By Nancy Dell'Aria

One thing I've noticed about truly thrifty cooks is that they always do the most amazing
things with leftovers. In their hands, Monday's left-over rice becomes Wednesday's rice
pudding, yesterday's meat loaf ends up in tomorrow's tacos. It's a great way to squeeze
every last penny from your food budget--without ever feeling that you've seen those
mashed potatoes somewhere before. Here, a few of my favorite double plays.

Meat Loaf

Break up leftovers, add the pieces to bottled marinara sauce and heat for an instant meat
sauce for pasta.

Crumble and stir with a little taco sauce to moisten. Spoon into taco shells and top with
taco fixings.

Crumble, mix with prepared saucepan stuffing, leftover rice (or pasta) and bottled
mushroom gravy. Stuff into partially cooked bell-pepper halves and bake at 350 F until
peppers are tender.

Beef Stew

Mix with drained canned beans and chili powder to taste. Spoon into flour tortillas, roll
and place in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake at 350 F for
20 to 25 minutes until hot.


Cut up stale sweet rolls and sticky buns and use them in place of regular bread in bread

Slice corn bread into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Dip in 1/2 cup milk beaten with 1 large egg.
Panfry and serve with maple-flavored pancake syrup.


Mash cooked carrots and stir them into freshly made mashed potatoes.

Saute small chunks of cucumber in a little butter 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cooked green
peas, heat and sprinkle with dried dillweed.

Cut up broccoli spears. Stir into beaten eggs and scramble as usual. Sprinkle with
Parmesan cheese.

Stir green peas into tuna salad.

Toss coleslaw with salad greens. You may not need any extra dressing.

Mix cooked vegetables with cottage cheese and chopped onion. Tuck into pita pockets
with a little lettuce and top with ranch dressing.

PurAe tossed salad in a blender or food processor with cold 8-vegetable or tomato juice.
Season with vinegar and hot-pepper sauce for a very quick chilled gazpacho soup.


Combine with a bag of frozen vegetables and cheese sauce from a mix in a greased
baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and bake at 350 F until hot and bubbly.

Stir into instant vanilla pudding with drained canned mandarin oranges for quick rice


Puree scalloped potatoes in a blender or food processor with milk. Heat for a delicious
potato soup.

If you do something special to give leftovers a lift, I'd love to hear from you. Write to
me, Nancy Dell'Aria, c/o Woman's Day, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Be sure
to include your address and phone number. I'm sorry that I cannot acknowledge or
return your letters, but we will pay you $50 if we publish any of your ideas.

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