Summer Bean Salad Corn Green Beans Limas

Leftover Crudite Platters or Party Platters

Crudite platters – they don’t have to be the unwelcome guest that stayed on long after the party is over. Here are some ways to transform them.

Think of the recipes you’ll use as “guides” not something set in stone, especially as the types & amounts of your veggies might not exactly match those in a recipe. You may need to scale up or down, substitute and make do.

Read More


Oven Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

Leftover Cruciferous Vegetables: Brassicas

Brassicas/Cruciferous Veggies: Cauliflower, Broccoli, Greens and so on - they can be a challenge to use up - here's your handy dandy guide to get creative!

Cruciferous vegetables span a wide range; some are easy to rework into something fabulous while others need a bit more creativity. Here are some ideas to help you find a little inspiration.

For all leftovers, start to think about how they might be transformed into something marvelous. As a building block for recipes that rely on an already cooked ingredient; as a shortcut. All you need is an inspiration & maybe a recipe.

Think of the recipes you’ll use as “guides” not something set in stone, especially as the amounts of your leftovers might not exactly match an amount in a recipe. Once you have a leftover ingredient to start with, scale recipes up or down, substitute and make do.

What are Cruciferous (Brassica) Vegetables?:

There so many, but the most commonly used in the US are broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, arugula, kale and other greens, bok choy, turnips, rutabagas & radishes.

Brassica Chart from Brassicas & Whitetail Deer

Read More

Easy Refrigerator Pickled Asparagus

25 Ways to use Leftover Asparagus

Asparagus can be pricey and it’s a shame to waste any – and what the heck are you supposed to do with all those stems you’ve broken off? Here are over 25 ways to use Leftover Asparagus.

With any leftover vegetable, think how it might be transformed into something marvelous. As a building block for recipes that rely on an already cooked ingredient; as a shortcut. All you need is an inspiration & maybe a recipe.

Read More

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

50 ways to use Leftover Root Vegetables

Sometimes you just need a little inspiration when faced with leftover root veggies; here are some ideas to use leftover root vegetables that will have you hoping for leftovers.

Start to think about how any leftovers might be transformed into something marvelous and use up those leftover root vegetables. Think about your leftover root vegetables as a building block for recipes that rely on an already cooked ingredient; as a shortcut. All you need is an inspiration & maybe a recipe.

Read More

Chicken Pot Pie - top with biscuit, pie crust, potatoes or puff pastry

Chicken Pot Pie like you WISH your Grandma made!

not to "dis" grandma, but this is outstanding!!

I originally posted this Chicken Pot Pie in November of 2011, one of my very first posts! Today, as I made it again, I updated with new photos. That night, I had been looking at Time’s Money Issue and became sidetracked. Pretty soon, I was clicking on one link after another; you know how that goes, right?

Chicken Pot Pie - top with biscuit, pie crust, potatoes or puff pastry

Chicken Pot Pie like you Wish your Grandma made! Tender, flaky crust, gorgeous vegetables and a gravy out of this world!

Read More

Country Souffle

Simple Country Souffle – From Anything

If you’ve thought a Souffle was a fancy dish, the bastion of a master chef, think again. I was charmed by this simple recipe from my Grandmother’s 1917 cook book. Not as tall or high rising as a fancy souffle, this is a simple, country souffle and is absolutely delicious. No stress and worry free, a souffle like this is right at home at breakfast, brunch or as a simple side.

Country Souffle

Simple Country Souffle from Anything!

Read More

Leftover Vegetables & Herbs

Leftovers are the most expensive food in your house. You’ve used money & time to buy, transform, prepare and cook them!


Bear with me, please, as this post is updated. It used to be basically one long list, so this post is going through a complete transformation. Vegetables by type are getting their own pages, so right now this post is a little crazy!! Beans are next and tomatoes coming soon.

This post contains general information for all leftover vegetables, but vegetables by type either have or will eventually have their own pages. See the links at the bottom of the page.

Start to think about how any leftovers might be transformed into something marvelous. As a building block for recipes that rely on an already cooked ingredient; as a shortcut. All you need is inspiration & maybe a recipe.

Think of the recipes you’ll use as “guides” not something set in stone, especially as the amounts of your leftovers might not exactly match an amount in a recipe. Once you have a leftover ingredient to start with, scale recipes up or down, substitute and make do.

Asparagus Frittata

Asparagus Frittata -but just about any leftover vegetables can go in a frittata

Vegetables, General:

If you haven’t used a whole vegetable, wrap in plastic and store in the door of the fridge where you’ll see it and remember to use it. Think of leftover vegetables whenever a recipe already calls for cooked vegetables and use them as a shortcut.

Always keep Food Safety in mind when cooking or dealing with any leftovers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1. egg dishes:

Add to your frittatas, omelets scrambled eggs. Lot’s of veggies can be added to egg dishes, and leftovers will save you time sautéing them up in the morning.

2. soups:

Reheat leftover vegetables in soups or make a soup from them. Save veggies on their own or in a combination of flavors that go well together. Just add to a Ziploc bag and freeze and keep adding until you have enough.

3. casseroles:

Since most casseroles start with precooked vegetables, it’s a no-brainer to use your leftover veggies in one.

4. cheese it:

Transform lackluster leftovers with a simple cheese sauce.

5. cream it:

Reheat with cream or a white sauce to revive those leftover vegetables for a second meal.

6. pizza:

So many veggies are great on top of a pizza, and leftover ones, already cooked, are even better.

7. pickle:

Pickle them and use them as a side or an appetizer or a condiment. Think Asian, Mexican, or traditional American Pickles.

8. smoothies:

Add to your green smoothies like my Big, Fat Green Smoothie, or use with a combination of fruit for a more palatable option.

9. respice and reheat:

Sprinkle generously with your favorite spice mixtures and reheat with a little butter.

10. hash:

Add to potatoes or sweet potatoes and fry up a marvelous hash, or just make hash on its own.

11. stuff:

Stuff vegetables with vegetables! Toss them into the mix for Stuffed Peppers or other Stuffed Vegetables.

12. bubble & squeak:

Fry everything in a saucepan. Or fry, add mashed potatoes and mix together. Try add grated cheese, form into cakes, dust with flour and pan-fried till golden. These little cakes freeze well.


Pickled Asparagus, easy recipe, refrigerator pickle

Pickled Asparagus, easy recipe, refrigerator pickle

Specific Vegetables:

I gave you a lot of general ideas for inspiration, above, but you’ve got to find your way when dealing with a specific type of leftover vegetable. Here are a few ways to make those shine!

Scroll towards the bottom of the page to see links for leftover Cruciferous, Asparagus, Root Vegetables, Corn and leftover Cruidite Platters, which now have their own pages.

Summer Bean Salad Corn Green Beans Limas

Summer Bean Salad – since the beans are cooked, this is ideal for leftover beans.


Fresh beans go fast in the fridge! If you’re afraid you won’t get to them in time, do a quick blanch in boiling water, shock them in cold water and trim them when you’re ready to use them. Those brownish spots? It’s called rust and it’s harmless but it multiplies quickly. Here are a few ideas to use up any leftovers:

1. three bean salad:

Make three bean salad or use the same method for any bean salad. It’s not set in stone that you’ll need all three beans and that dressing is great! You can always count on AllRecipes for solid recipes that have been tested many times.

2. pickle them:

Hot pickled Beans are great – just cut down the recipe and guesstimate to make a small batch you don’t have to can. Same goes for Dilly Beans.

3. take out style:

When you reheat, saute them. Use this recipe to transform those beans into marvelous Take Out Style Beans. Saute them quickly so they don’t turn to mush.

4. salad nicoise:

Of course, you’ll want to make Salad Nicoise, right? Such a classic. Here’s a recipe from Melissa d’Arabian.

5. tuna with beans & tomatoes:

Or maybe this more American type salad, Tuna with Beans & Tomatoes. So good!


1. pickles:

Make quick refrigerator pickles. Just do a search, but basically just boil 1 cup of vinegar with 1 to 2 cups of sugar and pour over cucumbers, let sit at least 2 hours – these will keep for weeks in the fridge.

2. add cream:

It’s a thing. Add a little cream or sour cream, maybe a touch of vinegar. Add some celery seed, caraway or dill if you’d like. A touch of sugar never hurt.

3. tzatziki:

It doesn’t take a lot of cucumber to make Tzatziki and it’s marvelous as a dip for veggies or a spread in all kinds of sandwiches.

4. appetizer:

Cut into large slices and top with goat’s cheese, maybe mixed with your favorite herbs, or other cheese.

5. salad:

So simple, I’m afraid to mention it, but toss in your favorite salad, add to Panzanella, like this Updated Panzanella, use in Asian Salads, there’s hardly an end!


1. soup:

I love this Cream of Spring Vegetable Soup, with the quaint name of “Potage” and already cooked, leftover peas would be ideal. If the peas have been flavored or cooked with herbs, that’s just going to lend a little extra flavor.

2. pesto:

Smash them up, add a few herbs: basil, mint, etc. or a combination and serve over pasta or on toasts for a kind of pea pesto.

3. pea salad:

There’s the classic Pea Salad and then there are a few upgrades. Peas & Salmon are a great combo. Check out my post on What To Do With That Canned Salmon Lurking in Your Pantry.

4. add to creamed dishes:

Peas are often added to creamed dishes like Chicken a la King or Chicken Pot Pie. Don’t do this if your peas are already well cooked, or they just won’t taste fresh with the additional cooking.

5. toss in creamy pasta:

Pretty much a no-brainer. Add peas to creamy alfredo type pasta dishes, just at the end to cook through. They’ll add a little texture, color and a healthy aspect.


Bell Peppers:

1. roast & freeze:

Assuming the peppers you’re dealing with are raw, any pepper can be roasted under the broiler or over a flame or on a grill, steamed in a covered bowl, peeled and frozen in useful sizes.

2. jelly:

Any pepper, hot or mild can be made into a pepper jelly. Scale down a recipe if you’d like. It doesn’t take many peppers to make and if yo make a small batch, just refrigerate instead of canning it.

3. honey glaze:

Finely dice, saute for a minute in a little butter, then add honey. Brush over cornbread or savory muffins. See my Famous Dave’s Cornbread for a recipe to riff off.

4. make a spread:

Don’t waste the little bits around the stem when you’re prepping. Finely dice and mix with a little cream cheese for a sandwich or bagel spread.

5. add to a salad or bowl:

Any cooked peppers can easily be added to a salad or a bowl! Maybe with some brown rice or quinoa and this Lemon Yogurt Dressing?


Hard Squash:

1. salads & bowls:

Add to salads and salad bowls. Think of mixed with greens, brown rice or quinoa, drizzled with a lemon yogurt, balsamic or tahini dressing.

2. puree:

If your squashes are cooked, puree and serve again.

3. add to soups:

Squash can be added to soups, pureed or in chunks.

4. baked goods:

Back in the day, it was trendy to use applesauce in baked goods to replace some of the eggs, oil, and dairy. Squash can be used the same way.

5. pies:

Squash is just excellent in pies, any hard squash, not just pumpkin. Substitute pureed squash for the same amount of pumpkin.

pumpkin puree:

1. desserts:

Always the no-brainer when dealing with pumpkin. If you’ve used pumpkin for something else, though and have leftover, think about pie (I have several on the blog) but flan, cheesecake or these Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits also come to mind.

2. lattes:

To use up just a bit of pumpkin puree, think about Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

3. add to soups:

Pumpkin, just like squash can be added to soups, pureed or in chunks.

4. pancakes:

I love pumpkin pancakes but haven’t developed or found my perfect recipe, yet. If you try one you love, let me know!

5. oatmeal:

Add pumpkin to your morning oatmeal, along with pumpkin pie spice.

6. seeds:

Don’t forget to roast the seeds.


1. air dry:

Almost any fresh herb that isn’t fleshy can be dried in small quantities. Don’t let them wilt and throw them away! Just spread them on a plate, let air dry and put in Ziploc or jars. Label. For larger quantities, loosely tie and hang.

2. freeze:

Freeze chopped herbs in water and toss in soups or stocks. This goes for certain soft, not woody, stems, too, which carry have the same flavor as the herbs. Use an ice-cube tray for this.

3. freeze in oil:

Freeze either plain or chop leftover herbs with a garlic clove, then freeze in ice-cube trays covered with olive oil. This is easy, mess-free option for when you’re ready to cook anything with herbs and garlic.

4. flavored oils:

Save your herbs or scraps to blend with olive oil for a finishing oil for toasted breads, soups, steaks, or you name it. Use your judgment as to what will taste good. Basil and chives come to mind, immediately, and this Cilantro Lime Oil is excellent and gives you a place to start.

5. green sauces:

Make pesto, chimichurri, chermoula, or other sauces from your veggie tops and leftover herbs. Heck, toss some greens in there if you’re so inclined.

Fruit & Veg waste goes in Spa Water

vegetable parings & potential waste

When buying fresh vegetables, there’s going to be more waste than when buying canned or frozen. You’ve paid for it, so here are a few ways to turn potential waste into a positive.

1. stock:

Keep in a bag in the fridge any carrot tops and peelings, celery pieces, onion skins and other bits of vegetables (use your judgment as to how well something will keep or how it will taste) add to your stock or broth when making. Alternatively, put in a container in the freezer.

2. vegetable stock: 

A traditional stock is great but think about Vegetable Stock, too. Just about anything goes. Here’s a recipe from The Kitchn.

3. dehydrate:

Put tough outer greens from kale, chard or beet tops in an oven on low to dehydrate them. Then puree and you’ve got a homemade vitamin-packed powder to add to your morning green smoothie. Some people EAT these and claim to like them, btw.

4. smoothies:

Save all kinds of vegetable pieces and parts and use in your morning Green Smoothies. Think “nutrient-packed” items like asparagus & broccoli stems. Leave out seeds.

5. spa water:

Make Spa Water with certain vegetable/fruit parings: Tomato, Bell Pepper, and Cucumber are wonderful. Others maybe not so much. Use your judgment.

6. use cooking liquid:

Save the nutrient-rich water you cook vegetables in and use it in your soups, sauces and gravies or smoothies. The same goes for liquids in cans if they aren’t overly salty.

Your Input

I’m always looking for new ideas – what are your favorite ways to use your leftover vegetables & herbs?

leftover vegetables by type

Slowly but surely, I’m updating this page and making new pages for leftover vegetables by type. There’s just so many different kinds, and this page has gotten long!


helpful links


Spa Water on a Budget

Spa Water on a Budget

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s drinking water. There, I said it. I just don’t really like the taste, it doesn’t seem refreshing, and it’s boring. But water can be transformed with fruits (and even some veggies) but that can get pricey. And buying flavored water can get pricey, too – plus there is that additive thing and the resulting container disposal. The answer? My Spa Water on a Budget.

Spa Water on a Budget

Spa Water on a Budget

For a while, flavored and spa waters were all the rage on Pinterest and Facebook. I kept seeing these gorgeous pics of pitchers full of fruit, glistening in the sun in frosty pitchers and loved the idea. The thought of the cost, though, just about made me gasp. It doesn’t take much to infuse flavor into your pitcher of water…and there’s a way to do it that costs nothing and prevents waste!

About Spa Water on a Budget:

What kind of miracle is that you might wonder? Well, I make my Spa Water on a Budget out of garbage. Yep, you heard right – Garbage! Stop, though, and think about it. Even the parts of fruits and veggies we don’t use, often for aesthetic reasons, peels, seeds, cores, trimmings, even hulls and stems of strawberries, have tremendous flavor.

I have a kind of unspoken rule: Never waste flavor. Which goes hand in hand with another of my rules: Never waste anything that can be put to good use. You pay for it, use it. And yes, all of those pieces and parts can still go in the recycle bin; just think of the Spa Water for those bits and pieces going on a quick trip side trip on the road to that bin!

These lightly infused, refreshing drinks are some of my favorite things; so simple, so easy and so fabulously frugal. So refreshing. Not necessarily “intensely” flavored, My Spa Water on a Budget is just a gorgeous hint of vegetable or fruit, possibly with a few herbs or spices thrown in the mix and maybe a tea bag or two, if you wish. (You may have seen me mention my Spa Water here or there on my blog pages because when I think about it, I like to share the idea.)

So while you’re at the cutting board and getting ready to send something down the disposal, into the garbage or out to the compost, ask yourself if it can’t make a pit stop on the way and give you just a bit more bang for your buck…be spontaneous and keep a jar or two in the fridge door for whenever you need a little pick-me-up.

Fruit & Veg waste goes in Spa Water on a Budget

Fruit & Veg waste goes in Spa Water on a Budget

Making Spa Water on a Budget:

You’ll want to make sure to wash or thoroughly rinse your whole fruit before cutting into it. Then just go to town and add all those parts and pieces to a pitcher or large mason jar, cover with water and refrigerate. The water begins to infuse almost immediately, but you might want to infuse overnight or for several days. And you might want to add in a tea bag or two for flavored iced tea.

What comes out is perhaps a bit horrifying…leached out of their vibrant colors, bloated and floating around in murky water – but don’t let that deter you! That just means the fruit and the water are getting intimate with one another – making an exchange so to speak. At my house, it also means my son is not very likely to touch it. Oh, if he only knew what he was missing. Shhhh – don’t tell – the kid eats me out of house and home as it is. I just want one thing for myself, just this one little thing…well, maybe I want chocolate for myself, too. So that’s two things, lol!

Strain your Spa Water on a Budget, pour over ice and enjoy. If you haven’t added a tea bag or two, you can still make hot or iced tea with the Spa Water. The amount of flavor you are going to get depends on how much vegetation is used and how long it has infused. If it is very flavorful, I add it to a pitcher and add additional water, if not, I just enjoy as is. Sometimes, when I strain my Spa Water into a glass, I’ll put the fruit back into the jar and add water for a second go around. Usually, I only do this if I infuse for one day and the fruit is a strongly flavored one, or I have a lot of it. Mangos and Pineapples come to mind.

Some of my favorite Spa Water on a Budget flavors: Cucumber, Mango Ginger or Mango Cardamom, Apple Spice, Strawberry, Rhubarb, Tomato Lime, Lemon Mint. Many are no more than “happy accidents” based on what I am cooking on any particular day.

Spa Water on a Budget

Spa Water on a Budget

How else can I prevent vegetable and fruit waste in addition to Spa Water on a Budget?:

I use items like celery stalk pieces, onion, garlic and carrot peelings and ends for My Best Chicken or Turkey Stock. They get thrown into a Ziploc bag and saved for the week. If I’m not making a stock during the week, it goes into the freezer. The resulting stock is more flavorful than the stock I make by cutting veggies, probably because things like peels have so much surface area.

Many items that I don’t feel will “taste good” or isn’t appealing or sometimes leftover, go in a container for my next day’s green smoothie. I call it my Big, Fat Green Smoothie on a Budget. I use an amazing amount of otherwise “wasted” food this way. And I get a lot of good fiber, vitamins, trace elements, etc. all at the same time.

Some items like beet or carrot tops get tossed in salads or even better, get used in my Carrot Top Pesto. Follow the recipe to make Pesto out of carrot tops or other veggie tops.

Spa Water on a Budget

Spa Water on a Budget

So, time to fess up – who else has marvelous ideas for the pieces, parts, and scraps of vegetables any sane person would toss? It doesn’t necessarily have to be food related – I’ve heard of people cleaning with baking soda and the remainder of a squeezed lemon.


I recently tried infusing water with my Instant Pot and didn’t care for the “cooked” fruit taste. I’m sticking with my old-fashioned method. I also recently picked up this cool pitcher with a built-in strainer in a lid. It fits right next to my milk in the door and it makes Spa Water on a Budget even easier. Plus the water seems “special” so I’m more likely to drink it.

Spa Water on a Budget: This one is made from cucumber seeds and peelings

Spa Water on a Budget: This one is made from cucumber seeds and peelings


Pineapple Spa Water is a fave – there’s so much to use and it’s so flavorful!

Traditional Irish Potato Cakes

Traditional Irish Potato Cakes

Potato Cakes – are they Irish? I grew up with them (my Mom was Catherine, my Grandma Irene, my Great Grandma was Lizzie and I’m a Mollie) but I suspect even cooks that weren’t Irish made these beautiful little cakes when they had leftover mashed potatoes. What I do know is that Traditional Irish Potato Cakes are delicious, maybe even better than the original mashed potatoes they are made from. And for me, that’s sayin’ a lot coz I do love love love me some mashed potatoes!

Traditional Irish Potato Cakes

Traditional Irish Potato Cakes

Read More

Nested Corned Beef Hash Cups with Toast . $3.20

While Corned Beef Hash is wonderful, it does require some attention. These little Corned Beef Hash Cups are not just “cute” they save a bit of the last minute labor. One might very well be justified in feeling quite brilliant bringing these to the table for brunch! A crunchy little potato cup, softer, creamier potatoes in the middle, a layer of Corned Beef and a gorgeous egg on top, done as soft or as hard as you’d like.

Nested Corned Beef Hash Cups

Nested Corned Beef Hash Cups

Read More

Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef Hash

There is Corned Beef Hash, and then there is Corned Beef Hash. I think Hash should be more than some lightly browned “Hash Browns.” At it’s best, it’s a dish with a crunchy crustiness, the outsides of the potatoes golden brown, the insides gorgeous and creamy.

Corned Beef Hash with a Poached Egg

Corned Beef Hash with a Poached Egg

Read More

Eggs Florentine with Sliced Tomatoes

I was watching Ann Burrell the other day “The Best Thing I Ever Made,” a Food Network show – she turned out an Eggs Flameco that looked marvelous – that recipe, though, reminded me of another old favorite, and a much healthier one: Eggs Florentine.

Eggs Florentine - poached eggs blanketed by a cheesy sauce on top a bed of flavorful spinach

Eggs Florentine – poached eggs blanketed by a cheesy sauce on top a bed of flavorful spinach

Read More

Light Hot Brown Sandwiches, with Buffet Style Oven Baked Bacon

Light Hot Browns

I truly do think the leftovers are the best part of any Holiday dinner, and here’s one of my favorite ways to use them. While traditionally made with turkey, Hot Browns are great made with either turkey or ham. As a matter of fact, when I make Hot Browns, I can usually count on an extra teenager or two hanging around until dinner is served. That’s ok with me – I’d rather have them at my house!

Light Hot Browns

Light Hot Browns

Read More

Asparagus Risotto Cook's Illustrated Method

Asparagus Risotto

Creamy, delicious and comforting, Risotto is undisputedly one of the classic rice dishes of the world. When I heard of Cook’s Illustrated came out with an “easy, partially hands off” method for Asparagus Risotto, I wondered if their scientific approach would improve my risotto.

Asparagus Risotto Cook's Illustrated Method

Asparagus Risotto

Read More

Best Turkey Broth or Chicken Broth

Best Turkey Broth or Chicken Broth

I love, love, love to make my own homemade Chicken or Turkey Broth. For years, I made my own then I went through a period of time when I just stopped. A visit to my daughter’s house reminded me what a difference a homemade stock makes, not only in soups but in so many recipes. And while I don’t mind cheating with a boxed or canned or Better Than Bullion now and then, there are some recipes I wouldn’t even think about making without my Best Turkey Broth or Chicken Broth. It’s the stock make every time we have turkey, and it’s the same recipe I use for my Chicken Stock, too.

Best Turkey Broth or Chicken Broth

Best chicken or turkey stock:

Read More

Classic Shepherds Pie

Classic Shepherds Pie

I grew up in a small little town in Northwest Iowa that was settled by Irish immigrants. And even though I don’t remember my Mom ever making a Classic Shepherds Pie, I know I had it at friend’s houses. It was just kind of a staple that pretty much everyone made.

Classic Shepherds Pie

Classic Shepherds Pie

Read More

Fried Rice Recipe

Fried Rice Recipe

I tried to make fried rice many times over the years; the first time I was in my early 20’s. When I think back on that now, I just about shudder! It was pretty horrible and since I love Fried Rice, I’d try now and then with a bit of improvement. Back then we didn’t have the internet and only a couple of TV shows, and you’d better be up early on Saturday morning to see them on PBS! And we didn’t have the Asian Grandmother, Patricia Tanumihardja. And I didn’t have this Fried Rice Recipe!

Fried Rice Recipe

Fried Rice Recipe

Read More