Best Leftover Recipes 

 Originally Written: August 11, 2010

By  Hanna Trafford

It is not always easy to figure out what to do with leftovers. Instead of throwing that leftover baked potato into the compost bin, try using it to make delicious soup or use leftover sour cream and fresh chives to add to your mashed potatoes. You can make a surprise soup from leftover macaroni and cheese and when you find yourself with leftover mashed potatoes – make easy crispy potato patties. You can get creative with leftover chicken so many different ways then just making chicken salad for your sandwiches – here are some on my favorite recipes:

Crispy Potato Patties:


  • 2 cups of mashed potatoes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • 1/8 tsp. of white pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil


  • Mix together mashed potatoes, beaten egg and onion in a medium bowl.
  • Add salt and pepper and stir.
  • Over medium heat, heat olive oil in a medium size nonstick frying pan.
  • Drop about 1/4 cup of the potato mixture into the frying pan, patting it into 4 inch circles that are 1/2″ thick.
  • Cook until bottom is browned and crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Carefully turn the patty over and cook the second side until brown and crisp, 3-4 minutes.

Leftover Chicken Casserole

You can cook this delicious casserole entirely in your microwave oven. It is also easy to freeze and when you do that, you will have your next dinner ready in minutes.


  • 8 oz. of medium egg noodles
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1-1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 16 oz. pkg. of frozen broccoli, cauliflower and red peppers, thawed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of leftover cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of pepper
  • 1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese


  • In 3 quart microwave safe casserole dish, mix noodles, water and chicken broth.
  • Cover with lid and microwave on high for 6 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
  • Add vegetables, onion, chicken and seasonings.
  • Cover and microwave on high for 7-9 minutes, stirring once during cooking, until vegetables are hot and crisp tender and noodles are tender.
  • Stir in half of cheese and mix well.
  • Sprinkle casserole with remaining cheese.
  • Cook, uncovered, on high for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted.

To freeze casserole, do not thaw vegetables. Cook noodles as directed above and then cool in refrigerator until cold. Add vegetables, onion, chicken, seasonings, and half of cheese; sprinkle with remaining cheese, wrap well, label, and freeze up to 3 months. To thaw and reheat, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator. Microwave on medium for 3-5 minutes, stirring once. Then microwave on high for 1-3 minutes until noodles and vegetables are tender and casserole is thoroughly heated.

Potato Soup from Leftover Potato


  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1-1/2 cups of milk
  • leftover baked potatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • Salt
  • Pepper


1. Make a roux with the butter and flour.

2. Add in the milk, potato pieces and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Bring to a brief boil on medium heat and serve.

Optional: If you have cheddar cheese, grate some up and add it after you have removed the soup from the heat. You can also add in green onions, bacon bits, leftover carrots – use your imagination.

Surprise Soup from Mac and Cheese:

This recipe uses leftover Macaroni and cheese – but if you don’t have that, you can substitute boxed macaroni and cheese and use vegetable leftovers or chopped chicken meat leftovers to create your own surprise soup.


  • 1 can of tomato juice
  • Leftover macaroni  and cheese or one box
  • Vegetable leftovers – or add ones of your choice
  • Parsley, garlic and salt to taste


  • Heat all, but macaroni and cheese until boiling.
  • Stir in the macaroni and cheese, and reduce heat.
  • When the soup is hot, it’s ready to serve.

Sour Cream and Chives Mashed Potatoes:

Adding your leftover sour cream to your mashed potatoes will surprise you with a smooth, creamy taste


  • 1 pound of potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 of tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of minced fresh chives


  • Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1-inch.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.
  • Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
  • Return hot potatoes to the pan and heat to steam off any excess water, if necessary.
  • Add butter, heavy cream, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
  • Mash until fluffy and well-combined.
  • Add some of the reserved cooking liquid if you need to thin them a bit.
  • Stir in chives

Hope you have enjoyed these tips and recipes – please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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