New Life for Leftovers

Get a head start on tonight's dinner by "recycling" a family fave you cooked earlier in the week.

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Save Your Scraps

Lucy Schaeffer

Save Your Scraps

One night your kids are asking for seconds; the next week when you make the exact same dish, they leave half of it on the plate. So chances are you have random leftovers that are getting lost in your fridge, like a chicken breast or a couple spoonfuls of beans. While there probably isn't enough for your family to have the meal again, you can use these little bits and pieces as part of another dinner -- and free up your time and grocery budget in the process. Just two things to remember: "Nearly all leftovers will last three to four days as long as you get them into the fridge within two hours of cooking," says Pat Kendall, PhD, RD, professor of food science and human nutrition at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. "And for safety reasons, you need to reheat the food to steaming hot before serving." So get your leftovers out of cold storage with five healthy recipes the kids will rave about.

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Mini Frittatas

Lucy Schaeffer

Mini Frittatas

Peas work perfectly in this recipe -- and are packed with vitamin A -- but feel free to sub any veggie you have on hand.

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Fajita Roll-Ups

Lucy Schaeffer

Fajita Roll-Ups

Chicken, beef, or just plain veggies all work well in these fajitas. To add extra flavor, mix in red onions with the peppers. They're loaded with quercetin, which may help prevent the flu.

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Veggie Burgers

Lucy Schaeffer

Veggie Burgers

If your preschooler passed on the beans last night, don't worry. He won't even notice they're in this patty.

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Personal Pizza

Lucy Schaeffer

Personal Pizza

Thanks to healthy toppings and just a smidge of cheese, this mini pie has half the calories of its takeout equivalent.

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Thai Noodle Bowl

Lucy Schaeffer

Thai Noodle Bowl

The fiber in this hearty soup will help your kids stay full.



Originally published in the March 2009 issue of Parents magazine.