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20 Brilliant Ways to Repurpose Leftovers

Tired of stir-fry? We are too. Heat things up with these creative ways to turn common leftovers into something new.

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Fill Up Tostada Cups


Leftovers: 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, chilled
Several years ago I tried a version of these cups at a restaurant in Santa Fe, and I wanted to make my own spin. These are great for gatherings where you can let everyone add their own favorite toppings. —Marla Clark, Moriarty, New Mexico
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Flip from Savory to Sweet


Leftovers: Potato chips
My two little guys can’t get enough of this sweet-and-salty snack, which uses just three ingredients and is ready to eat in 15 minutes. The boys like to drizzle on the melted chocolate, too. Sometimes we replace the potato chips with apple slices. —Jami Geittmann, Greendale, Wisconsin
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Wrap It in Dough


Leftovers: 2 cups chopped fully cooked ham
Satisfy hearty appetites with these golden loaves. Each slice is like a hot sandwich packed with ham, broccoli and Swiss cheese. Hot pepper sauce adds a nice kick, while refrigerated crescent rolls make it extra easy. The braids are perfect for a special occasion lunch or as an appetizer.
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Crown a Pie


Leftovers: 2 cups mashed potatoes
Of all the shepherd’s pie recipes I’ve tried through the years, this version is my favorite. Although I live alone, I enjoy cooking and baking for friends and family. —Mary Arthurs, Etobicoke, Ontario
5 / 19

Create a Kabob


Leftovers: 1 pound fully cooked ham, cut into 1-inch cubes
With melty cheese, juicy pineapple and salty ham, it’s no surprise my daughter requests my kabobs on her May birthday. They’re a fantastic way to get into grilling season. —Helen Phillips, Horseheads, New York
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Form a Patty


Leftovers: 2 cups leftover stuffing
Talk about a fun way to use holiday leftovers! Making this turkey and stuffing patty is so fast. The family looks forward to this breakfast treat every year. —Kellie Ferea, Casa Grande, Arizona
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Make a (Gourmet) Sandwich


Leftovers: 2 boneless beef top loin steaks, heated. Skip step one.
Make parts of this recipe ahead of time and you can assemble the sandwich quickly for a weeknight meal. This fork-and-knife sandwich works very well with leftover fajita meat and peppers, or as a way to use leftover grilled steak or chicken. The chipotle cream sauce can be made up to three days in advance.—Robert Taylor, Shawnee, Kansas
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Cook a Casserole


Leftovers: 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
This delicious chicken and broccoli casserole recipe is a twist on chicken divan that came from an old boss. It’s quick, satisfying comfort food. —Jennifer Schlachter, Big Rock, Illinois
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Stuff Pasta


Leftovers: 1 cup cubed cooked turkey
Leftover turkey, dressing and sweet potatoes make terrific stuffing for jumbo pasta shells. We add cheese and use turkey gravy as the sauce for this crowd-pleaser. —Robin Haas, Cranston, Rhode Island
10 / 19

Fry Doughnuts


Leftovers: 2 cups hot mashed potatoes (with added milk and butter)
I first tried these tasty treats at my sister’s house and thought they were the best I’d ever had. They’re easy to make, and the fudge frosting tops them off well. When I make them for friends, the recipe is always requested. —Pat Davis, Beulah, Michigan
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Bring on the Curry


Leftovers: 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
When I have leftover turkey, I make turkey curry with carrots, cauliflower and mango chutney to spoon over rice. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
12 / 19

Fill Up Turnovers


Leftovers: 1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
Whenever I have leftover chicken, these turnovers are on the menu. The tasty secret is in the curry. —Laverne Kohut, Manning, Alberta
13 / 19

Stuff a Squash


Leftovers: 2 cups cubed cooked turkey
We stuff acorn squash with leftovers like turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. Make as much or as little as you need to use everything up. —Cindy Romberg, Mississauga, Ontario
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Cook a Bowl Meal


Leftovers: 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, chilled
This super flavorful, nutrient-packed dish makes use of supermarket conveniences like coleslaw mix and leftover chicken. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled for large families. —Christianna Gozzi, Asteria, New York
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Try Tiny Tacos


Leftovers: 1 pound taco meat
For a winning appetizer, serve crispy phyllo cups filled with taco-seasoned ground beef and shredded cheese. These handheld bites will be a surefire hit with a hungry crowd. —Roseann Weston, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
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Load Up Nachos


Leftovers: Tortilla chips
My mom gave me a fundraiser cookbook, and this is the recipe I’ve used most. My whole family is on board. For toppings, think sour cream, tomatoes, jalapeno and red onion. —Judy Hughes, Waverly, Kansas
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Soup It Up


Leftovers: 2 cups cooked long grain rice
Some of the cooks at the restaurant where I work were talking about stuffed pepper soup. We decided to stir up similar ingredients for a stuffed pepper soup recipe. Customer response was overwhelming! —Krista Muddiman, Meadville, Pennsylvania
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Explore New Flavors


Leftovers: 2-2/3 cups hot cooked brown rice
A friend raved about Korean recipes for bulgogi—beef cooked in soy sauce and ginger—so I tried it. It’s delicious! Dazzle the table with this tasty version of Korean beef and rice. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota
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Stuff Cabbage


Leftovers: 1 cup cooked brown rice
This recipe is special to me because it’s an easy one-pot meal that tastes like you spent the whole day in the kitchen. My family loves it. —Lynn Bowen, Geraldine, Alabama

Nicole Doster
Nicole is a writer, editor and lover of Italian food. In her spare time, you’ll find her thumbing through vintage cookbooks or testing out recipes in her tiny kitchen.

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