Planned Repurposing

This topic is a little more than meal planning. I’d like to hear from others who cook ahead for multiple dishes.

For example, we might cook a bunch of chicken with grilled breasts for dinner, some diced for chicken salad, some shredded for tacos. Roast a pork loin with medallions for dinner, thin slices for lunch sandwiches, shredded with jarred or homemade barbecue sauce, finely diced for burritos. Salmon fillets with leftovers mushed with cream cheese as a dip or spread or a vinaigrette for a salad.

What do you purposely make extra for a different meal, not just leftovers?

1 Like

A small lamb roast that I’m planning for Easter will do one round as roast lamb for Easter Sunday.

The second round will become lambwiches on whole wheat pita from the freezer, almost-tzatziki (minus the cucumber), and a green salad spiked with quick pickled red onions.

Round three, if we still have any roast left, will involve shredded lamb and peas in some sort of pasta that I’m still plotting.


We have two second rounds. First is for using within a couple of days. Slices get warmed up in a frying pan in your favourite “devilled” sauce. Second is for later. I chop it into smallish pieces and freeze. When I defrost, they get tossed in olive oil and Middle Eastern spices. I have a packet from the local Middle Eastern shop that’s simply labelled “shawama spice mix”. And, yes, it then gets heated through in a frying pan and becomes shawama to stuff in pitta or wrap in khobez bread.

Even small lamb roasts - say, half a leg - are to much for us to eat in one meal, so there’s always meat to repurpose.

I suppose there’s similar planned action when we roast a chicken. There’s the day 2 sandwich or salad lunch. And a carcass to make stock/soup with.


Great idea. I’ll have to try this sometime—maybe next week if my spice cabinet yields suitable seasonings.

1 Like

I’ve never been the biggest fan of leftovers unless I really loved the original dish. So usually I repurpose remnants from one meal into something else for a variety’s sake. This tendency only heightens as we cut back on the frequency of our grocery shopping and eating out. I don’t always plan ahead for how I will use leftovers in a new way - you sound much more organized.

Certain foods I cook in large quantities for this purpose. So a roasted, pulled pork shoulder will be served shredded with barbecue sauce the first meal, then maybe folded into street tacos the next, and finally stuffed into enchiladas with cheese, or used in Korean-style lettuce wraps, in ramen, or on top of a bi bim bap style bowl.


Caramelized onions, pan-roasted cherry tomatoes, confit garlic cloves, etc. These all end up being ingredients in various dishes and keep well in the fridge or freezer for a while, so I always make them in large quantities. I made pan roasted cherry tomatoes tonight as a side to go with a grilled steak - the extras will end up in a frittata this week, maybe mixed into sauteed green beans, pureed with mayo for a dip or salad dressing, etc.


In case this helps:


When ground beef is on sale, I saute a large amount, with onion, and split it up, freezing in amounts appropriate to other uses. A deconstructed cheeseburger, chili, cottage pie, spaghetti sauce, stirfry, etc.


Rice, pasta, beans. A whole roast chicken. Pernil.


That is a characteristic I find interesting. My sister-in-law feels the same about leftovers. I’m quite content with them. My wife likes more variety thus my approach.

1 Like

Same. My preference is to either repurpose food or at least change something about a dish on the second round—like adding spinach to a soup or using a different topping.

Improvising is like a game for my imagination. I find that if I plan too rigidly, getting meals on the table turns into a boring chore for me rather than something that feels productive and fun. Not for everybody, but it works for me.


Sometimes I have leftovers in my fridge and have no idea where they came from.


“What are these?”
“They’re green.”


We have planned overs when we smoke or bbq a large piece of meat; same with carnitas, and always with corned beef (for hash and sandwiches) and prime rib. (Sandwiches, beef stroganoff or pot pie). We frequently freeze these types of leftovers. I then refer to and think of them as frozen assets.

Plain rice, for fried rice, soups, omurice, breakfast cereal. Roasted pork shoulder or cheeks, for stir-fry, tacos, pasta, migas. (And the drippings turn into gravy or ramen broth.) Biscuits - a double batch: One for dinner and leftovers for breakfast, the second batch in the freezer. Beans (especially garbanzos, which take longer to cook and are more versatile) - in soup, with pasta, as dal, mixed with rice & sausage.

I like to keep things like this pretty neutral so they don’t feel like leftovers. Otherwise, yes, it gets boring.

1 Like