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Fast ways to make over leftovers

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Tasty & cheap leftover ideas

These eight ingredients give suppers a second act - and stretch your dollars even further.


1. Tortillas

The possibilities for these Latin staples are endless. Roll up a combo of yesterday's roasted chicken, a scoop of cooked rice, and some canned black beans to make burritos; for beef fajitas, cut up leftover pot roast, and mix it with sauteed peppers and onions. And for everything-but-the-kitchen-sink nachos, make homemade chips by microwaving flour or corn tortillas and cut each tortilla into six pieces; arrange in single layer between dry paper towels and cook on HIGH for one minute.

2. Ready-Made Pizza Crusts

Keep them in your freezer, and create original pizzas with everything from roast turkey to extra ground beef from that family-size package. Or toss together bread salad with a baked, cubed crust, roasted veggies and a dash of dressing.

3. Broth

Soup comes together in a flash with chicken or vegetable broth plus last night's rice pilaf and frozen veggies. Or throw together a quick "risotto" using one cup raw rice, four cups broth and leftover vegetables.

4. Eggs

These amazingly versatile protein packets can turn any entree extras into a dazzling frittata, omelet or quiche. Scramble a few with some cooked rice and second-act shrimp, and you don't have to leave home for Chinese takeout.

5. Lettuce

Transform yesterday's chicken into a tasty salad with a head of romaine, sliced apple, some toasted nuts and a drizzle of your favorite dressing. Keep the greens fresh by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and storing in an open plastic bag in the fridge.

6. Canned Tomatoes

Nothing comes in more handy at mealtime. Think red rice or gumbo, or revamp day-old pasta with a quick tomato sauce.

7. Ramen Noodles

Perfect for a busy weeknight, these squares of noodles cook up in mere minutes, and you can use as much or as little of the flavoring packet as you like. For a savory soup, add thin slices of leftover cooked pork along with a handful each of snow peas and shredded carrot. You can also cook the noodles separately, then saute with the veggies for a simple lo mein.

8. All-Purpose Baking Mix

Everybody loves breakfast for dinner - whip up some pancakes or waffles to go with all of your supper leftovers. Likewise, those bits of meat and vegetables can become a simple stew by simmering with a can of cream of mushroom soup and dropping in dumplings.

Food-Safety Note

Cooked foods should not be left out for more than two hours, so refrigerate promptly. The temperature of reheated leftovers should reach at least 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer to kill bacteria.



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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Originally published: Fast Ways to Make Over Leftovers

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