Repurposing Meals

I love leftovers.  However, some members of my family (mainly my children) do not seem to feel the same way.  Sometimes my children may love a meal I prepare, but when I try to serve it the next day they don’t even want a taste.  As a pediatric dietitian who works with families that have more selective eaters, I typically recommend only offering the same food once every 2-3 days as able.  So, I have been spending some time thinking about how I can repurpose my meals.  I take leftover meals and change them somewhat, which has really helped with my daughter's intake.  Here are some of my favorite ways to repurpose leftovers:

1. Make a grilled cheese or quesadilla with veggies.  I occasionally cook a thick vegetable stew or lentil puree for dinner.  I love the nutritious aspect of the dish so I want to make sure I serve it as many times as possible.   I will take the puree (or even puree some vegetables with a protein) and spread it on bread or a tortilla with cheese and grill it up.  Viola.

Repurposed barley and lentils into a baked fritter. Added some grated carrot for extra nutrition and served with sliced apple.

Repurposed barley and lentils into a baked fritter. Added some grated carrot for extra nutrition and served with sliced apple.

2. Fritters. One of my favorite ways to incorporate leftover grains, veggies or protein. Take a look at THIS POST to see how to make the most of the ingredients you have on hand. I like to incorporate a vegetable, a grain and a protein if possible. These are very versatile and can be baked or fried!

2. "Fried Rice".  Most of my staple dishes include some sort of grain, vegetable and protein.  I like to sauté the leftovers, crack an egg or two in the middle and sauté until the egg is cooked.  Add a few spices, like coriander and cumin and you have yourself a delicious new meal.

3. Egg scramble.  Take those leftover vegetables and add them to some eggs in the morning.  Breakfast is served.

4. Pancake sandwiches.  My daughter loves pancakes and so do I (it's a great way to PACK in some great nutrition).  When we have leftovers I like to make pancakes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or even spread some hummus on a pancake.

Green juice turned into cookies.  Easy and a nutritious afternoon snack!

Green juice turned into cookies. Easy and a nutritious afternoon snack!

5. Smoothies. Smoothies are on our weekly breakfast rotation. I like to make the standard popsicles with leftover smoothie, but I have recently started making muffins and cookies with my leftover smoothie. HERE is my green juice cookie recipe (which works well with a smoothie). I take the leftover smoothie, add an egg, some whole wheat flour and baking powder and am armed with an easy on the go snack!

6. Wraps: bread based or lettuce. I love a good wrap, and have found my little ones do too. Have leftover stir fry? Beans? Chopped veggies? Put them in a whole wheat tortilla, or even a piece of lettuce: it’s a new and exciting way for your child to enjoy some leftovers.

Do you have a favorite way you like to repurpose?  Let me know!