The Joy of Leftovers – Reduce Food Waste

Today I’m coming to you with a tip that can help you eat healthier in less time and with less food waste. And that is to embrace the joy of leftovers.

Today I’m coming to you with a tip that can help you eat healthier in less time and with less food waste. And that is to embrace the joy of leftovers. 

Now, I know not everyone feels this way, but to me, leftovers are like a gift from god. They are homemade food that you don’t have to cook. I eat leftovers most of the days of my life and every time I am just like, thank you thank you THANK you. 

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Treat Yourself  To An Icebox Review

In fact, for lunch today, I had leftover turkey meatballs from last night , leftover roasted cauliflower from two nights ago, and leftover purple slaw from three nights ago. It was a great example of what my grandmother used to call “icebox review”. It was three distinct tastes and three distinct nutrient profiles, and all I had to do was open some containers and plop them in a bowl. Throw a little hot sauce on top and you are good to go. 

The Joy Of Leftovers

Now, you may be wondering why I’m dedicated an episode of the podcast to something that most people have without even trying to have them. And that’s because I think most people pop their leftovers in the fridge and never think about them again. Or they think it’s boring to to eat something more than once. 

And I’m here to say that you can actually cook in such a way that you plan on having leftovers—you bake extra potatoes so that you can make potato skins and mashed potatoes two days from now without having to wait for the potatoes to cook through. And you make a double batch of chili that you put half in the freezer so that when you get home from a weekend trip on Sunday afternoon, you just have to stick that frozen chili in a pan on the stove and you’ve got a homemade dinner in a few minutes. They really save you a ton of time, on a daily basis and a weekly basis, and that’s the joy of leftovers!

Reduce Your Cooking Time

When you make leftovers a way of life, you really only have to do a big cook two or three times a week, everything else is just putting together things you’ve already cooked in new ways. And that helps inspire you to eat more homemade food, if you can do it without having to rope yourself into cooking some big production every night. 

It’s also a great way to reduce food waste, because let’s face it, if you’re not planning on using leftovers, you probably will forget about them and then they’ll turn into science experiments. Even things like the broken up pieces of tortilla chips that no one wants to eat because they’re no good for salsa can be used to spruce up some leftover soup. 

A few dishes that are great for using up leftovers are:

Tacos, soups, frittatas, and burrito bowls. It’s really kind of amazing how you can make something new out of something old. On top of all the other benefits, it’s also a fun creative challenge. 

Leftovers —is there anything they can’t do?!

Connect With Me

This concludes my love letter to leftovers, ha. But I’d love to know — What are some of your favorite types of leftovers to eat? Snap a pic and share them on Instagram (tag me @katehanleyauthor). Let’s elevate the humble leftover but giving them some social media love. 🙂 

Another way that I re-serve leftovers is by sending out a podcast newsletter every Saturday morning, with links that the previous week’s episodes. Sign up and help ensure that you don’t let any episodes languish in the bottom of your feed like a lonely container of forgotten leftovers. Go to and click on get podcast news.


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