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5 Simple Ways to Liven Up Leftovers

March 13, 2019

You had the best intentions of using up those leftovers from the weekend.  At first, your Meal Prep Sunday seemed like a dream idea.  You'd prep food for the week, have it all stored and ready, and you'd have a home cooked meal every day without much effort.  But by day #3 of it, your family is giving you the side-eye, and you can no longer bear to eat the same dish again. 


I feel you. It happens to us all. We all want to make use of our leftovers, but we get bored, and food goes to waste instead. Instead of forcing yourself and your family to eat the same things day in and day out, try these leftover tips that will help you liven things up and reignite the spark that makes you excited to dig in.   


1. Add avocado 


Leftover brown rice and sautéed veggies? Eh. Leftover brown rice and sautéed veggies with fresh avocado? Now you’re talking! Drizzle on some sriracha too for a spicy hit and facelift on your leftovers. 


2. Add some crunch 


Sometimes, we just need more texture to make things interesting.  Adding a crunch to your meal can spice it up quite a bit.  Try adding it to your leftovers any way that makes sense. Look in your pantry for walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almond slivers or anything else that might add a crunch along with a nice dose of healthy fats that are good for you, too.  I even love having crispy onions or crispy jalapenos atop a salad when I want something different. 


3. Top on some greens 


Or even layer them below. Sometimes that leftover shrimp tastes excellent warmed up over a bed of fresh kale, spinach or lettuce. Or you can make some quick brown rice or zucchini noodles and mix it all together to create a new dish that tastes like takeout without the cost (or the heaps of calories).  


4. Reheat it on the stove 


A fresh re-preparation tends to bridge the gap of meh to marvelous, doesn’t it?  The microwave can zap the freshness right out of your food, so skip the microwave when warming up leftovers.  Toss your items in a pan and sauté it fresh with a teaspoon of olive oil.  Add some new, fresh herbs and spices, and you'll have to remind yourself you're eating leftovers. 


5. Try a new condiment 


Salsa and sriracha can each help dress up leftovers.  If your refrigerator looks anything like mine, your shelves are lined with different condiments and sauces to choose from.  Experiment with them to create new dishes by adding a few drops of different flavor.  It can make all the difference and completely change the taste of your meal. 


Give these a try and see if you’re making better use of your leftovers. Remember to freeze big meals so you can pull them out another time to make on a busy night. You’ll appreciate them better when you do.


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