Fridge Rehab: 7 Not-Yet-Nasty Leftovers You Can Definitely Save

You wouldn't flush your hard-earned money down the drain, so why let last night's leftovers go to waste? Our collection of ideas and recipes will help you creatively -- and deliciously -- reinvent your food.

Make a Vinaigrette from Mustard

When there's just a tiny bit of mustard left in the jar, don't throw it out. Instead, toss in a few ingredients, and shake a tangy Dijon vinaigrette right in the container. A crushed garlic clove, some chopped fresh herbs -- tarragon, for instance -- and minced shallot will add the right flavor. Pour in balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper, then close the lid and shake. Add olive oil (3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar); shake again to emulsify the dressing, and then drizzle over your favorite salad. With a tightly sealed lid, the dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Related: All of the Turkey Recipes You'll Ever Need

Make a Trifle from Cake Trimmings

Next time you bake a cake, don't toss the trimmings into the trash without a second thought. Instead, keep them to use as building blocks for another dessert. We saved chocolate cake scraps and layered them with whipped cream and fresh raspberries for a quick and easy trifle. Freeze cake morsels in an airtight container for up to one month.




Make Fried Rice from Leftover Rice

Use up leftover rice, plus whatever vegetables and protein you have on hand, in a delicious one-dish meal.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Coarse salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water
4 scallions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 ounces ham, thinly sliced and cut into strips
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
4 cups cooked rice

1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-low heat; swirl to coat pan. In a small bowl, lightly beat together eggs, 2 teaspoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour into pan; cook, pulling in egg from edge of pan, until set, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate; when cool enough to handle, cut into strips.

2. In pan, heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ham and rice; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until very hot, about 5 minutes.

3. Add vinegar, peas, and eggs; cook until very hot, about 2 minutes.

Related: 21 New Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas to Try This Year

Make Quesadillas with Leftover Meat

Quesadillas are a delicious way to use leftover cooked meat. Keep tortillas, cheese, and jarred salsa on hand. Sandwich the ingredients between the tortillas, and cook in a skillet with a bit of oil for a few minutes per side.





Make a Cuban Panini with Leftover Ham

The Cuban sandwich -- the classic combination of roast pork, ham, and cheese -- was once the province of humble Cuban coffee shops. Now high-end chefs are getting into the act. Create your own homemade version with leftover ham.





Make Stock from Turkey Bones

Turn leftover chicken or turkey bones into a flavorful stock to use in future meals.

5 pounds leftover turkey bones (with some meat still attached), broken into large sections if necessary
1 pound yellow onions, skins on, halved or quartered depending on size
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 4-inch lengths
1/2 pound celery stalks, cut into 4-inch lengths
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
8 sprigs parsley

1. In a 3-gallon stockpot, combine all ingredients and fill with enough cold water to cover ingredients by 3 inches when submerged (about 6 quarts).

2. Bring to a rapid simmer over high (do not boil); reduce heat until bubbles barely break the surface. Simmer until flavorful, about 2 hours, skimming stock with a ladle every 30 minutes.

3. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard vegetables. Remove meat from bones and save for another use; discard bones. Let stock cool completely before refrigerating.

Make Sauce from Leftover Wine

Don't pour leftover wine from your dinner party down the drain! Instead, pour the remainder into a resealable bag and freeze it. Next time you need to deglaze a pan after frying or sauteeing meat, just add a 1/2 cup of your reserved wine and a bit of butter.

More from Martha Stewart:
Quick, One-Pot Meal Ideas To Feed the Whole Family
20 Classic Comfort Food Recipes from Martha Stewart
36 Dinners You Can Make in Just 15 Minutes!
25 Make-Ahead Recipes For a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Day

Waste not, want not! Buying whole chickens is another great way to save some cash.