Are you tired of throwing out wasted food and wasted money along with it? Being prepared with simple recipes and better storage methods can help you avoid food-waste frustration. Check out the following easy tips for how to use common leftovers in tasty and affordable ways. 

8. Apples


If the apples in the fruit bowl are starting to look wrinkled and out-of-date, don’t throw them out yet. Peel, core, and chop them to make applesauce in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Just add some cinnamon, lemon juice, and sweetener to taste. Cook it all on high pressure in water for about 8 minutes. Cool and blend.

Or make some apple butter on the stovetop or in a crockpot with chopped apple, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt, and spices like ground clove and cinnamon. Cook for two hours on low heat, stirring often. Cool and blend. 

7. Bread

White Bread

Before you toss out stale bread or feed it to the birds, consider two important things first. Stale bread is perfect for homemade croutons to add to soups and salads. And a bird’s digestive system isn’t built for processing baked goods, so it’s best to keep the bread on your own plate. 

For croutons, toss your chopped stale bread cubes with some extra virgin olive oil and seasonings of choice like garlic salt and oregano. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes in a 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven. Flip the croutons occasionally while baking. 

6. Celery


There are practical and even fun ideas for using up leftover celery before that big package in the produce drawer goes bad. 

How about hosting a celery dipfest on movie night with your kids? Present them with a platter of various dips like nut or seed butter, hummus, salsa, and maybe even a mystery dip or two that they have to guess by tasting it first. (Don’t forget the apple butter you just made from leftover fruit.) 

Or chop and freeze celery to be used at a later date for soups and sauteed dishes.

5. Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk

If you enjoy making Asian cuisine at home, you may end up with leftover coconut milk. Fortunately, that’s a great ingredient to have on hand. Coconut milk can be used in many dishes to uplevel the creaminess and taste. Add some coconut milk and curry powder to cauliflower mash to serve with roast chicken. Use coconut milk in your coffee or tea. Or start your day with some fluffy coconut milk pancakes. 

Many people on the keto diet use coconut milk in various recipes, like in a keto-friendly moqueca (Brazillian fish stew) with cod and bell peppers. 

4. Heavy Cream

Heavy Cream

As with coconut milk, heavy cream is a treat to have in the fridge for both sweet and savory dishes or drinks. Use it in place of milk for cakes and other confections. Heavy cream is delicious in smoothies, shakes, and over a hot bowl of oatmeal with your favorite toppings. 

Take the taste and texture of scrambled eggs up a notch or two with a splash of heavy cream. Add some heavy cream to mugs of hot cocoa with natural peppermint flavoring for a special cold-weather treat. Or make a White Russian cocktail with heavy cream, vodka, ice, and coffee liqueur. 

3. Rice

Avoid Rice

Got leftover rice? The variations of rice pudding you could make seem endless and endlessly yummy if you’re a fan of this food. Keep leftover rice stored in the refrigerator, but only for a day or two. You’ll want to use it soon for the best taste and consistency.

Make a basic rice pudding recipe and add dried fruit or sweet toppings when done, like raisins or chocolate chips. The main ingredients of a simple rice pudding are rice, milk, salt, sugar, and vanilla. Yes, you can use leftover coconut milk or heavy cream instead of milk in most rice pudding recipes. 

2. Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie Chicken

Consider yourself lucky if you’ve got leftover rotisserie chicken and enjoy the many meals you could make with it. How about a cheesy chicken broccoli casserole or a spicy burrito bowl? Leftover chicken is perfect for one-dish dinners. You can add chopped or shredded rotisserie chicken to lasagna and other pasta dishes. Add it to a green salad or serve it with barbeque sauce on a warm sesame seed bun. 

Leftover chicken is also wonderful in savory pies and pockets, on pizza, and as a simple healthy snack alongside fresh veggies like the leftover celery you haven’t eaten yet. 

1. Tomato Paste


Unless you bought your tomato paste in a resealable tube, there’s probably a half-used opened can sitting on the counter after you’ve made your meal. Instead of trying to remember the leftover paste is stored in the fridge for months, try this quick and longer-lasting storage method instead. 

Add the leftover tomato paste to ice cube trays or silicone candy molds and freeze. Once frozen, transfer them to freezable bags or containers to be used in various recipes as needed. These cubes of frozen tomato paste are handy for making stews and pasta sauce. 


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