Leftovers Made Awesome & Fats + Oils Lab!


First things first — how to make leftovers awesome. (I definitely have an entire category on my blog entitled “Leftovers Made Awesome,” by the way. Check it out ;) )


One of my favorite things is taking something that’s sitting around in the fridge looking sad and making it into a new masterpiece :)


On Friday at lunch, I was staring into the fridge when I noticed about a portion’s worth of my Thai Chili Garlic Chicken (just the chicken & bok choy — no more rice) from the other day staring back at me, begging to be used. I immediately got down to work turning it into a feast for me and Matt!

First tip for leftovers — add in more veggies to bulk it back up! I sautéed some spinach, tomato, green pepper, and snap peas in a pan with some oil and garlic.


Once the spinach was wilted enough…


I added in the leftover chicken and bok choy:


Then, for some healthy carbs — a package of (already cooked) 90 second brown rice. Love this stuff. It’s so easy!


To round things out and amp up the flavor again, I added in a bit of low sodium soy sauce, a tiny bit more chili garlic sauce, and a squirt of lime juice. 


And voila! 


A feast for two and no wasted leftovers in sight :) Are you a fan of leftovers?

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And now — for a recap of last night’s food science class! So much fun, as always. This week’s adventure was fats and oils! This is more of a culinary course than a nutrition course, after all. We were all excited because one of the night’s creations was salad dressings, so to taste test them we had a huge salad bar set up!


Mmmm… I need to buy some dried cranberries to put on salads. They made them so delicious!

The other highlight of the night? These amazing paninis.


The paninis included sautéed spinach with garlic, fresh tomatoes and basil, and a feta cheese spread (!), all smushed between two crispy slices of olive bread. YUM!!!

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We also experimented with brownies, trying to make them with applesauce instead of butter/oil, pureed prunes instead of butter/oil, and of course a control made with real butter. The butter won… shocker ;) While I love health-ifying muffins… I think brownies should probably stay as they should be — a once in awhile decadent treat! 


Speaking of “sometimes” food — we experimented with frying. Banana and apple fritters, anyone?


I’m off to school for a crazy busy day. I have a test at 8 a.m. (that I’m making up since I’m missing it on Thursday), 3 classes, 2 group project meetings, a 30 minute assignment to complete, then I’m racing home and changing to make it to my favorite power yoga class at 5:45, and then, finally, packing for Los Angeles! I leave bright and early (aka my flight leaves AT 7 a.m… yikes!) tomorrow morning, so I’ve scheduled a fun post to go up around 10 a.m. (tomorrow) to entertain you guys while I’m traveling :) Enjoy and catch you later from the west coast… yet again!


  1. 1

    Great idea for the leftovers! I always get so bored with them. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  2. 2

    I love leftovers! Since I’m generally cooking for myself, I tend to make at least two servings of whatever I prepare so I have something for another day.

  3. 3

    I hated leftovers until I started cooking for myself. Now I can’t stand wasting leftovers! I have some curry in the fridge that I’ll be giving to a friend to finish up for me since it’s not really a great food to eat when driving! I have a crazy week to with the holiday break coming up + leaving Thursday… It’ll be worth the craziness once it’s OVER! Happy travels!

  4. 4

    I think food taste better two or three days after. I love leftovers, especially soups and chili and spaghetti sauce. Let us in on some new ideas for salad dressings. Again, have great fun on your trip and looking forward to new adventure pictures.

  5. 5

    I’m horrible at eating leftovers. Usually they sit in the fridge until they’re too old to eat. And then I trash them. I need to start thinking like you: find new ways to incorporate them into a new dish. Too often I just try to reheat and end up with a dry, gross meal. Great tips.

  6. 6

    I agree with you on brownies – they are delicious and perfect in themselves and should stay as they are – better, with butter.

    I love leftovers – I am usually so relieved not to have to cook when pressed for time, I don’t bother improving them in any way. I love finding something tasty in the freezer.

  7. 7

    I love your food science recap posts! I’m taking that class next semester, and hopefully, we get to make yummy things like you do.

  8. 8

    I absolutely love leftovers. When I first found out that some people hate them, I literally did not understand! It’s nice when I come home late to just pop something in the microwave! Great idea to add veggies to leftovers.
    As much as I love to healthify baked goods, I agree that some foods are better without substitutions.

  9. 9

    I’m with you on the brownies- it’s just one of those foods you shouldn’t mess with too much! There are other ways to eat chocolate if you don’t want butter! :)

    I’m a leftover addict- it makes life so much easier to tweak leftovers than start fresh on a new recipe! And cheaper!

  10. 10

    I love that you talked about your school classes – it’s like I get to be in class too!

  11. 11

    I use leftovers all the time! I cook a few times a week (maybe) and the rest of the nights are leftovers.
    The banana fritters look so good!

  12. 12

    I love leftovers! Last night we had steak and there is still a ton leftover, so tonight we are having beef stir fry and there will probably be enough for the tostadas later in the week…I love when that happens!


  13. 13

    Is there a recipe for the feta cheese spread or is it simply feta spread on the bun! Does this sound stupid?? haha


  14. 15

    Your leftovers do look amazing! I want some myself!

    I love to fix brownies with black beans!

    Did you make your own feta spread for the paninis?

    • 16

      No — our professor brought the feta spread (and sandwich fixings) from one of his food service locations at UNC hospitals. He likes showing off the food they serve there sometimes :)

  15. 17

    Im not the most creative lady when it comes to leftovers. But Im game for throwing practically anything in a frittata.

  16. 18

    Luckily, my hubby takes care of most leftovers in a day or 2 with his lunches! I usually don’t like leftovers (once I’ve had a meal once that week, I’m good for awhile with it) but this is a great idea to mix things up!

  17. 19

    When I initially read the title of your post I thought it said Mad Libs. It’s been a long day…..

  18. 21

    I used to hate leftovers, but if it’s something I can microwave for a warm lunch at work, I love them now! I just used some leftover brown rice to make fried rice tonight – one of my favorite “leftovers made awesome.”

  19. 22

    Leftovers are the best. Thanks for reminding us! And smooth/safe travels to the West Coast –

  20. 23

    I love leftovers! I love being able to take something from the day before and “jazz” it up the next day! In fact, my entire lunch today was made up of leftovers! :)

    Your class sounds like fun! :)

    Have a safe trip to the West Coast!

  21. 24

    I’m not a fan of leftovers. I’d always rather make something new than eat the same thing again!! I do eat them though, because I hate wasting food :)

    Have a safe trip!

  22. 25

    Dried cranberries along with strawberries and almonds and FETAAAAA are amazing in a salad! you don’t even need the veggies ;)

  23. 26

    Thanks for the share. Very informative!

  24. 27

    I love mixing up leftovers and making them new. In fact so foods I like better the 2nd day, like pastas that soak up sauce! I’ve always been baffled by people who are “scared” of leftovers!

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