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Cook Once, Eat Twice

Cooking Terms and Culinary Definitions


Browse RecipeLeftovers for a collection of delicious budget-friendly, healthy recipes. Everyone has leftover food in the refrigerator, but what to do with it? Our parents and grandparents made the most of all food by serving meals made with leftover food. Very little food was wasted. Use up leftovers, rather than throwing them away.

Be creative! Take cooked food from the refrigerator or freezer and add ingredients so you have something new and different to eat. Mix and match to make economic use of all the odds and ends that are leftover from previous meals. Use the recipes on Recipe Leftovers as a starting point. Remove ingredients you don't like, or don't have on hand, and replace them with something else without changing the integrity of the recipe. It's OK to improvise and adjust ingredients!

"Recipes are not assembly manuals. Recipes are guides and suggestions for a process that is infinitely nuanced. Recipes are sheet music." -- Michael Ruhlman (cook, writer, and food authority)

Give a second life to your leftover food with just a little imagination and a delicious recipe to make healthy, tasty meals, and save money! Transform your daily meal or holiday leftovers into money-saving economical meals. Cooking your favorite leftover recipes can cut your grocery bill down. By using your leftovers, you aren't wasting food. And best of all, you will spend less time in the kitchen.

Explore Recipe Leftovers to find recipes with easy to understand directions, cooking terms with definitions, food facts, history, and storage tips.

  • Recipes like pastas, soups, and casseroles are tastier the next day.
  • Holiday or Sunday's beef roast, chicken, or turkey can last the rest of the week -- in salads, sandwiches, and soups.
  • Overripe fruit can be used in recipes like banana bread, fruit muffins, or a tasty smoothie.
  • Slightly stale bread makes delicious croutons and breadcrumbs -- mix with herbs, freeze and use in stuffing.
  • Leftover egg yolks or egg whites make a delicious omelet.
  • Wrinkled bell peppers are ideal for roasting.
  • Carrots can be used for carrot cake or carrot muffins.
  • Leftover herbs can be frozen in ice cube trays and saved for another recipe.
  • Grate older cheese into mashed potatoes and many more dishes to give them an extra edge.

Leftover Food Safety

Storing Leftover Food

  • Food should never be kept in the temperature danger zone for more than two hours, which is between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. Keep cold foods cold at 40 degrees F or lower. Keep hot foods hot at 140 degrees F or higher.
  • Chill and store leftovers properly within two hours of serving.
  • Discard leftovers if the food has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Before and after handling leftovers, wash your hands and sanitize all utensils, dishes, and work surfaces with a mild bleach solution (1 teaspoon bleach per 3 cups water).
  • Never remove a large pot of food (such as soup, stew, or pasta sauce) from the stove and place it directly in the refrigerator. Divide uncovered into smaller portions in several airtight storage containers for quicker cooling.
  • Always put leftovers in clean containers -- never mix leftovers with fresh food.
  • Food will cool faster in an uncovered, shallow container.
  • Do not overcrowd your refrigerator. Leave airspace around containers which allows circulation of cold air, to help rapid and even cooling.
  • Cover containers after the food has cooled in the refrigerator.
  • Very hot items can be cooled at room temperature until they stop steaming, prior to being refrigerated. Frequent stirring accelerates the cooling at this stage.
  • Eat leftovers within 4 days for best quality or freeze for later use. Put the date and content on the airtight container for identification to ensure that they are not stored too long.

Reheating Leftovers

  • Reheat solid leftovers to at least 165 degrees F.
  • Bring gravies, soups, and sauces to a full rolling boil and stir during the process.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions when reheating commercially prepared foods in a microwave.
  • Discard uneaten leftovers after they have been reheated. went online in 2009. Do you have a recipe to add? Contact us   Bon Appétit!

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