Make the Most of Your Leftovers, Part 1

Welcome to a new series: Make the Most of Your Leftovers. We plan to continue this, giving you ideas on how you can use leftovers.

Anna has developed quite an art of putting together leftovers into delicious soups or casseroles. When we rave over the casserole, she tells us to enjoy it that time because there won’t ever be another one just like it. I am trying to learn from her.

Here are the leftovers I had available:

  • rice
  • ham gravy with ham chunks
  • 3 biscuits
  • pork spare rib meat


Since there are only 6 of us at home now, we have downsized our casseroles to 8×8 pans.

First I greased the pan, and then put a layer of rice on the bottom. I would say about 1/3 the depth of the pan had rice.

Anna suggested I sprinkle a light seasoning of garlic salt on the rice to give it some extra flavor.

Our next layer was the meat we had picked off the spare ribs from a couple of days earlier.

Next, we added a layer of ham gravy that we had thinned a little so that it would seep nicely into the rice. 

We put the casserole together and refrigerated it two days before we used it.

Before baking at 350 degrees for 1 hour, we topped it with the cubed biscuits and sprinkled parmesan cheese over that.

It really was delicious!

Trusting in Jesus,

“Who giveth food to all flesh:
for his mercy endureth for ever.”
Psalm 136:25

25 thoughts on “Make the Most of Your Leftovers, Part 1”

  1. You said you refrigerated it for 2 days before cooking and serving it. Is there a particular reason for this, or is it just that you already had dinner planned for the next couple of nights?

    1. We had time to make it one afternoon, and we were going to have it the next day. Something came up that I can’t even remember now, that caused us to push it off another day.

  2. That looks wonderful. We have purposed this year to not waste food. That has made me a more selective shopper and meal planner. Everyone is really amenable to leftover potluck nights and using leftovers in creative ways. I have never made a ham gravy. It looks yummy.

    1. I agree. It is great not to waste food and to purposefully plan to use any leftovers. Ham gravy is yummy. It is usually quite salty so we have to tame it down with about 1/2 milk to 1/2 ham juice for the gravy liquid.

  3. What a great idea for a series! I’m interested in anything cooking and baking, so this really appeals to me! I usually serve leftovers as lunches but learning to use them to create a whole new meal is something I need to work on. We love casseroles and they are a good way to serve up a hearty meal, so I’m going to try to use leftovers to make them, too. Thanks for the idea and keep the cooking posts coming, I love them!

    1. Thank you, Roseanna, for the encouragement. It will motivate us to slow down when we are using leftovers, take photos, and document what we are doing so we can post about it!

  4. I love the idea of this series. We often have leftovers but I’m not very good at making them into something new. I always strive toward zero waste and need to be brave enough to experiment. I’m looking forward to more entries on this topic.

  5. We’re really into finishing off our food, too. Better for our budget and the environment. Is Anna Marie hanging in there?

  6. While it’s great that you are able to use up your leftovers, don’t forget about food safety. Believe me, food poisoning is not a fun thing to deal with. I nearly lost a friend to it and I am extremely careful with it.

  7. For some reason or another we often end up with too much mashed potatoes, so we’l mix an egg per cup of taters, approx’ 1/4 cup flour, and some milk then fry them into cakes, additional addins, cheese, veggies, and meat.

  8. Ohhh, I’m looking so forward to this series! With only two of us left at home, we tend to accumulate leftovers. I keep a zip lock bag in my freezer and even the smallest bits of leftover veggies go into it. Then when I make soups or casseroles, there is a nice variety of leftover veggies to add. Lately, I have been making all the gravy possible with the amount of broth or juices I have. Then I freeze it in jars (saved from Marie’s and Marzetti’s salad dressings) in more manageable amounts for use later. I also get approximately 7″ aluminum pans with a top at any dollar store. I make chicken pot pies, freeze them and whenever someone is ill, or I just want to take them a meal, the pies are already made up in my freezer! Sorry this is so long, I am really NOT a creative cook and can use all the help I can get!

    1. Nellie, those are great ideas. How wonderful to have a meal already in the freezer when someone needs a meal! So simple. We will do a post in the future about freezing leftover and then using them. We have a little stash in their right now that should make some delicious soup.

  9. Anna is a genius! I waste SO much food and it makes me feel awful. I’m now inspired to save all leftovers and see what I can do!
    Looking forward to this series.


  10. Looking forward to the series! There are only two of us right now and we are both not breakfast or lunch eaters, so usually we cook dinner for two and there aren’t many leftovers! 🙂 …But when there are I struggle with how to use them because I don’t like wasting food. I grew up in the Midwest, I recently tried some of my grandparents’ casserole recipes (which I remembered liking as a kid… probably because they were so salty!) but we were kind of disappointed. There was no “crunch,” so even though they were very, nutrient-dense and had enough calories, they didn’t feel satisfying and we were both still hungry! Then we realized that (depending on the casserole) we could grab a bag of pita or corn chips and turn it into a dip. Now “casserole dip” definitely makes a regular appearance on our table (usually with a big salad or some veggies too!) It’s amazing what a little creativity can do. I never thought to have biscuits with casserole, but that sounds like it would be pretty yummy, satisfying and easy as well.

  11. Series nothing! Your past two cooking posts (Anna Marie’s and now this one) sound to me like the makings of a new book, maybe along the lines of “Kitchen Peace: Fast and Friendly Tips and Recipes for the Busy Homeschool Family”.

    I don’t know where I have been, but until Anna Marie’s post I had never heard of using the mixer to shred chicken. This has changed my life, lol! I am sure that readers would love to have a book filled with all kinds of hints like this. In the meantime, thanks for sharing all this wonderful information- very helpful 🙂

    1. So glad Anna Marie gave you a new idea of shredding chicken in the mixer and that it is working well for you. We should consult you for book titles. That’s always tough for us, and your title for a kitchen/recipe book sounds great. We will certainly keep the idea and the title in mind!

  12. What a great series idea! I’ll enjoy it. And that casserole looks soooo good. We eat leftovers for Lucy a lot.

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