Adventures in Holiday Leftovers

Chicken and gravyIn our house we just finished a round of holidays. I couldn’t bear to put the leftovers into the freezer, but I wasn’t sure I had enough for a full meal. Here’s what I had:

  • 60 grams of cooked chicken breast and a neck.
  • chicken stock with some onion and winter squash
  • several cups of cooked bulgur wheat with sauteed onion and celery
  • cooked potatoes

I chopped the potatoes and put everything together in a pan. Sixty plus grams of protein isn’t much, so I pulled out a zip-lock bag of cooked kidney beans from the freezer. After I cook beans I spread them flat within the bag so that I can take out as many as I need. I had included some of the cooking water, and because of freezer trouble they were covered with ice on the outside too, but they would still be fine. After banging the bag on the counter to separate some beans, and I added them to the pan. I let them defrost for a while on the counter.

I turned on the heat under the pan, stirred everything well, and added some paprika and hot pepper. A bay leaf would have worked, as would fresh herbs, curry powder or chili powder. Leftovers have usually lost some flavor. Fresh or canned tomatoes or tomato paste could also be used, or fresh grated carrots. When the mixture was hot I stirred in a beaten egg to hold it together, making sure the egg was thoroughly cooked.

I tried to hide my surprise when my kids all ate this. One child removed the beans. When my husband got home from work, there wasn’t enough left for the two of us. I ended up finishing it (including the rejected beans) and my husband elected to have the leftover potatoes with some cheese.

What creative things do you do with your leftovers?

You may also enjoy: My Mother’s Re-Recyled Meat Soup

Nine Tips to Help Food Last Longer

Photo credit: rovingl


  1. I’m wondering what this looked like. Did it look appetizing or did your kids try it because they were very hungry? What did it taste like? What spices do you use?

    • Hi Jody,
      I think the key to good leftovers is chicken stock or gravy. The gravy can sit overnight in the fridge so the fat can be removed. Adding something raw, or freshly cooked, also makes a difference. I assure you that my family enjoyed it! I mentioned different spices in the post.
      Thank you for visiting and commenting!