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Seven Easy Ways to Cook with Leftovers

Don’t let perfectly good food go to waste. Before you toss that half an onion or that waiting-to-wilt salad use these ingredient-saving ideas and get more mileage out of what’s sitting in your fridge.

1. What you’ve got: Leftover vegetables

Make this: Teriyaki stir-fry

Here’s how: Keep a large airtight container in your fridge and use it to store leftover cooked vegetables from meals made throughout the week. At the end of the week (don’t store produce for more than seven days), place veggies in a skillet or wok, stir-fry with your favorite teriyaki marinade, and serve over brown rice.

2. What you’ve got: Extra onion

Make this: Sautéed onions

Here’s how: Chop onion, sauté in a skillet for 7–10 minutes until lightly browned, and serve over grilled chicken, fish, or steak.

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3. What you’ve got: Excess avocado

Make this: Green smoothie

Here’s how: Place avocado in a blender with 1 cup frozen tropical fruit (like mango and/or pineapple), ½ cup of baby spinach, and a splash of orange juice. Blend until smooth.

4. What you’ve got: Too much steak

Make this: Steak sandwich

Here’s how: Slice leftover steak into thin strips. In a skillet add ¼ of a sweet onion (sliced) and ¼ of a red pepper (sliced), and sauté for 7–10 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Add steak and sauté with the vegetables until heated through. Top with shredded Swiss cheese and serve on a whole-wheat roll.

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5. What you’ve got: Leftover salad

Make this: Veggie wrap

Here’s how: Add 2 cups of salad to a whole-wheat wrap (like Flatout light wraps), add 1–2 teaspoons of your favorite salad dressing, and roll up.

6. What you’ve got: Extra rice

Make this: Egg-fried rice

Here’s how: In a wok, add 2 cups of cooked stir-fry or mixed vegetables and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add leftover rice (2–3 cups), 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, and 1 tsp garlic powder. Cook for 2–3 minutes then move the rice to the side. Add 1 egg, scramble, and chop. Mix the vegetables, rice, and egg mixture together. Serve as a side dish or add chicken, tofu, or shrimp to make it a meal.

7. What you’ve got: Too much coffee

Make this: Mocha shake

Here’s how: Chill extra coffee. Once cooled, combine in a blender with 1 cup low-fat chocolate milk and a few ice cubes. Blend until smooth. 

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