Left Over, Made Better: 5 Tasty Ways to Clean Out the Fridge

Not sure what to do with those refrigerator stragglers? We developed 5 recipes that make use of common residual ingredients left over in your kitchen. Adjust the quantity of the ingredients depending on what you have, the flavors you like, and the number you're serving. Cooked leftovers stay fresh for up to seven days, according to Angela Fraser, associate professor at Clemson University, and can taste even better the second time around. To refresh last night's pasta, for example, try adding a new component to the dish -- like raw tomatoes or a squeeze of lemon, suggests chef Maria Hines, owner of Tilth restaurant in Seattle.

Related: 27 Easy Party Food Ideas You Can Make in a Pinch

Chicken Tacos

Leftovers used: cooked chicken, roasted vegetables, and greens (raw or cooked).

1. Reheat shredded cooked chicken or roasted vegetables in a skillet with some oil, sliced chile peppers, and a splash of chicken broth or water. Season with salt and pepper. Saute some sliced onions. Add a handful of shredded greens and a bit of cilantro, and wilt. Heat tortillas and fill with chicken or roasted vegetables and greens. Crumble some cheese over the top. Serve with diced onion, chopped cilantro, and lime.

Chicken Salad

Leftovers used: cooked chicken, ginger, and assorted vegetables.

1. Toss together shredded cooked chicken and very thinly sliced vegetables (such as radishes, carrots, celery, endive, or cucumber); dress with minced ginger, lime juice, salt, pepper, and oil.

Related: These Pretty (and Delicious!) Holiday Cookie Recipes Are Perfect for Gifting

Crostini with Herb Oil

Leftovers used: bread and herbs.

Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, if desired

1. Mix together chopped fresh herbs and oil to cover. Season with salt and pepper. Brush over slices of day-old bread and bake until golden brown. Herb oil is also great on grilled or roasted vegetables and meats. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and melt.

Greens and Herb Omelet

Leftovers used: greens (raw or cooked) and herbs.

Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Chopped tender herbs (cilantro, parsley, tarragon, chives)

1. Saute onion with salt and pepper in a nonstick skillet with a little olive oil. Stir in a few handfuls of greens and wilt. Remove from pan. Whisk a couple of eggs and an egg white. Stir in chopped tender herbs (cilantro, parsley, tarragon, chives). Heat a little more oil and add eggs to the pan. Cook, stirring to form curds, until just set. Fill one side with greens and sprinkle with cheese, then fold over other side and slide out of pan.

Mixed Vegetable Soup

Leftovers used: assorted vegetables, Parmesan cheese rind, herbs.

Sliced onion
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes
2 cups cubed hard vegetables (winter squash, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes)
Vegetable stock
Parmesan rind
Small sprig of rosemary or thyme
Salt and pepper
1 cup diced green vegetables (zucchini, green beans, broccoli)
Handful of shredded greens

1. Saute a sliced onion in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes. Add 2 cups cubed hard vegetables (winter squash, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes). Add stock to cover by half an inch, and Parmesan rind. Add a small sprig of rosemary or thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Stir in 1 cup diced green vegetables (zucchini, green beans, broccoli) and a big handful of shredded greens.

4. Simmer until tender.

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!
42 Slow-Cooker Recipes Worth the Wait

This is the kind of leftover you'll want to have lying around.