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Turn your leftovers into mouthwatering meals

It is not uncommon to complain about how stressful it is to work full-time and cook, or have children and cook or just cook in general. And if you had a Superhero mother (like I did), you may even be wondering how in the world she managed to work, have kids and still find time to unhurriedly make a family meal at the end of the day. Well, don’t beat yourself up too much, you can be a family Superhero, too. Instead of cooking full meals every night of the week, make extra and use the leftovers to create delicious dishes that are just as satisfying as the originals. Just think of the time and money you save, plus you still get to enjoy a relaxing meal with your family. Here are three mouthwatering meals to get you started.

Spicy Chicken Casserole

Mouthwatering meals made with leftovers

Pasta Frittata

Serves 4

Don’t let extra cooked pasta go to waste – turn it into a pasta frittata in the morning. Use whatever vegetables, herbs or meats you have in the fridge and make a delish morning dish. Frittatas are a great way to be creative and experimental!


3 to 4 cups loosely packed cooked pasta
5 eggs
Chopped cooked sausage or ham to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Layer pasta evenly in skillet. Let cook for 1 to 2 minutes just to heat up.

2. In a large bowl, beat eggs, cheese and black pepper. Sprinkle sausage or ham evenly on the pasta. Pour egg mixture over the pasta mixture and raise heat to high. When egg just sets, put skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes or until center is firm.

3. Remove frittata from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Loose sides of frittata with a spatula and slide it onto a serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Spicy Chicken Casserole

Serves 4

This dish can be made with leftover chicken cutlets or rotisserie chicken.

4 potatoes
1 packet taco mix
3 cups red enchilada sauce or tomato sauce
4 cups leftover cooked chicken, diced small
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or more to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork and place in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave for 3 minutes on HIGH or until potatoes are slightly soft. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice potatoes and line them on the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the sauce with half of the taco mix. Add chicken and toss to coat. Set aside.

3. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are nicely browned. Add onions to bowl with chicken and mix well.

4. Spread chicken mixture over potatoes and sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Garlic Steak Pannini

Serves 2 to 4

Perfect for any kind of left over beef. Try this tasty sandwich pressed in a pannini maker or a George Foreman Grill, or just make it on the stove in a grill pan or skillet. This is a hearty dish best eaten after a long day of play!

4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 cups beef cut into strips
4 slices of Italian bread or your favorite pannini bread
8 thin slices of provolone

1. Add garlic and butter to a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, transfer mixture to a small bowl and set aside.

2. Add meat to the skillet and cook, stirring, just to reheat. Spread garlic butter on both sides of the slices of bread. Top all four slices of bread with meat and top with provolone.

3. Either make two large sandwiches and press in a pannini maker or Foreman grill or leave sandwiches open and bake in oven at 300 degrees F. until cheese melts. Serve warm.

And for more time-saving meals, check out these links:

Top 10 cooking secrets for simple family meals

A beginner’s guide to once a month cooking

7-day meal planning: One week of delicious meals

8 time-saving cooking tips

More mouthwatering recipes at Food and Recipes Channel!

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