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Hate eating leftovers? Here are 10 recipes you can turn into another dish

Hate eating leftovers? Here are 10 recipes you can turn into another dish

(Rebecca Clyde)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Whether you're cooking for one or for an entire family, making extra servings of meals will save you time and energy. But with that ease might come boredom. Many people struggle to want to cook because it seems like you either have to cook every night or rely on leftovers. It doesn't have to be that way though.

When I work with clients who cook for one, we focus on finding recipes that can be repurposed or batch cook individual ingredients. This way of cooking merges the ease of preparing extra food with the variety of eating something different every night.

Here are 10 simple recipes that can be made into another dish.

1. Turn Flat Iron Steak Fajitas into Steak and Shrimp Fajitas

You can cook this steak on a grill or a cast-iron skillet, add the toppings, and then quickly cook up some shrimp to add to the steak for some different flavors. For another meal option, I recommend making burrito bowls by adding rice and turning it into a burrito, or you can make a salad by adding in some lettuce. There are many ways you can transform this recipe to keep dinner interesting.

2. Carne Asada Bowl to Carne Asada Quesadillas

You can make this carne asada and use it in the bowl with mango sauce or put the meat into quesadillas for a quick meal. You'll have a couple of delicious dinners that definitely won't be boring.

3. Thai Inspired Beef and Spinach Bowl

This beef bowl with spinach, fried garlic and bold flavors is one of my favorite dinners. To repurpose it, I've got two suggestions.

  1. Double the recipe and wait to add the fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar to the portion you're going to eat that night. Then add cheese and taco seasonings to enjoy it as a taco salad or burrito.
  2. Pile the meat and spinach in a hoagie with cheese and have it like a cheesesteak sandwich.

4. Chicken Salad in a Pita

This pita chicken salad sandwich is crunchy, tangy and super creamy. It takes about 10 minutes to throw together if you've got leftover rotisserie chicken or precooked chicken, and it can be repurposed into chicken salad (over salad), chicken salad on sandwich bread, or chicken salad that serves as a dip for crackers, tortilla chips, celery, carrots or other crunchy dipping foods.

5. Black Bean Corn Salad

This simple black bean corn salad is a great side and can be added to quesadillas, burritos, salads, grains and many other dishes. It's also a simple recipe that can be adapted to use up what you have on hand or your favorite add-ins.

6. Make-Ahead Breakfast Tacos

These breakfast tacos are great to freeze for later, but if you want to eat them all in a week and want different options, I recommend wrapping the ingredients in a bigger tortilla to make a burrito, or omitting the tortillas and having it as a hash. You can also add the toppings to chicken, pork or steak if you want a break from the eggs.

This pita chicken salad sandwich can be repurposed into several other dishes.
This pita chicken salad sandwich can be repurposed into several other dishes. (Photo: Rebecca Clyde)

7. Tomato Sauce

You can use this easy tomato sauce recipe that's made with sweet grape tomatoes on pasta, pizza or curry. You could eat these dishes all week without getting bored with them.

8. Arroz Colorido

Make this colorful rice dish ahead of time and then add it to tacos, burritos or enchiladas. Don't forget to top it with cooked peppers, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and/or jalapeños for extra flavor and crunch.

9. Roasted Garlic Mushrooms

While these mushrooms aren't a complete dish, I highly recommend batch cooking some vegetables like this. These mushrooms are great because they're super easy and you can smash the garlic in oil after they're done cooking to turn into a garlicky sauce. Easily add these mushrooms to pasta, quickly cooked chicken, an omelet or even a steak.

If you find yourself looking in the fridge and wanting to eat some vegetables but don't know what to make or don't want to put much effort into it, this recipe is for you. Make it once and eat it all week on all different dishes.

10. Spring Tortilla de Patata

This large omelet that you cook in a skillet was one of my favorite Spanish dishes. A traditional _t_ortilla de patata has thinly sliced potatoes and onions in it, but you can add any other vegetable to it that you want to use up. Eat it like a quiche one day and then place it between two slices of a baguette for lunch the next day. It's delicious and super easy.

Remember that cooking for yourself doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort. It can be easy, and you don't have to resort to leftovers all the time. Just keep experimenting with different ways of preparing food until you find a way of cooking that you enjoy and makes your life easier.


Rebecca Clyde

About the Author: Rebecca Clyde

Rebecca is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in helping women find happiness and feel comfortable in their skin by empowering them to nourish their minds and their bodies. She also works tirelessly to help people reject the unrealistic and dangerous expectations for women to look a certain way and enjoys helping women improve their body image. She runs a Salt Lake City-based nutrition business. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter and her free private Facebook support group for food and health inspiration. You can also download her complimentary list of healthy foods to save you hours in the kitchen each week.

Editor's Note: Anything in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended, nor should it be interpreted, to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition; Any opinions, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available are those of the respective author(s) or distributor(s) and not of KSL. KSL does not endorse nor is it responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, information, or statement made in this article. KSL expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on the content of this article.

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Rebecca is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in helping women find happiness and feel comfortable in their skin by empowering them to nourish their minds and their bodies. She runs a Salt Lake City-based nutrition business called Nourish Nutrition Co. Download her complimentary list of healthy foods to save you hours in the kitchen each week at nourishnutritionblog.com.

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