Tag Archives: leftovers

Leftover fried chicken nachos

Leftover Fried Chicken + Pineapple + Nacho Chips = The Game-Day Meal of Your Dreams

When life gives you leftover fried chicken, make nachos! Inspired by the flavours of The Heartbreak Chef’s Dutty Chicken Sandwich, these Dining In chicken and pineapple nachos with jerk sour cream pairs leftover spicy fried chicken with the sweetness of pineapple — and is then finished with red onion, jalapenos and loads of cheese. It’s a quick and simple dish for a late-night snack or game-day meal!

Leftover fried chicken nachos

Leftover Fried Chicken and Pineapple Nachos With Jerk Sour Cream

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

½ cup sour cream
2 tsp jerk sauce
6 cups tortilla chips
3 cups medium cheddar, grated
2 cups leftover spicy fried chicken (or leftover chicken tossed in jerk sauce), cubed
1 cup pineapple, cubed
½ small red onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Leftover fried chicken nachos ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and jerk sauce. Set aside until serving.

Jerk sour cream in bowl

2. Layer about of the tortilla chips on a round baking tray or skillet. Top with about of cheese, fried chicken, pineapple, red onion and jalapeno peppers. Then repeat with another layer — of the tortilla chips, cheese, chicken, pineapple, onion and jalapenos. Place the nachos in the oven to bake for 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Leftover fried chicken ingredients on countertop

3. Remove the nachos and make another layer using the remaining ingredients, forming a pyramid. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and tortilla chips are beginning to brown.

Leftover fried chicken nachos

4. To serve, spoon a large dollop of the jerk sour cream on the top of the nachos and sprinkle with green onions. Enjoy!

Watch the how-to video here:


Like Philip and Mystique’s leftover spicy fried chicken nachos? Try their eggplant parm dip!

Leftover turkey pizza

The Best Leftover Turkey Recipe You’ll Ever Need (We Promise!)

We’re sure you’ve come across a lot of ways to use up leftover turkey, but what about a recipe that uses ALL the holiday leftovers? Introducing the Love Your Leftovers holiday pizza! You will never need — or want — to find another holiday leftovers recipe again. You might even find yourself roasting up a turkey just to make this delicious pizza. For the carbs portion, feel free to use any leftover carb you have available, like roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes or stuffing. Add the cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts and you’re good to go!

Leftover turkey pizza cut up on counter

Leftover Turkey Pizza Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 18 minutes
Total Time: 25 to 28 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
Olive oil, for brushing
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup leftover turkey, pulled or diced (Not a fan of turkey, but have leftover ham or leftover rotisserie chicken? They both work too!)
½ cup mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes or stuffing
½ cup cranberry sauce
½ cup roasted Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced

Leftover turkey pizza ingredients

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place pizza stone in the oven. Divide dough into two equal portions. Stretch and roll out dough to desired thickness.

Person kneading pizza dough

2. Generously brush the dough with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a pizza paddle.

Related: Delicious Uses for Leftover Mashed Potatoes

3. Dollop with ricotta cheese. Top with turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts.

Leftover turkey pizza

4. Slide pizza onto the heated stone and bake until the crust is golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. Enjoy!

Leftover turkey pizza

Like Marcella’s leftover turkey pizza recipe? Try her vegan eggnog or her cinnamon streusel muffins.

This Comforting Mujadara Recipe is Our Favourite Way to Cook Rice

Mujadara is a simple and delicious dish of lentils, rice, spices and fried onions. The first-known recipe of this popular Middle Eastern dish can be found in a 13th-century Iraqi cookbook. This vegetarian meal was once considered to be “food of the poor” — as its inexpensive and readily available ingredients can feed many people. It gets its rich, infused flavour by coating the rice in olive oil and spices before cooking it. If you have leftover rice, you can improvise a cheat version of mujadara and fold it in with the lentils and onions at the end. But it’s always best to start with a traditional recipe from scratch before you begin experimenting with shortcuts — so you know how it’s meant to turn out. This recipe is adapted from methods from my favourite Middle Eastern chefs, who bring Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Syrian influences to their recipes. I remember trying mujadara for the first time as a little girl and savouring the crispy onions — and now, when I make it for my own children, they also eat the onions first!

Vegetarian Mujadara

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 (depending on if it’s a main or side)

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
3 large or 4 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced as evenly as possible
1 ½ cups water
1 ¼ cups brown or green lentils
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 cup basmati rice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 bunch of parsley, picked off the stems and roughly chopped (optional)
1 lemon, quartered for serving
Sea salt and black pepper

Serve this mujadara recipe warm or at room temperature, with a side of plain Greek yogurt or labneh, lemon wedges, parsley and a chopped salad of tomato and cucumber.

Directions:

1. Heat the vegetable oil on medium to high in a heavy-bottom saucepan with a lid or a Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add half of the onions. Fry for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a rich golden brown. Some dark bits are fine, that’s where you’ll get the bitterness. If the onions are all the same size, they will cook more evenly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a colander or plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. (Act fast— the onions crisp up quickly at this stage and it’s in the last seconds where they’ll go from brown to black if you’re not careful). Season with salt. Repeat with second batch and set aside.

2. While the onions are frying, add the lentils to a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft, but slightly firm in the centre. Drain and set aside.

Related: 25 Healthy Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat

3. Drain the oil from the saucepan you fried the onions in and wipe it clean. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, rice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and spices. If you’re adding sugar, now is the time to put it in as well. Bring to a boil before simmering on low heat for 15 minutes. (Be patient and don’t open the lid — you don’t want any of that steam to escape).

4. Remove from heat, take the lid off and immediately cover with a clean tea towel and put the lid back on, sealing tightly. This will allow the mujadara to keep steaming gently. Let rest for about 10 minutes.

5. Transfer the rice and lentils into a large mixing bowl or straight into your serving platter and then gently fold in half the fried onions.
Top with the second half of the fried onions and garnish with parsley.

Like Claire’s vegetarian mujadara? Try her mother’s recipe for seven-vegetable Moroccan couscous.

Save That Leftover Pie Dough and Make These Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies!

Several pie crust recipes yield enough dough for the top and bottom of a pie, but not all pies require both. When you find yourself with leftover pie dough, don’t let it go to waste. Turn it into a new dessert: cinnamon pinwheel cookies. They taste like mini cinnamon rolls! They’re super simple to make and are so good that you might just find yourself going out of your way to have “leftover” pie dough.

Leftover Pie Dough Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Total Time: 27 to 30 minutes
Servings: 12 pinwheel cookies

Ingredients:

½ batch pie crust, chilled
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch fine salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll pie dough into a 12 by 8 inch rectangle.

3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt until well blended.

Related: Start Your Morning on a Sweet Note With These Gooey Cinnamon Buns

4. Spread the prepared filling evenly over dough. Tightly roll the dough, beginning from the 12 inch side. Press the seam to seal. Trim and discard the ends, about ½ inch on each side. Cut log into ¼ inch thick slices and transfer to prepared baking sheet.

5. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to chill. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until edges begin to brown.

Looking for more fun at-home baking projects? Try these lemon meringue cupcakes and secret ingredient carrot cake.

Here’s How to Organize Your Tupperware Drawer Once and for All

Our Tupperware drawers used to stress us out. Seriously. Just opening them up and seeing the chaos that lurked inside was enough for us to toss leftover food away instead of packing it up — it was so wasteful, we know! The thought of spending more than 10 minutes in an archeological dig to find a matching top and bottom was too much of a feat. It’s like trying to find a matching pair of socks while sifting through an enormous pile of clothes in the dryer: it’s frustrating, it wastes time and there are far better things to be doing. So, we came up with a system that now has our Tupperware drawers looking glorious. Now we proudly package up leftovers anytime, looking at the orderly drawers with awe and admiration. This system will change your life. OK, maybe it won’t change your life, but it will change the function of your kitchen, which will inevitably make you calmer and a little bit happier.

Step 1: Empty it Out
Take a deep breath and open the drawer. Take every single item out of the drawer: all lids, all containers and any other random objects that might be stashed away in there. Make sure to look behind the drawer to see if any lids or containers have fallen back there. Have a clear space ready to transfer all the items onto, like a section of the countertop, the kitchen table or even a clean space on the floor. This is the messy part.

Step 2: Partner and Purge
Often times food storage container drawers will be filled with mismatched lids and containers that are just a waste of space. Start finding partners by stacking all of the same-sized container bottoms together. Push all the lids to the side and work on just the containers first. You will inevitably have singles of some containers or ones that are incredibly large or small, don’t stack these ones with the others, just place them to the side. Once you’re done, move onto stacking all lids that are the same shape and size and ensure they have a matching bottom container. Simply count the number of bottom containers and matching tops to see if the numbers add up.

Now, for the purge. If you have lids with no matching bottoms or bottoms with no matching lids, recycle those, unless you have another use for them. If you have containers that are stained, broken or just plain gross, recycle those too. If you find any other items that are not food storage related, find their appropriate home (that may very well be the garbage).

Step 3: Tame the Lids
In a food storage container drawer, often times it’s the lids that like to go rogue and crazy. It’s time to tame them by placing an elastic band around the stack of ones that are the same shape and size. Then organize them into storage containers that will fit into your drawer. You can find these online or at any kitchen store or dollar store. If your drawer doesn’t have room for the storage containers, you can lay the lids on top of their matching bottoms, but they must be contained with an elastic band.

Related: The Leftover Chicken Recipes You’ll Look Forward to Devouring

Step 4: Clean the Drawer
Before the organized containers can go in, give the drawer a good clean and wipe down. You don’t know what dust, crumbs or yuckiness have been living in there.

Step 5: In With the New
Start putting the stacks of container bottoms into the drawer. If some of the single ones are big, place them in first and stack similarly shaped ones inside of it. Do the same with smaller singles and stack those into similarly shaped larger ones. Make space for the storage containers of lids or place the matching lids on top of their partnered bottoms.

Step 6: Beam With Pride
You did it! You now have a chaos-free Tupperware drawer that is actually user friendly! Aren’t you excited for packing leftovers and snacks now? Your job is not done though — now it’s time to pass this article along to those who desperately need it, you know who they are.

Related: 35 Weeknight Meals That Taste Even Better As Leftovers

Step 7: Maintenance
This is the most important step of them all. Once all your food storage containers are washed and clean, you must put it back properly. Let us repeat. You must put it back properly! That means you don’t just toss it back in the drawer, you stack it where it needs to go. You don’t throw your cutlery all willy-nilly in a drawer, you spend time organizing it into sections. Similarly, you don’t throw your clothes in a drawer, you spend time folding it first. Take this same care and a bit of extra time with your Tupperware drawer. And if you are someone who just throws cutlery in a drawer — we need to talk. Happy organizing!

Ready to use up your leftovers? These fried mashed potato balls and this pasta frittata with salad will help you reinvent the wheel.

Refrigerator Rules: How Long Do Leftovers Last?

Remembering you have leftover chicken, pizza or turkey in the fridge can feel like a siren call to happiness. But depending on the type of food you’re dealing with, figuring out whether or not Wednesday’s dinner can safely be eaten as Friday’s lunch can feel like a guessing game. If you too are Googling “how long do leftovers stay good” and asking everyone you know the same question, here’s the complete run-down.

chicken-thighs-slow-cookerGet the recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

Leftover Chicken

Storage conditions will cause the shelf life of cooked chicken to vary from kitchen to kitchen. If your fridge is exceptionally cold and the chicken is sealed properly, it can last for more than four days. However, a good rule of thumb for the average fridge is to toss cooked chicken after four days, which is when bacteria usually begins to grow. If you’re unsure whether or not the chicken is safe to eat, look for any signs of a sour smell or slightly slimy texture. If you find any of these traits, discard the chicken without tasting it first.

Related: Budget-Friendly Pantry Staples You Should Always Have on Hand

Leftover Stuffing and Gravy

While some might argue that half the fun of popular holiday dinners is the leftovers, both stuffing and gravy have a surprisingly short shelf life. Stuffing — which is often soaked through with meat drippings — shouldn’t be consumed after a maximum of two days in the fridge. The same two-day rule should be applied to the gravy, which should always be brought to a rolling boil to properly kill bacteria before serving again. The good news is that freezing excess stuffing and gravy will extend the shelf life for up to four months.

Leftover Pizza

Any food with meat and cheese that’s left unrefrigerated for more than two hours can cause foodborne illness. This includes the half-eaten pizza box you left out just in case “someone” wanted another slice. Place your pizza in the fridge within two hours of preparation and it will last for up to four days, three days being the recommended shelf life of the average slice. After that, bacteria can begin to grow and lead to food poisoning.

cauliflower-lasagnaGet the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Lasagna

Leftover Lasagna

Cooked lasagna keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days if stored in a tightly sealed container to keep out excess moisture and other contaminants. The best way to determine whether or not lasagna has turned is to look for dried-out noodles or a sour smell emanating from the tomato sauce and cheese.

Related: 10 Surprising Foods That Boost the Immune System

Leftover Pad Thai and Takeout Noodles

Pad Thai and other popular takeout noodle dishes will generally last up to three days in the refrigerator. Due to heavy sauces that can contribute to a soggy texture, these dishes can sometimes taste bad before they actually go bad. To be safe, always reheat noodles with meat and animal products to a temperature of 165°F or higher in order to kill any outstanding bacteria before eating.

Leftover Beef 

Are you reaching for last week’s beef tenderloin leftovers or prime rib leftovers, but not sure if it’s still good to eat? If properly stored, the general rule of thumb for cooked beef is three to four days in the fridge or up to six months in the freezer. If it is giving off a bad smell or it looks slimy or sticky, it’s definitely time to toss that goodbye.

Looking for more info on food safety? Learn 4 Things You Don’t Know About Expiry Dates.

Published January 5, 2019. Updated April 2, 2020

The Trick to Mastering the Best-Ever Instant Pot Crispy Rice

What’s better than a bowl of flawlessly cooked rice? It should be tender yet fluffy with each pearly grain separated and peaked. How to cook the perfect pot of rice is as baffling as there are methods, and yes, it’s easy to mess up, but we’ve mastered the technique with the Instant Pot and added a crispy, crunchy top (arguably the only way to improve rice). Here are the tricks to mastering the glorious crispy crown every time using an Instant Pot.

How to Make The Best Instant Pot Crispy Rice

Ingredients:
2 cups basmati rice (makes 6 cups of cooked rice)
5 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter, divided (1 ½ Tbsp softened)
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp saffron threads (optional)
3 Tbsp olive oil or neutral oil

1. Wash Don’t Rinse

Wash the rice 3x in a bowl covered with cold water, swishing with your hand or until the water runs clear. Tip the bowl to drain the cloudy water and repeat. Rinsing the rice in a fine-mesh sieve isn’t enough to thoroughly wash away any loose starch, dirt or debris that has accumulated from storage or the field, and it tastes so much better.

2. Good Soak

Place the rice in a bowl and cover with cold water for 20-30 minutes until the grains are pearly white, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. (Yes, this is when you can rinse through a sieve!) The rice will absorb some of the water, resulting in elongated, perfectly separate grains, and it shortens the cooking time.

3. Prep the Pot

Evenly spread 1 ½ Tbsp of softened ghee on the bottom of the Instant Pot, making sure to cover. Melted ghee will trickle down from the centre of the pot since there is a slope. Softened ghee, on the other hand, will stay in place while preventing the rice from sticking.

Tip: We like using ghee for its golden hue, and it’s a pure fat with a high smoke point. It’s basically unsalted butter with the milk solids removed after separating from the butter fat (a cousin to clarified butter). Learn how to make your own ghee at home.

4. Under Pressure

Add the strained rice to the prepared pot, spreading evenly over top. Sprinkle with salt and 2 cups of cold water. Press the Pressure function and cook on high for 5 minutes. Release the pressure, remove the lid and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Grind and Bloom

*This step is optional. Skip the grinding if you’re not using saffron.*
Meanwhile, grind saffron in a mortar and pestle or finely rub between fingers and stir into a measuring glass with the olive oil. Melt the remaining ghee, then stir into the oil mixture to allow the saffron to bloom.

6. Poke Poke

Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke the rice to the bottom to make many holes. These holes will be the tunnels for the ghee saffron mixture to reach the bottom and create the signature crispy top.

Drizzle the saffron mixture over the rice, concentrating in the centre (the slope will pool the ghee to the edge of the pot).

7. Crispy Sauté

Remove the kitchen towel and press the Sauté function, and cook until the rice is golden brown and crispy on the bottom, 10-12 minutes. Using an offset spatula or rubber spatula, loosen the edge of rice and lightly pack.

Tip: If you’re afraid of the inverting, scoop the rice onto the centre of the platter, then carefully remove the crispy top and transfer. You won’t have a single piece, but you can hide the cracks with parsley or chopped pistachios or pomegranate seeds.

Using kitchen towels, remove the pot. Place a large platter over top and quickly invert it, so the rice falls onto the platter with the crispy side up. Be patient, you may have to wait up to 30 seconds for the bottom to fall, and you may have to scrape and patch any bits left behind. You did it! Now crunch, crunch and enjoy!

Note: Crispy rice is often called Tahdig (tah-DEEG), the Persian word that translates as “the bottom of the pot” and is the golden, crispy crust coveted by everyone at the table.

Looking for more inspiration? See here for easy and tasty ways to use leftover rice, plus 20+ creative stir-fry recipes and seasonal risotto ideas for spring.

These Comforting Fried Mashed Potato Balls Make Leftovers the Star

Who doesn’t love creamy mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving? A classic favourite, this delicious side dish is usually one that leaves you with leftovers to repurpose. Instead of simply reheating them (not recommended), get creative in the kitchen with this ultra-tasty and easy appetizer idea that’s great for entertaining. Use whatever cheese and fun add-ins you have in your fridge to change up the flavours and suit your mood!

Mashed Potato Croquettes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 18 balls (approx.)

Ingredients:

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
¾ cup shredded old cheddar cheese
3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
½ tsp salt, divided
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp chopped chives
¼ tsp pepper
Oil, for frying

Directions:

1. Stir together mashed potatoes, cheese and bacon in a medium bowl. Portion into 1-inch balls.
2. Mix panko with ¼ tsp salt in a small bowl. Roll potato balls in panko mixture, pressing lightly to adhere.

3. Heat 1-1/2 -inches oil in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack. Fry potato balls in batches of 4 or 5 until golden. Set aside, and continue frying remaining batches.
4. Stir sour cream with chives, remaining salt and pepper in a small bowl. Serve with warm croquettes.

Don’t stop reimagining your leftovers there! Here are 12 turkey soup and stew recipes, plus tips on how long you can actually eat your Thanksgiving leftovers. Also, this braised turkey sandwich is worthy of becoming a new holiday tradition.

Don’t Toss ‘Em! 5 Seriously Delicious Ways to Use Broccoli Stems

Food waste is a big issue here in Canada, yet there are plenty of easy, commonly overlooked things you can do at home to dramatically reduce your own waste footprint. For instance: finding creative (and tasty!) ways to eat the often discarded parts of fruits and veggies. Most people are quick to toss away leaves, peels, stems and stalks, when really, these are delicacies that can lend flavour, texture and vibrancy to so many dishes (proof: these delicious uses for leftover food scraps).

One of our favourite neglected ingredients is broccoli stems. Once peeled, they’re sweet and crunchy, and when cooked, they’re incredibly tender. Broccoli stems are also quite versatile: you can shred them into rice, spiralize them into noodles, blitz them into hummus or pesto, add them to broths, blend them into soups and even roast them into french fries! Read on to learn how it’s done.

1. Broccoli “Rice”

Broccoli rice can be used as a wonderful substitute for white rice, brown rice or cauliflower rice. Use it to make fried rice, add it to mac and cheese, bake it into a savoury casserole with other veggies, or simply add it to a salad.

Ingredients:
4 broccoli stems

Directions:
1. Using a paring knife or peeler, peel the tough skin of the stem.
2. Run the stems along a grater, or if using a food processor, install the grating blade and run the stems through the feeder tube.
3. Squeeze out any excess moisture.

2. Broccoli Slaw

You may have seen broccoli slaw in ready-to-go bags at the grocery store, but it’s so easy and quick to make at home. Broccoli stems hold up in a slaw, they’re hearty and retain dressing really well so they don’t get soggy. Like any slaw, you can add whichever veggies you love and make different style dressings to go along with it, like soy sesame, yogurt dill or citrus and honey.

Ingredients:

Slaw
2 broccoli stems, julienned
2 carrots, julienned
1 cup sliced purple cabbage
½ cup roughly chopped mixed herbs (basil, mint, cilantro, parsley)

Dressing
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
Pinch of sea salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Using a paring knife or peeler, peel the outer tough skin of the broccoli stem and then thinly julienne it. If using a food processor, install the grating blade and run stems through.
2. Julienne the carrots, thinly slice the purple cabbage and roughly chop the herbs. You can also grate the carrots with the grating blade on the food processor.
3. Toss everything together in a bowl.
4. Whisk the dressing in a separate dish, then pour over the slaw. The slaw can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days.

3. Broccoli Noodles

If you’re looking for low-carb options, broccoli noodles can replace traditional pasta (read: 10 satisfying weeknight recipes where veggies replace carbs). The best broccoli noodles are made using a spiralizer, but if this isn’t a kitchen gadget you own, opt for a veggie peeler instead!

Ingredients:
2 broccoli stems

Directions:
1. Using a paring knife or peeler, peel the outer tough skin of the broccoli stem.
2. If using a spiralizer, run it through to create noodles, or use your peeler, and continue to peel until you have flat, long tagliatelle-style noodles.

4. Broccoli Hummus

When broccoli stems are lightly steamed, it takes the bitter edge off. The stems are also more mild in flavour than the florets, so the broccoli taste in this hummus recipe doesn’t overpower. Combining with other classic ingredients makes for a unique twist on an already fantastic snack staple. Smear it onto sandwiches, use it to dip fresh veggies and crackers, or have it act as dressing for pasta salad.

Ingredients:
3 broccoli stems
¼ cup tahini
½ lemon, juiced
1 garlic clove
¼ cup fresh parsley (optional)
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
2-3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Using a paring knife or peeler, peel the outer tough skin of the broccoli stem. Lightly steam until tender.
2. In a food processor, add all ingredients, except olive oil. Begin to blitz, then add 1 Tbsp of oil at a time through the feeder tube until creamy and perfectly blended. If the mixture is too thick, you can add a few spoonfuls of water as needed.

4. Broccoli Fries

This is one of our favourite ways to devour broccoli stems. They have a firm texture, which makes them perfect for roasting into a french fry. When roasted, the stems become slightly sweet, and soften on the outside, while the middle still retains its satisfying crunch. You can eat these as is or dip them into hummus, pesto or even ketchup.

Ingredients:
4 broccoli stems
1 to 2 Tbsp avocado oil
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
¼ tsp granulated garlic

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Using a paring knife or peeler, peel the outer tough skin of the broccoli stem, then slice into french fry shapes.
3. Place the “fries” on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic. Ensure the pieces are spread out so they have a chance to crisp.
4. Roast for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.

Don’t stop there. Here are 15 veggies to regrow in your kitchen, genius tips to make food last longer and the 10 most wasteful cooking habits to kick.

Easy 20-Minute Leftover Pasta Frittata With Radicchio Salad

Often, we end up cooking more pasta that we can chew on a giving evening, which means: extra helpings for the week ahead! But before you lather those leftover spaghetti noodles in tomato sauce and call it a meal, think outside the pan. This creative 20-minute dish gives leftover pasta a delicious makeover, resulting in a comforting, cheesy frittata. Top with fresh basil and tomatoes, and serve alongside prosciutto and a simple salad for a complete bacon and egg Italian mash-up!

Leftover Pasta Frittata with Quick Radicchio Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Frittata
2 slices prosciutto or thick sliced bacon
5 eggs
⅓ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups leftover cooked spaghetti or other long pasta
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
⅔ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Basil leaves

Radicchio Salad
1 head radicchio, torn
1 Tbsp olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Cook prosciutto or bacon in a 10-inch heatproof skillet or cast-iron pan over medium heat, turning once, until crisp. Set aside. Wipe pan clean.
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with sour cream, and salt and pepper until blended. Toss in pasta and 1/3 cup of the cheese.

4. In same pan, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium, add pasta mixture and cook without stirring, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup cheese. Transfer to oven.
5. Cook until puffed and slightly jiggly, about 5 minutes. For a crispy browned top, broil 2-3 minutes. Top with tomatoes and basil, and serve with bacon/prosciutto (or chop in pieces to scatter on top).

6. Tear radicchio and toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (if desired), garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Tip: Radicchio lettuce is slightly bitter and lends itself easily to a good olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese for the quickest and elegant weeknight salad.

Tip: The centre will look slightly loose, puffed and jiggly, the hot pan will continue to cook the frittata with residual heat called carryover cooking.

How long do leftovers last in the fridge? We break it down. Plus, 30+ meals that taste better as leftovers, and tasty ways to use leftover rice.

chicken-stock-how-to-make

How to Make Fast Homemade Turkey Stock with Your Instant Pot

After a night of Thanksgiving cooking, cleaning and entertaining the last thing anyone wants to do is step back into the kitchen and embark on new cooking projects. You could spend hours simmering your turkey carcass to create stock, but with the help of an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, you can transform it into a rich, delicious golden stock in less than 20 minutes. Use this golden liquid to make soups, risotto, or use as a braising liquid. It also freezes beautifully, so you can use it any time.

turkey-carcas-for-stcok

20-Minute Instant Pot Turkey Stock Recipe

Ingredients:
1 turkey carcass
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 onions, halved with skin left on
1 bunch parsley

Directions:
1. Pull any meat off the turkey carcass and reserve for another use. The bones don’t have to be completely clean. Place them in the Instant Pot with any leftover pan drippings or small leftover turkey bits.
2. Place carrots, celery, onion, and parsley into the pot.
3. Fill pot with water just to cover contents. Close lid and set to soup setting for 15 minutes.
4. When it is finished. Let the steam release from the valve.
5. Strain stock through a mesh sieve and discard bones and vegetables.
6. Season stock with salt and pepper.

I like to make this beautiful soup using the stock with leftover turkey meat, sautéed leeks, fresh peas and Parmesan cheese. Looking for more ideas for what to make with your turkey stock? Try these tasty recipes:

Turkey-Kale-and-Brown-Rice-Soup-Recipe

Turkey, Kale and Brown Rice Soup Recipe

leftover-turkey-pho-recipe

Leftover Roast Turkey Pho Recipe

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Bird to the Last drop Turkey Soup Recipe

Looking for more leftover ideas? Try these Tasty Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers.

Here’s How Long You Can Eat Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Once you’ve enjoyed a couple days of hot turkey sandwiches, and maybe made some turkey soup,  how long can you keep eating those Thanksgiving leftovers before it is time to toss? Here’s your ultimate guide for how long you can keep Thanksgiving leftovers like potatoes, turkey, stuffing, how to store them properly and how to know if they’ve gone bad.

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How Long Leftover Turkey Lasts

Leftover turkey needs to be stored in the fridge within two hours of cooking in order to minimize the chance of bacteria growth. The meat should be cut and deboned from the bird before being placed into shallow storage containers and cooled completely in the fridge. Once it’s cool, seal tightly and store in the refrigerator for two to four days. If you’re not sure if leftover turkey is safe to eat, check for a rotten egg smell or a slimy texture. If you notice either of these things, discard the meat immediately.

How Long You Can Keep Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes should easily last three to five days in the fridge if stored correctly and within two hours of cooking. This means ensuring there isn’t any moisture buildup under the lid that could encourage the growth of bacteria. If your leftover mashed potatoes have an off smell or appearance, throw them out without tasting. Cooked potatoes can be frozen in an airtight container for up to one year.

Oven Baked Stuffing

How to Store Leftover Stuffing

Because stuffing is moist and slow to heat up and cool down, it provides an ideal place for bacteria to grow and is best consumed within two days of cooking. If you want to enjoy stuffing long after the main event, you can easily freeze it for up to four months and reheat when you’d like a festive side of comfort food.

How Long  You Can Keep Leftover Gravy

Gravy has a short shelf life at just three to four days, but like stuffing, it can be frozen for up to four to six months for increased enjoyment. In order to maintain food safety, gravy should be brought to a rolling boil before serving in order to properly kill any bacteria that may have started growing.

How Long You Can Keep Leftover Sweet Potatoes in the Fridge

Just like regular potatoes, leftover sweet potatoes are safe to eat for three to five days after your Thanksgiving meal, whether they’ve been baked, boiled, or cooked in a casserole. Again, refrigerate within two hours of cooking, and store your cooked sweet potatoes in shallow airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. They can also be frozen for up to a year, just be sure to sprinkle them first with a small amount of lemon juice in order to prevent discolouration. If they smell strange or are discoloured (some browning is fine and is just the result of oxidation) you’re best off tossing them.

How Long You Can Keep Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce should keep in the refrigerator for anywhere from 10-14 days, so long as it’s stored in a covered glass or plastic container. You can also pour the sauce into freezer-safe bags and freeze for use later in the year. If you’re using canned sauce and open the can only to discover brown or black bits inside, do not eat the sauce. If your homemade cranberry sauce has an off smell, flavour, or appearance, or you see any mould on top, toss it.

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How to Store Leftover Apple Pie

Pie made with fresh fruit, such as apples, usually only lasts a day or two in the fridge, so it’s best to gobble up any leftovers (or share with friends and family) as soon as you can. Un-cut apple pies can stay on the counter for about two days, so you should be good to make dessert ahead of time. You can tell your leftover apple pie has gone bad if the crust is soggy, which is a sign that it’s absorbed the moisture released by the fruit, or if it’s discoloured in any way.

How to Freeze Leftover Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is generally safe for two to four days in the fridge, and should be covered loosely with aluminium foil or plastic wrap. Leftover pumpkin pie can last for about six to eight months in the freezer if stored properly. Store bought pies will keep for longer on the counter than homemade versions. Because pumpkin pie is an egg-based dessert, it is best eaten within an hour of cooking or being removed from the fridge, and can cause serious health issues if eaten after being left out for too long.

Have lots of leftovers? Try these great recipes for leftover turkey.

The Best Ham Recipes and Tips for Your Easter Table

With Easter coming up, we’re talking to Food Network Canada Chef School’s Michael Smith, Mark McEwan  and Roger Mooking to help us master the baked holiday ham, a favourite roast this time of year. Your top ham questions for Easter and beyond are answered right here, by the pros. Along with what ham is best, how to cook ham and great tips for keeping your ham moist during roasting, the chefs deliver great ham glaze recipes for the trademark sticky-sweet crackling crust guests can’t get enough of. Intensely savoury, a little sweet and always crowd-pleasing, your Easter ham will be better than ever this year, thanks to the pros.

Best Ham to Buy

For the chefs, it’s all about the best quality, bone-in ham you can find – Easter ham is a once-a-year luxury, but can stretch beyond a single meal. Go big, and be rewarded with incredibly versatile leftovers – ham sandwiches, ham macaroni and cheese, ham omelettes, ham biscuits and more, next-day ham is a recipe-improving boon (we have a handful of leftover ham recipe ideas at the bottom of this article).

Michael Smith offers his advice on the traditional Easter ham, including what to look for when you’re purchasing it, saying, “I only cook one ham a year and that’s right around Easter. The best ham is bone-in, from a trusted source. You want something natural, naturally smoked. Not too many words that you can’t pronounce on the label.”

“To me, the best is buying a smoked, bone-in ham,” says Roger. “If you can go to a really good butcher, they can guarantee that they’re giving you [a good quality] Berkshire Ham or a Red Wattle Ham.” Red Wattle and Berkshire are heritage breeds of pork known for having the best quality meat.

How to Cook a Ham and Best Ham Glaze Recipes

Unlike other holiday meats, the beauty of a smoked ham is that it’s already cooked through. Cooks just have to heat, glaze and slice.

Roger keeps his ham moist and tender by covering it in the first half of cooking and mopping the glaze over the ham to finish. This helps to avoid both dry meat and a burnt crust. “As long as it’s covered you’ll have a nice steamy environment, and then towards the end, you [uncover it] and glaze,” he says.

Mark doesn’t typically add a liquid to the roasting pan when preparing his ham but that’s not to say you shouldn’t if you’re worried about keeping it moist.

“You could throw a tiny bit of stock in the bottom of the pan. A little bit of moisture with ham is not a bad thing at all. It helps to temper the cooking process and keep the ham moist. And you do want a moist ham.”

Mark also cautions against glazing the ham too early, as it can become too dark, or even burnt.

For a great ham glaze, the chefs love the interplay of sweetness with acid which complements a salty, smoky pork. The sweet component of a ham glaze can come from maple syrup, honey, fruit preserves, brown sugar, fruit puree or a mix of these. The acidic element can come from apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or citrus.  A warm savoury note is welcome, too; some chefs like to add a bit of mustard or a strong spice like allspice to the mix.

You’re after the consistency of loose preserves or maple syrup for a glaze, something viscous enough that it will stick to the ham as you mop it on and baste.

Mark McEwan favours an “old school, old-fashioned bone-in a ham out of the oven, beautifully glazed.  For his glaze, Mark juices clementines and adds it to maple syrup. “I like clementines because they have a really rich colour and there’s a bit of pulp in it.” He rounds out the glaze with a bit of brown sugar and cider vinegar. And on the McEwan table,  ham is served with a good mustard; it’s “oh my goodness” delicious.

You can get Mark’s recipe for his Easter Ham Glaze with Maple and Clementine Juice here.

For Rogers’ glaze, he pairs his naturally smoked ham with honey, grapefruit juice, allspice, five-spice, a touch of strained tomato puree, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, all stirred together until it reaches the consistency of maple syrup.

You can get Roger’s recipe for his Spiced Grapefruit and Honey-Glazed Ham glaze here.

Lynn Crawford has two delicious glazed ham recipes to serve at your holiday table: Pumpkin, Apple Cider, Maple Syrup and Mustard-Glazed Ham and a Traditional Maple-Glazed Ham with Cloves.

For a glazed ham recipe that gives you flexibility to create your own mix of flavours, try Michael Smith’s Sunday Ham with Apple and Rosemary Mustard Sauce. 

Easter Side Dishes for Ham

The perfect pairing for that beautifully glazed Easter ham is scalloped potatoes.   Try Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Potato Gratin recipe or pick your new favourite recipe from our 24 Seriously Delicious Scalloped Potato Recipes collection.

Our Favourite Recipes for Leftover Ham

Repurpose your holiday Easter ham myriad ways with these leftover ham recipes. It’s worth making extra just for them.

And for more leftover inspiration, here’s our collection of Best Easter Leftovers recipes.  

Dry Glaze Pork Tenderloin

4 Recipes That Transform Pork Tenderloin Leftovers

So you’ve mastered the art of cooking the so-called filet mignon of pork, moist and delicate pork tenderloin, and now you’re staring down a load of luscious leftovers. Whether it’s a next-day ragu or an elegant take on the classically rustic Shepherd’s Pie, here are four ways to savour your scraps because those succulent pieces of pork tenderloin are about to have their second coming.

Dry Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Start with Anna Olson’s Dry Glazed Pork Tenderloin.

Pork Ragu

1. Make a Ragu

This company-worthy pasta dish ticks off all the right notes for a cozy winter dinner. Thanks to pre-cooked pork, it comes together in virtually no time. Start the sauce by frying up some bacon and then sautéing garlic, onion, carrot and celery in some of the reserved fat. Add a splash of red wine, canned plum tomatoes, fresh rosemary and bay leaf. Throw chopped pork to the simmering tomato sauce and let it bubble away until it is melt-in-your-mouth tender. Serve over tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta or even creamy polenta. Finish with chopped fresh basil, parsley and a drizzle of your best olive oil.

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2. Build a Quickie Shepherd’s Pie

Kick your recipe for humble Shepherd’s Pie up a notch by swapping in shredded pieces of leftover pork tenderloin. Start with a base of peas and corn in a broth gravy, then layer with leftover pork tenderloin and top with creamy mashed potato. Bake until the top layer browns and forms a gentle crust.

Kimchi Fried Rice

3. Whip Up Some Fried Rice

This dish is perfect if you don’t have a ton of leftover tenderloin, since it won’t take much to make a hefty portion of fried rice. Fry any mix you like; we like a combination of rice mixed kimchi, pork, sliced green onions and a fried egg.

4. Shred in a Taco

As if you needed an excuse, leftover pork tenderloin practically insists you celebrate Taco Tuesday (or Wednesday). Use the prongs of two forks to shred cold pork tenderloin for a quick carnita-style taco. Heat the pork quickly in a pan and then pile it high on a warm corn or flour tortilla. Top with shredded cabbage, chopped tomatoes, a few sprigs of fresh cilantro, your favourite hot sauce and a generous squeeze of lime.

Looking for more tasty ideas? Start with these Perfect Pork Tenderloin Recipes.

 

How to Make the Most of Your Easter Leftovers

When it comes to Easter, most of us are either going to roast a big, beautifully glazed ham or some succulent lamb. Rabbit is also a possibility (for those of us with a strange sense of humour, like myself), but let’s stick with the common denominator: a satisfying Easter ham dinner with all of the fixings.

As delicious as reheated leftovers can be the day after a big holiday meal, it’s a lot more fun to get creative with whatever traces of yesterday’s feast you have lingering in your fridge. It’s probably safe to assume you’ve got plenty of sliced ham, mashed potatoes, a mix of roasted root vegetables (i.e. carrots, squash or parsnips) and some greens, too. Now let’s see what you can do with them!

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Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: There are few things you can’t do when assembling a grilled cheese sandwich. Slices of ham, some roasted vegetables and a mild cheese like provolone, along with some honey mustard, make for an delicious, gooey sandwich, especially for kids.

Soups: The humble potato makes a great thickener for soups. Combine leftover mashed potatoes with some chicken stock, then puree until you’ve got a smooth consistency. Give your leftover meat and vegetables a quick chop, add them to the pot along with desired spices, and once they’re heated through (10 minutes or so), you’ve got a big batch of soup on your hands.

Casseroles: Layered leftovers can give the illusion of a brand new dish, while it’s basically the same as reheating them (shh, it will be our secret!). Try layering your roasted vegetables, followed by ham (pour on some leftover glaze or gravy if you’ve got it) and a layer of mashed potatoes, then bake until golden brown on top. Dinner is served!

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Last, but not least, try taking your Easter dinner odds and ends, and transforming them into this dinner-worthy quiche that actually uses mashed potatoes and cheese to make a gluten-free crust.

Who knew leftovers could be so impressive? You did, of course!

Easter Dinner Leftovers Casserole

Cook and Prep Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4-5

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Ingredients:

Mashed Potato Crust:
4 cups leftover mashed potatoes (room temperature)
2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
9 inch cast iron skillet

Quiche Filling:
2/3 cup leftover ham roast, diced
1/2 cup leftover roasted carrots, diced
1/2 cup leftover braised kale, finely sliced
1/3 cup half and half cream
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp grainy mustard
1 tsp maple syrup (optional, only suggested if the leftover ham was not glazed)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

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Directions:

Mashed Potato Crust:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F
2. Place potatoes and cheese in a medium bowl and mix well to combine.
3. Brush skillet with canola oil thoroughly, covering bottom of pan and sides.
4. Gently press the potato mixture into the skillet until it’s a fairly even thickness throughout the pan and sides.
5. Bake in oven until it starts to turn golden brown, approximately 18-20 minutes. (Note: potato “crust” will fluff up slightly while baking, don’t worry about that.)
6. Remove, reduce oven heat to 375°F and let cool for a few minutes before adding filling.

Quiche Filling:
1. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well with a spoon to combine.

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2. Pour egg mixture into pre-baked potato crust and return skillet to oven.

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3. Cook for 25 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the centre of quiche comes out clean.

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4. If serving right away, allow to cool slightly before slicing. Will keep in the fridge for up to four days.

Looking for more post-holiday dinner ideas? Here are 20 delicious ways to reinvent your Easter leftovers.

Fridge-Pasta

Versatile Clean-Out-Your-Fridge Pasta

We consider pasta to be the great unifier. No matter what you have in your fridge, chances are you can make a pretty good meal if you toss it together with some pasta.

This recipe uses a something-from-nothing sauce, relying on a few fridge and pantry staples like anchovies, garlic and chili flakes. The vegetables we’ve included are easily switched out for ones you have on hand, and swapping the chicken for another protein like shrimp or sausage would work just as well. So get ready to clear out your fridge and make a delicious pasta dish all at once. You call it magic, we call it dinner.

Fridge-Pasta

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp lemon zest
175g penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 227g pkg (about 1 1/2 cups) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini (about 3/4 cup), cut into 1/4-in cubes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
3 anchovies, minced
1/2 bunch kale (about 3 cups), roughly chopped
1 cooked chicken breast, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup Parmesan, finally grated (optional)

Fridge-Pasta

Directions:
1. Toast panko crumbs in a small dry pan set over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Let cool then mix with parsley and lemon zest. Set aside.
2. Boil a large pot of salted water over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain pasta.
3. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high. Add 1 Tbsp oil, then mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
4. Lower heat to medium, then add remaining oil, anchovies, garlic and chili flakes. Cook until garlic has softened and anchovies have disintegrated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until slightly softened, 2 minutes. Return mushrooms to pan and season with salt. Add kale, then chicken, pasta and cooking liquid. Stir until kale is wilted and sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.
5. Divide pasta among plates and top with bread crumb mixture and Parmesan. Enjoy!

Looking for more ideas? Learn 14 Clever Ways to Use Almost-Expired Food.

10 Quick & Easy Meals with Rotisserie Chicken

Whether you’re craving chicken noodle soup, cheesy chicken quesadillas or a hearty chicken pot pie, stretching your leftover rotisserie chicken is a cinch with these quick and easy recipes.

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1. Rachael Ray’s Roast Chicken Enchilada Suizas Stacks Casserole
This crowd-pleasing casserole is loaded with tortillas, chicken, poblano peppers, onion, fresh herbs and Swiss cheese.

2. Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pie
A creamy trio of peas, carrots and shredded chicken make for all the comforting flavours of a classic pie. Swap in ready-made crusts and suddenly weeknight pot pie is possible.

3. Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken Congee
This easy, savoury rice porridge is slow cooked with leftover rotisserie chicken, then spiced up with slivered ginger, green onions, soy sauce and smoky sesame oil.

4. Michael Smith’s Roast Chicken Noodle Soup
Filled out with carrots, celery, corn, peas and egg noodles, this healthy chicken soup comes together in less than 30 minutes.

5. Rotisserie Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya
Chorizo, rotisserie chicken and bacon fat infuse this jambalaya rice dish with an incredible amount of flavour.

6. Bobby Flay’s Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing
Cold noodle salad is bursting with fresh flavours and a ton of crunchy textures, thanks to carrots, cabbage, cilantro and mint and a homemade sweet and sour fish sauce to bring it all together.

7. Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna Bake
While technically not a lasagna, this creamy casserole dish combines a mouthwatering combo of wavy lasagna noodles, rotisserie chicken, peas, Parmesan, creamy butter garlic sauce, breadcrumbs and fresh thyme.

8. Chicken Tostada Salad
These neat and tidy taco cups are the perfect finger food: stuffed with shredded chicken, taco seasoning, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and a healthy dose of gooey cheese.

9. Roger Mooking’s Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas
Chicken is sautéed in a spicy chipotle sauce and combined with smashed white beans, corn salad and tomato-watermelon salsa, cheese and three gooey cheese, all rolled up in a flour tortilla and crisped up in a cast iron pan.

10. Thai Fried Rice
This Thai spin on classic fried rice features red bell peppers, celery and cooked chicken, while a dash of Thai red curry paste, ginger and lime juice make a flavourful sauce.

The Best Ways to Reheat (and Reuse) Leftovers

Wouldn’t the world be an amazing place if we had time to cook a delicious family meal every single night of the week? It certainly would. But since many of us have evening commitments and strict daytime work schedules, dinnertime (and prep) always seems to be cut short.

Leftovers are a natural result of busy lives, and they don’t always have to be ho-hum after a quick nuke in the microwave. Here are six popular homemade dishes and how to make the revive them into tasty next-day dishes.

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Pasta
Have you ever noticed that pasta is a lot more firm once it’s been sitting for a while? The extra sauce that was sitting on your pasta dish gets absorbed by the leftover noodles.

To get the flexibility and sauciness back in a pasta, heat about 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, heavy cream or chicken broth, let it come to a simmer then add leftover pasta from the fridge, stir and allow to heat through. Top with a little Parmesan cheese if you have it because, well, it never seems out of place on pasta.

Pizza
Sure, a microwave does (sort of) do the trick with day-old pizza. The result may be decent enough with hot toppings and revived cheese, but it gives the crust an almost soggy, spongy texture.

For freshly-made pizza flavor, preheat your oven to a low broil, place two pieces of pizza into a cast iron skillet and let cook in the oven. The cast iron does an amazing job or crisping up the crust, while the low broil gets the cheese bubbly again. For more than an individual serving, use a large pizza stone for the same effect.

Chicken and Fish
To be completely honest, it’s nearly impossible to get the same juicy, tender qualities from cooked poultry and most types of fish the next day. For best results, heat up your protein in a moderately hot oven (about 375°F) in a small baking dish. Add a few spoonfuls of water or stock, cover with tinfoil and bake until warmed through. Giving leftover meats like this a quick chop make them easy additions to simple noodle or cream-based soups.

Pork and Steak
Much like chicken and fish, big cuts of pork and beef are hard to bring back to life after sitting in the fridge overnight. That being said, there are still ways to make them taste pretty delicious.

First, let the meat come to room temperature, then slice it into pieces (somewhere between 1/4 to 1/2” thick). This is a much better way to reheat because cooking a larger piece of meat (like the  tenderloin or roast) will result in an overcooked exterior and too-well-done interior. Heat a spoonful or two of butter in a large pan on medium heat, add the sliced meat and let it cook, stirring frequently until warmed through.

Rice
You can easily reheat rice in the microwave in a covered container, but that will generally give you a slightly overcooked, mushy texture. Instead, preheat your oven to 350°F, and evenly spread cold rice into a medium-sized baking dish. Loosely cover with tin foil, poking a few holes to allow the steam to escape, and let it bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir gently with a fork and let bake, uncovered, for 5 more minutes. Hurray for non-mushy rice!

Vegetables
This is quite a broad category, so right off the bat, the more tender vegetables like beans, snow peas, asparagus and wilted greens (spinach, Swiss chard, etc.) don’t lend themselves well to reheating after a first cook.

If you have leftover corn (if it’s on the cob, cut off the kernels), peas or any sort of legume (chickpeas, beans, lentils), you can give them new life with a quick fry in a large pan with some broth and spices.

Root vegetables like butternut squash, yams, potatoes and beets benefit well from a quick re-roast in the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F, lay them out on a baking sheet and let them roast for 12 to 15 minutes. Once removed from the oven, dress them lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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Recipe: Best-Ever Twice Roasted Baby Potatoes
When it comes to special occasions and holidays, it’s always good to know what to do with leftover potatoes. This application basically transforms baby potatoes into a different dish altogether, so feel free trick your dinner guests!

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
2. Remove the leftover baby potatoes from fridge and let them come to room temperature.
3. Use a large spoon to flatten them to about 1/4” thick, and spread them out on a large baking sheet.
4. Drizzle with canola oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast until golden and crispy, about 18 to 20 minutes.
5. Serve a scrumptious side dish or top these crispy, little smashed potato cakes the same way you would a crostini.

The Joy of Cooking for Strangers

If a friend called to offer you juicy leftovers from Cory Vitiello’s restaurant, Flock, you’d eat them, right? What if that “friend” was actually a mutual member of a Facebook group — and a stranger?

This is not a hypothetical question, but a real-life scenario that played out on Toronto’s swapping site, Bunz Trading Zone earlier this month:

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“Hungry buns!,” read the post. “We ordered FLOCK takeout for production night at work and can’t eat all this sumptuous hipster chicken. Come take these three juicy drumsticks (and fancy sauces) from us! ISO: a high-five, good joke, feeding a fellow bun in need…”

The Flock leftovers are just the latest in a slew of Bunz trades, edible and otherwise. Founder Emily Bitze started the sharing community when she was short a can of tomato sauce for her planned pasta dinner and created a group dedicated to swapping resources. The Bunz Trading Zone has one rule: no cash exchanges. Members, known as ‘buns,’ credit the community for saving money, preventing environmental waste (by finding use for items that would otherwise be discarded) and for building a community, one post at a time.

Leftovers are often offered in exchange for subway tokens and tall cans of beer, and while most completed trades are remembered only by their Facebook threads, at least one has turned into a regular cooking gig.

Meet Nadya Khoja and Sarah Lee. Khoja is a marketer by day, and Lee works for Via Rail. But on Saturday nights, the roommates open their home to strangers, who bring booze in exchange for gourmet, home-cooked meals and shared conversation. The friends’ home-based dinner service is called Chez Lisgar: prospective guests sign up for a spot on Lee and Khoja’s waiting list, and the pair vets guests online before accepting them. It’s a smooth operation now, but like many a Bunz trade, it started with leftovers.

“We had come home one night from working out and decided that we wanted a quick meal, with whatever leftovers we had, and we ended up having leftovers from that,” explains Lee. “And we were living in a really small apartment at the time, so we thought it would be fun to just see what would happen if we posted the food on Bunz.” So that’s what they did, asking prospective takers to bring alcohol in exchange.

“It ended up getting really popular overnight, and we decided to just run with it.”

Although guests now arrive through the Chez Lisgar website, and not solely through Bunz, the entrepreneurial, DIY and community spirit that defines the Facebook group still shines through.  Khoja and Lee will work around dietary restrictions, but they mainly base menus on what they feel like eating. In return, they ask guests to bring one bottle of red and one bottle of white wine. “People usually pick something they like themselves,” says Khoja. “You get a taste for their personality and choices,” adds Lee. It’s not always wine, either — one upcoming guest has offered to bring dessert instead, and the pair agreed.

 

French onion soup stuffed mushroom cups topped with Gruyere, a Chez Lisgar specialty.Image credit: Nadya Khoja and Sarah Lee

French onion soup stuffed mushroom cups topped with Gruyere, a Chez Lisgar specialty. Image credit: Nadya Khoja and Sarah Lee

Alyssa Bouranova is a graduate student living in Toronto. She visited Chez Lisgar with her boyfriend earlier this year, dining on a “delicious” meal of bourbon and maple-glazed pulled turkey, guacamole-stuffed onion rings and a green salad.

“It’s kind of a shot in the dark when you’re going with strangers, but it was wonderful,” says Bouranova. “They were very friendly.” The foursome got along so well that Bouranova and her boyfriend stayed past dinner to watch 90s music videos, and she stays in touch with the roommates on Facebook.

“The takeaway is that you don’t have to pay big bucks for gourmet food in Toronto,” says Bouranova. “It was a delicious and easy way to get a really nice meal in a way less pretentious and expensive environment [than a restaurant], and we got to meet cool people as well.”

Bouranova’s isn’t the ongoing friendship to be nurtured by a meal at Chez Lisgar. At a recent dinner, Khoja and Lee liked their guests so much they ended up attending a party together after the meal, and Khoja says she’ll likely be dog sitting for her new friends in the near future.

Like sushi burritos or ice-cream tacos, Chez Lisgar is a typically millennial mashup: at once an Internet-phenomenon, a cash-saver and a community-builder, as well as a constructive protest against a fraught economy that bears little love for young adults. “The fact is most of my friends are struggling finding work,” says Lee, “and a lot of them have had to turn to more unconventional ways of being able to pay bills and afford being a person in a big city. A lot of millennials have an entrepreneurial mindset.”

Chez Lisgar's cheesy garlic pull-apart bread. Image credit: Nadya Khoja and Sarah Lee

Chez Lisgar’s cheesy garlic pull-apart bread. Image credit: Nadya Khoja and Sarah Lee

Sharing a meal is arguable the oldest and most culturally widespread way of bringing people together, but platforms like Chez Lisgar, or similar service EatWith, are new.

With thousands of apps and internet platforms helping them share, connect and express, Lee and Khoja believe that trendy trades, like those happening via Bunz and in the so-called sharing economy, are here to stay. “Whether it’s a dinner or someone’s music or writing, I think millennials have come to realize that we can’t follow the conventional routes that our parents or teachers have taught us,” says Lee. “We take responsibility on ourselves, and we do it in the most unconventional ways, to consolidate the resources that we do have. We realize that we’ve reached the maximum of what we can consume and it’s time to share with the people around us.”

5 Easy Ways to Turn Tonight’s Dinner into Tomorrow’s Lunch

So you’ve got visions of Pinterest-worthy lunches floating around in your head — join the club. Like anyone who has ever eaten a sad desk lunch knows, good intentions won’t fill you up. Here are five realistic ways to take last night’s dinner, transform it into today’s lunch and brown bag it like a pro.

Become a Sandwich Master
Leftover roasted vegetables, steak or roasted chicken make for the beginnings of a mean sandwich. Simply stack what you’ve got — red peppers, tomatoes, steak or chicken — and line a soft baguette with a little mayo, goat cheese or some hunks of brie, add few fresh sprigs of arugula and you’re all set.

Try: Grilled Steak Sandwich with Onions & Arugula

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Undress Your Salad
That big salad at dinner will be a soggy mess after a night in the fridge, so if you plan to take it to work the next day, keep it naked. Give it some heft by adding canned tuna, shredded roast chicken, smoked tofu or even leftover quinoa, and save the dressing until the very last minute to keep it perky and fresh.

Try: Bobby Flay’s Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing

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Double Up on Your Sides
Whether it’s brown rice, quinoa, pasta or potatoes, plan to make more than you need. Then, turn those sides into a hearty desk-side salad by adding a simple vinaigrette, a whack of raw or cooked vegetables and some fresh herbs.

Try: Quinoa, Roasted Eggplant and Apple Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

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Soup it Up
A hot lunch of leftover soup or stew can warm the biggest office chill, and you can be sure that any soup you’ve got will taste even better while slurping in the staff lunchroom. Make it a main by adding a buttered baguette to dip in chicken stew, some pita wedges for that lentil soup or even a some rice, fresh thyme and and parsley to chicken soup.

Try: The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Rice Soup

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Takeout Transformation
Instead of simply nuking your leftovers, give them new life with a few fresh ingredients and a little creativity. Last night’s pad Thai can be today’s cold noodle salad when you add green beans or shelled edamame, while a Chinese delivery of rice, beef or chicken and vegetables can easily be reborn as a quick stir-fry.

Try: Korean Beef Fried Rice

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BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca.