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Sneaky ways to reuse leftovers

Deanna Sletten has been writing for nearly 20 years for magazines and websites. She owns the blog Write Moms that shares information about freelance writing. Deanna is also the author of two fiction novels.

Tasty meals from leftovers

Often, leftovers from a big meal go unused and unappreciated -- but actually, you can turn them into fun and tasty meals. The trick is to let your family think you’ve created a whole new meal. Here are some sneaky ways to turn leftovers into delicious meals.

Homemade chicken pot pie

Turkey or chicken croquettes with gravy

Serves 4-6

Croquettes are the perfect way to use up dark turkey and chicken meat, although you certainly can use the white meat, too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups leftover turkey or chicken
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon each rosemary, parsley and minced onion
  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits or packaged pastry dough (or your own homemade pie dough)
  • Leftover or purchased gravy

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix sour cream, herbs and onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Add leftover turkey or chicken meat and mix well.
  4. Open biscuit container and place bottom halves of biscuits on sprayed or lightly oiled cookie sheet. Form each biscuit bottom into a slightly rounded well.
  5. Drop a scoop of meat mixture onto the bottom biscuit. Place biscuit top over the meat mixture and bottom, pinching the sides together tightly. Repeat until you've used all of the biscuits and meat mixture. Prick the tops with a fork to let steam out while cooking.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Heat gravy and pour over the finished croquettes to serve. Cheddar cheese sauce also works well with this recipe.

Homemade pot pies

Makes 4-6 pot pies

Pot pies are an excellent way to reuse any type of meat as well as leftover vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups leftover beef roast, pork roast, turkey or chicken
  • 2 cups leftover gravy
  • 1 cup leftover vegetables or 1 can mixed vegetables
  • 1 to 2 cans refrigerator biscuits or packages pastry dough (or your own homemade pie dough)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the meat, gravy and vegetables.
  3. Line individual pot-pie tins or oven-friendly bowls with a thin layer of dough; use a rolling pin to flatten biscuit dough to fit.
  4. Pour meat mixture into bowls.
  5. Flatten dough to fit the top of each bowl, then pinch the ends together as you would for a pie. Prick the tops with a fork to let steam out while cooking.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Chili pockets

Here is an easy way to use leftover chili by turning it into a fun, finger-food dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can refrigerator biscuits
  • Leftover chili
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Separate biscuits into top and bottom halves; flatten bottoms onto cookie sheet.
  3. Spoon chili onto each biscuit and sprinkle cheese on top.
  4. Cover chili with the other biscuit half and pinch edges tightly together.
  5. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned.

Easy beef stew

Use the leftovers from Sunday night's roast beef to make this easy stew in your slow cooker or on the stove.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups leftover roast beef
  • 2 cups leftover beef gravy or 2 to 3 jars of beef gravy
  • 1 cup leftover vegetables
  • 2 potatoes, chopped in small chunks
  • Biscuits, bread or white rice

Directions:

  1. Combine the beef, gravy, vegetables and chopped potatoes into one big saucepan or a slow cooker. If in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 to 4 hours on low. If in a slow cooker, simmer on low or medium for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Serve over biscuits, bread slices or white rice.

More recipe ideas

Main course recipes using four ingredients
5 Fresh takes on breads and spreads
4 Last-minute appetizers for tonight's dinner

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