Planned Leftovers (Secrets of a Busy Cook)

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Secrets of a Busy Cook: Cooking For the FreezerSecrets of a Busy Cook: Planned LeftoversSecrets of a Busy Cook: Quick and Easy RecipesSecrets of a Busy Cook: Fast IngredientsSecrets of a Busy Cook: Tools and TechniquesImage Map

Adapted from Secrets of a Busy Cook by Lynn Nelson, used by permission

Level One of the Busy Cooks Pyramid, Cooking For The Freezer, takes care of three weekday meals with just a small weekly investment of time.

Level II: Planned Leftovers

Level Two, Planned Leftovers, will provide one weekend dinner plus one or more weekday meals.

Cook a big meal one day and use the leftovers as the basis for one or two additional meals later in the week. Ham on Sunday and ham casserole on Tuesday. A roast turkey on one day results in Turkey Tetrazzini and Turkey Salad on other days.

The Busy Mom Menu Incorporates Planned Leftovers Into Dinner Menus For You

The Busy Mom Menu plans planned leftovers into your dinner menus so you don’t even have to think about it. Just… Print. Shop. Cook.

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Recipes Using Planned Leftovers

Grilled Chicken with Garlic Soy Marinade

Grilled Chicken with Garlic Soy Marinade This tender chicken is as delicious as it is easy to prepare. It is similar to our favorite grilled chicken and is a terrific recipe for cooking in bulk for the freezer. The extra flavor from marinating and grilling will enhance any casseroles, skillet meals, or soups that you add the chicken to. [Read More...]

Turkey Caprese Sandwiches

Turkey Caprese Sandwiches You can use either deli sliced turkey or roast turkey slices in this easy and delicious turkey caprese sandwich. One of the best ways you can save money on groceries is to shop when food is on sale, and you can freeze turkey roasts, whole turkeys, and turkey breasts as well as deli turkey slices. [Read More...]

Tex-Mex Beef Casserole

Tex-Mex Beef Casserole Planned leftovers helps me to not only reduce waste but speed up prep time on meals using the leftovers. Because the Carne Guisada is already prepared, creating this dish is just a matter of assembling the layers and baking. We almost always have rice in the refrigerator, but if we don’t, it’s easy to cook some in the rice cooker (if you don’t have a rice cooker, you are missing out on the easiest way to make rice—no more burned rice because it cooked too long). The meat is already seasoned, so if you don’t like spicy food, consider using ... [Read More...]

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie Chicken pot pie is comfort food that I grew up with. My grandmother made this often for my grandfather because he loved it so much. Her version contains sliced hard boiled eggs in it, but my husband is not an egg fan so I leave them out. What I never leave out is the bottom crust, because I feel cheated if I cut into a pot pie and discover that there is only a top crust. [Read More...]

Sloppy Joe Pizza

Sloppy Joe Pizza Sloppy Joe Pizza is a tasty way to use up leftover Sloppy Joe meat sauce. Serve with a salad for a complete meal. [Read More...]

Southwestern Hamburger Skillet

Southwestern Hamburger Skillet This southwestern style stovetop recipe from the Frugal Mom Menu is a quick and easy way to use up leftovers and canned ingredients that you have on hand. If your family likes spicier flavors, substitute enchilada sauce for the tomato soup and add a can of green chilies or tomatoes with green chilies. Other additions that work well are corn and black olives. Although the recipe calls for kidney beans, black beans or red beans can be substituted. [Read More...]

Crockpot Cheesy Ham and Corn Chowder

Crockpot Cheesy Ham and Corn Chowder Combining crockpot recipes with planned leftovers is a great way to maximize both time and money savings. Use leftover ham, and for even faster prep choose frozen diced potatoes instead of peeling and dicing them yourself. If you prefer to avoid processed ingredients, you can substitute Cream of Something soup mix for the cream of celery soup, and double the cheddar cheese to omit the processed cheese. Look for this easy recipe on the Frugal Mom Menu. [Read More...]

Reuben Sandwiches

Reuben Sandwiches This Reuben Sandwich Recipe is a great way to use up leftover corned beef, or even to set the crockpot up to cook the corned beef and make the sandwiches in the evening. It’s a crowd-pleaser! [Read More...]

Basil Lime Chicken

Basil Lime Chicken Basil Lime Chicken makes enough for a meal with extra to stock your freezer with cooked chicken for quick meal prep. The chicken needs to marinate in the tasty Dijon lime marinade overnight, so be sure to plan ahead. [Read More...]

Vegetarian Burritos

Vegetarian Burritos Burritos are typically a low cost meal and are very filling. This vegetarian burrito recipe can be adapted to what is in season and what your family likes. I like to cook a batch of dried pinto beans and serve Pinto Beans and Cornbread for one meal, then use the leftover beans to make Vegetable Burritos. If it’s available, we like to add chopped fresh cilantro. When red bell peppers are expensive (and their price can vary widely – I just bought a package of 6 for $3.99 and have at times paid that much for one pepper), omit them ... [Read More...]

Ham and Cheese Tortellini

Ham and Cheese Tortellini We do a lot of planned leftovers at Menus4Moms, and this is one of our easy leftover ham recipes. Ham and Swiss Sliders are also a good choice for what to make with leftover ham. What some other choices? Take a look at The Ham Plan, a detailed cooking plan for preparing and freezing several hams. If you prefer to avoid cream soups, try the substitution recipes here or here. [Read More...]

Ham and Swiss Sliders

Ham and Swiss Sliders Wondering what to make with leftover ham? These little ham and cheese sandwiches are a fantastically delicious way to use it. Paired with Swiss cheese and a decadent poppy seed glaze, they are addictive. [Read More...]

Chicken Barley Vegetable Soup with Herbs

Chicken Barley Vegetable Soup with Herbs This simple, hearty, and flavorful soup has a delicious combination of herbs and vegetables that is perfect for a fall or winter meal. For a vegetarian version, omit the chicken and use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken stock. This recipe, like most soup recipes, is flexible and can be adapted to use what you have on hand. If you don’t have barley, try substituting brown rice. The soup is a great way to use leftover diced turkey or chicken. [Read More...]

Veggie Rice Salad

Veggie Rice Salad My friend Cheryl shared this recipe with me this week and I just loved it it. Like most of the recipes I use, it can be adjusted based on what you have on hand. You could change the seasonings or the vegetables used or make it vegetarian by omitting the meat to make a completely different version. I did not have any red or green onion so I used about 2 Tbsp dehydrated onion and it worked fine. [Read More...]

Stovetop Chicken

Stovetop Chicken This easy chicken dish is featured in our Planned Leftovers: Roast Chicken resource, which is a free bonus with either of our two dinner menu subscriptions (see links on the left). Learning how to make the best use of leftovers prevents waste and saves money. Whenever you have had chicken, particularly a rotisserie or roast chicken, pick the remaining meat off of the bones and make some broth with the bones and skin. Use the broth and leftover meat to make Stovetop Chicken, which can be adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand. [Read More...]

Work Week Menus – How to Make it Easier! Time Savers for Cooking

It’s been at least six years since I balanced working outside the home almost full-time and having two kids. Friends were always amazed that I managed homemade meals on the table each night. Becoming a stay home mom with three kids made meal planning a bit easier because I was home, BUT several of the lessons I learned as a work outside the home mom still apply. I’ll give you a sample menu for one week to show how I would pull all these easy lessons together. [Read More...]

Turkey Frame Soup

Turkey Frame Soup That turkey carcass leftover from your holiday meal is treasure, not trash! The frame from your turkey (or chicken) makes the most delicious broth you have ever tasted. Simply put the bones (and skin if you have any) into your slow cooker and cover it with water. Let it simmer overnight and in the morning you will have the base for a delicious soup. [Read More...]

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