Give Your Leftovers Some Love

Give Your Leftovers Some Love

As you can imagine, between developing recipes, photographing dishes, and shooting delicious content, we wind up with lots of leftovers in the CHEF iQ test kitchen. Though usually just as tasty the next day (and in some cases, like soups and stews, even more satisfying), we like to get creative and craft our leftovers into entirely new meals. What follows are some of our greatest leftover hits. We hope they inspire you to see leftovers not just as something to reheat but as an ingredient to repurpose—with purpose!


Repurpose Kalua Pork for Quesadillas

If you’ve made our Kalua Pork, you know that this Hawaiian take on pulled pork is perfect on its own. While there are many ways to use up the tender meat, we believe a quesadilla can’t be beat. We like to keep the filling pretty simple—just the pork and plenty of grated cheese toasted in a tortilla. Then we top it with the works—salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime. Pro tip: The pork also freezes beautifully if you want to keep a stash handy for future quesadilla cravings.


Mix Miso Honey Glazed Salmon in Fried Rice 


Fried rice is the ultimate leftover, as it’s a dish that was quite literally created to use up day-old rice. That’s why this transformation is so perfect as the original includes scallion rice. Simply sauté some chopped ginger and garlic in plenty of oil, then add your leftover scallion rice and stir to heat it through. Flake any leftover salmon over the rice and season it all with soy sauce to taste. Feel free to add additional vegetables—red bell pepper would be nice—or scramble in an egg.


Turn Bean and Kale Soup Into Savory Pasta Sauce


This soup is so good that you may not have much left after the first go-around. Luckily, all you need is about 1 cup to make a spectacular pasta sauce. Combine about a cup of leftover soup with ½ cup heavy cream and cook until slightly thickened. Toss with your favorite cooked pasta and top with grated or shaved Parmesan for a final flourish.


Make Crisp Arancini With Mushroom Risotto


Arancini, or as we like to call them, golden fried balls of goodness, is the perfect dish to make with last night’s risotto. That’s because arancini balls basically are risotto, albeit shaped, battered, and deep-fried. If you have Mushroom Risotto already made, the hard part is done! Simply shape the cooled rice into golf-ball-sized spheres, then follow a standard breading procedure of coating in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. Heat about 2 cups of oil in your Smart Cooker and fry them up. Serve with your favorite marinara and you’ve got a new comfort food dish.


Transform Whole Chicken With Gravy Into Two Delicious Lunches


With this recipe, you actually wind up with two types of leftovers. You get the meat and the gravy, both of which can make deliciously different lunches. We’ve been known to serve the gravy over French fries and cheese curds for a quick take on homemade poutine. For lighter fare, use the tender chicken to make a stacked, savory sandwich. (We use our hands to get every last bit of meat off the bones.) Shred the chicken lightly then toss it with a mix of mayo, sour cream, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh dill, and crunchy minced carrots. Serve it up on a bed of greens or on a toasted on a sandwich roll!