I originally posted this list on Quora, in response to the question, What are the best dishes made from leftovers? Please offer additional ideas in the comments, as I’m always looking for creative ways to use up leftovers.
Some ideas for leftovers:
If you have leftover mashed potatoes, make potato cakes for breakfast. Combine potatoes with an egg for binder, cheese, herbs, some onion and bread crumbs. If you have leftover cooked salmon, flake it and mix it in. Form into patties and pan fry in a little oil. Delicious with poached eggs.
Similarly, turn leftover risotto into risotto cakes.
Many leftover cooked veggies can be turned into a healthy vegetable spread for lunch the next day. Puree with some olive oil, maybe some Parmesan cheese and whatever seasonings you like. (The process is similar to making pesto.) Spread on a sandwich or use for a dip.
If you have a small amount of leftover casserole, stew or grain dishes, make them into a meal by reheating, topping with a fried egg and grating some hard cheese over all. Particularly good with leftover ratatouille or polenta.
Refried beans are a tasty way to use up leftover beans. Saute the beans with onion, garlic, chili powder or other seasoning. Add tomatoes, chiles, cheese, sour cream as you like. Roll into a tortilla or top with a fried egg, or both for an excellent breakfast burrito.
Frittatas are perfect for using up leftover vegetables and meat. In an ovenproof skillet, reheat the leftovers first, then pour beaten egg over all. Grate on some cheese if you like. Let the egg set on the bottom, lifting the edges and letting egg run underneath. Once it’s almost set, move it under the broiler to finish cooking. You can even use leftover pasta this way to make a pasta frittata.
Finally, if you just have a small amount of this and that to use up, add the leftovers to a soup or salad.