Smart & Scrappy Casseroles: 5 Casseroles That Use Up Leftovers

Smart & Scrappy Casseroles: 5 Casseroles That Use Up Leftovers

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Tami Weiser
Oct 23, 2016
(Image credit: Christine Han)

Other than stew, not many foods are intentionally made to be eaten the next day. Nobody ever said "yesterday's is best!" But there is no reason to just reheat yesterday's food and hope it's still "kind of okay enough." When you've got some of yesterday's food, you have the key to today's creative and completely new casserole. Here are five recipes to prove it.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Leftover and Casseroles Are a Classic Match

Leftovers and casseroles are a classic match, for good reason. Yesterday's foods can easily dry out a bit, and a casserole is great way to solve that problem with a few key ingredients. Yesterday's mashed potatoes are no longer a gluey side. Today they are softened with cream and used as the base for a loaded baked potato casserole or the topping for a fragrant, Turkish-style shepherd's pie.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Dry Leftovers Are a Sponge for New Flavors

A casserole, as a form and as a strategy, can do far more. It's a way to revive food. How? It takes advantage of the dryness that happens naturally, and it's a wonderful platform to explore flavors from different cuisines. Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, pasta, bread — they all love liquids and fats. Leftover pasta from Monday's red sauce dinner get transformed in a Greek pasta bake wrapped up in a creamy bechamel. Stale bread and an extra batch of caramelized onions turns into a vegetarian French onion soup, and a few leftover pieces of cornbread are the crispy topping to a pumpkin and pork casserole with strong Tex-Mex flavors.

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