meal in a bowl is a nutrition-packed recipe to help you hit your whole grain, vegetable, and vitamin quotas for the day. Top the leftover quinoa saute with a poached egg for extra protein.

  • 22 of 31

    Chicken Frittata with Chimichurri

    Use up leftover: Chicken

    The riddle is finally solved! Since you're opting for leftover meat in this Mexican-inspired frittata, the chicken came before the egg...and the zesty chimichurri and gooey Monterey Jack cheese.

  • 23 of 31

    Dark Chocolate Candy Bark

    Use up leftover: Candy

    Valentine's Day, Halloween, and Christmas candies taste even better atop melted dark chocolate. Chill for half an hour, break into bite-size pieces, and gift to friends, co-workers, or neighbors to share the cocoa wealth.

  • 24 of 31

    Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata

    Use up leftover: Ham; French Bread

    Stale bread? All the better for this ham and egg strata! It will soak up even more of the eggy mixture and elevate the texture of this asparagus-studded casserole to fork-fight-worthy territory.

  • 25 of 31

    Fresh Corn-Rice Salad

    Use up leftover: Rice

    Fluffy rice makes a tasty vehicle for fresh corn, juicy tomatoes, and zippy arugula—plus a punch of spice from jalapenos and red onion. It's the perfect no-cook dinner for the heat of the summer.

  • 26 of 31

    Smoked Turkey Panini

    Use up leftover: Turkey

    This mile-high turkey sandwich gets a fresh spin with stacks of spinach and bruschetta topping. If you don't have the jarred kind (or don't feel up to making homemade bruschetta), pesto would be scrumptious in this recipe, too.

  • 27 of 31

    Chicken-and-Apple Curry Soup

    Use up leftover: Chicken

    You need just 35 minutes to stir together this creamy, entree-worthy soup. With plenty of protein from the leftover chicken, dinner is complete once you add a roll on the side of this warm creation.

  • 28 of 31

    Turkey and Apricot Bread Salad

    Use up leftover: Turkey; Bread

    A blend of dried fruits, blue cheese, and rosemary vinaigrette are the makings of an impressive salad. Toss pieces of whole grain bread with the dressing to make homemade croutons that add tons of texture and flavor.

  • 29 of 31

    Greek-Style Quesadillas

    Use up leftover: Chicken

    For a Mediterranean spin on a Mexican favorite, fill flour tortillas with chicken (leftover or rotisserie both work wonderfully), feta cheese, red onion, cucumber, Kalamata olives, and Greek vinaigrette salad dressing.

  • 30 of 31

    Bacon and Pear Autumn Salad

    Use up leftover: Barley or Farro

    Sure, you could reheat the whole grain and serve it as a side with your entree. Or you could use it as a base for a well-balanced salad for a side that's way more vibrant and craveable. Don't forget the bacon "croutons"!

  • Next Slideshow Tasty 5-Ingredient Dinners

    Tasty 5-Ingredient Dinners

    Incredibly fast, incredibly tasty dinners do exist! We have 20-plus quick and easy dinner recipes that require a tiny grocery list of just five ingredients or fewer (we're assuming you already have oil, salt, and pepper in your pantry). So what's for dinner tonight?
    Begin Slideshow »
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