How to Plan New Gluten-Free Meals with Leftovers - dummies

How to Plan New Gluten-Free Meals with Leftovers

By Nancy McEachern

Intentionally creating leftovers to use in other gluten-free dishes can save time in the kitchen, reduce wasted food, and keep the menu interesting. For instance, if you’re cooking chicken for dinner one day, make some extra and use the leftover chicken for a salad or chicken tacos the next day.

You can serve mashed potatoes as a side dish for a meal and make extra to use on a shepherd’s pie. Or you can cook extra rice when preparing a stir-fry with plans to make fried rice the next day. Here, leftovers aren’t simply uneaten, day-old food; they’re an ingredient in another recipe!

If you happen to have any of the following ingredients left from last night’s dinner, think wrap, sandwich, salad, soup, quesadilla, taco, or omelet for breakfast or lunch:

  • Hamburger

  • Roasted or grilled chicken

  • Ribs or pork chops

  • Lunchmeat

  • Grilled fish

  • Sautéed vegetables

  • Slices of fruit

  • Baked or fried potatoes

  • Partial can of vegetables or sauces

After you begin to prepare a budget-savvy meal of leftovers, you may discover that you’re missing some key ingredients. Don’t pack it all up and run for fast food. Instead, figure out what you can use to replace the missing ingredients to rescue the meal.

Substitutions are easy if you aren’t too tied to your recipes. Think of recipes as guidelines — not a set of rules. For instance, if your recipe calls for green beans and you don’t have any, see what you do have. You can switch out the green beans for peas, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, or just about any other vegetable or bean you do have.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to make a quiche and you don’t have eggs, then you may need to redirect your meal plan!

Here are some common substitutions:

  • Pasta for rice

  • Quinoa for pasta or rice

  • Mashed potatoes for polenta

  • Any type of beans (black, navy, kidney, garbanzo) for another

  • Green beans for peas

  • Zucchini for eggplant

  • Cauliflower for potatoes

You can also plan for leftovers by preparing an entire entree with the intention of storing it as individual servings and warming it up as needed for a quick bite.

Of course, if you loved a dish the first time, don’t feel pressured to reinvent it; just reheat and love it again — maybe with a new side dish you prepare with groceries you need to use before they spoil.