Making your budget stretch can be difficult. When you have a family, it’s even harder. But, by getting creative and using some savvy tips, we can keep our budgets in check AND feed our families great meals – with leftovers! Here are some great ideas to stretch your budget for the week during this expensive time of year!
Whether you are cooking for 1 or 2, or for a family of 7, any of these ideas will work for you. This will save you time, money AND hassle of figuring out what’s for dinner! By transforming your leftovers from one meal, you will have to cook less, plan less and spend less, because you’ll be making them into brand new meals!
Keep in mind that in some of these recipes, you’ll simply ignore the “cook” part of the meat, and just re-heat the leftover you have from the night or afternoon before.
You may also like our Meal Planning Tips for Busy Moms + FREE Meal Planning Printable!
Rotisserie Chicken – Chicken Pot Pie – Chicken Salad
Grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store when it’s on sale and you’re in a bind for a quick dinner is a nice, easy solution. When your family can’t finish the entire chicken, don’t waste it! Use the bones and skin to make chicken stock (great for crock pot cooking!) by throwing them in a pot of water with spices, seasonings and any desired vegetables. Boil, then simmer and you have a great stock! Take the leftover meat from the chicken to create 2 more meal options, too.
Meal 1: Rotisserie Chicken w/ Vegetables
Meal 2: Chicken Pot Pies – take all of your leftover chicken to make chicken pot pies with this recipe!
Meal 3: Chicken Salad Sandwiches – Stretch your budget further by using that leftover chicken for lunch! Make chicken salad by shredding up leftover chicken, and mixing it with mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, chopped celery and onions! The chicken pot pie recipe works great as a chicken salad, when you replace the liquid with mayonnaise.
Steak Dinner – Breakfast Hash – Stir Fry
Steak for dinner? If you have leftovers from the kids, or can prepare a little more, you can create a lovely breakfast in the morning AND a fun dinner a couple of days later!Meal 1: Steak & Potatoes
Meal 2: Breakfast Hash – Cut up pieces of the steak, and fry up some leftover potatoes. Throw them in with eggs, cheese, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes or whatever else you want for a morning meal that’s sure to get you going! Even better, if you served your steak the night before with mushroom and onions, this will be awesome in the hash, too!
Meal 3: Host a fun Asian night for your family with a new stir fry recipe! Slice up that leftover steak into strips, add toss it with some frozen vegetables, garlic, orange juice, ginger and whatever else can give it that Asian kick!
Spaghetti (Ground Beef/Turkey):
Spaghetti Dinner – Stuffed Bell Peppers – Taco Salad
Spaghetti is a quick fix kind of dinner, but if you make a bit extra (sauce and meat), you can turn that into 1 or 2 more meals for the week! Marinara sauce is so practical in a lot of different recipes. In fact, the only different between marinara and a spicier taco sauce is the spices. Add cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and vinegar to marinara and you have transformed your marinara!Meal 1: Spaghetti w/ Meat or MeatballsMeal 2: Stuffed Bell Peppers – take your spaghetti sauce with mixed in meat, add rice, corn, chopped peppers, olives, cheese and whatever else you want to put in your peppers for a quick dinner! Top with cheese, bacon, sour cream or fresh herbs for a nice addition.
Meal 3: Taco Salad – spaghetti sauce & meat are a great start to the makings of Taco Salad! Just add some spices or taco seasoning packets to give it some flare, then toss it around with tomato, avocado, lettuce, tortilla chips, and salsa for a great lunch or dinner in a pinch!
* Bacon Cheeseburger Soup (don’t sauce all of your meat for this leftover idea)
Egg Rolls – Pulled Pork w/ Root Beer Sauce Sandwich
Who doesn’t love a great pork roast!? If you happen to have leftovers, or are cooking for just 1 or 2, this is a great meat to make leftover dishes with pizzazz!
Meal 1: Pork Roast w/ Veggies
Meal 2: Egg Rolls – shred up your leftover pork and make egg rolls with this recipe!
* Fully Loaded Pasta Shells (use pork instead of other ingredients)
* Pork Stir Fry – Stir fry w/ diced green bell peppers, chunks of pinapple and quartered onion and tomatoes and then dress w/ a tomato ketchup/soy/splash of pineapple juice mixture. Add a bit of cornflour to thicken and serve with rice.
Salmon Cake Breakfast – Salmon Tacos
What’s for dinner? Fish! You can interchange most fish for these salmon dishes, and enjoy wonderful, new ways of eating salmon for dinner, breakfast AND lunch!
Meal 1: Salmon
Meal 2: Salmon Cakes Breakfast – create salmon cakes, then serve with eggs and toast for breakfast in the morning! YUM!
Meal 3: Salmon Tacos – fish tacos are always a hit! Cube and cook the leftover salmon, mixing with spices like cumin and chili powder. Throw in some cilantro, then put it all together on a soft taco shell. Dress it up with veggies of your choice, sour cream, corn, avocado, lemon, salsa, onions and more!