Turn Yesterday’s Leftovers into Tomorrow’s Dinner

Every weekend, I go through my fridge to clean and tidy up for all the new fruits and veggies I bring home from the open market every Saturday. At the end of the week, there are always leftover fruits and veggies that have seen happier days. When I saw how much food was left, I had to find a way to save them. It’s rare that I happen to have so many things left over, but last week we were out for dinner a lot. It kills me to throw out any food so I brainstormed new ways to use my leftovers!

In my pantry, I usually keep most of the following: salt, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, lemons, stock (chicken or vegetable), taco shells, jarred salsa, nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc), nut butter (almond or peanut), semolina pasta, cornstarch, panko breadcrumbs, flour (unbleached and gluten-free), syrups (pure maple and agave), honey, canned crushed roma tomatoes, canned beans (cannellini, black, garbanzo, refried), milk (almond, coconut, whole), yogurt, butter, eggs, cheese (sharp cheddar, Monterey jack, parmesan) and frozen fruit (blueberries, mango, strawberries, peaches, cherries, etc).

From my weeks leftovers and my stocked pantry, I was able to make six meals and a dessert that feeds four to six. I made dishes that will give me at least two more days of yummy meals. I also made soups and frozen them to eat later. Here’s what I was able to pull together:

Salmon TacosSalmonTacos1

Chicken Salad (recipe below)


Four Cheese Mac & Cheese


Cannellini Soup


Spaghetti Squash


Asian Infused Bone Broth


Baked Apple


I asked Facebook followers to vote and let me know which one of the recipes they would like me to show you. And judging from the “LIKES” chicken salad won!

I made the chicken salad from a leftover roasted chicken I bought from the market along with a chicken stock I made with the bones. This chicken salad with avocado makes a perfect light lunch with a cup of soup on the side. It is packed with protein, vitamin K, iron, lycopene, and vitamin C. Add the avocado for healthy fats, which you should incorporate into your diet often.

Chicken Salad
Serves 4


  • 2 cups chicken breast, diced medium-small
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 small green apple, peeled and chopped into small bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chives chopped small
  • 2 teaspoons mint chopped fine
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • your favorite pickles, finely chopped
  • 2 small ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 4 thick cut potato chips
  • 3 cups favorite greens, such as arugula, mache or spinach
  • Micro greens or any garnish you like


  • Peel, pit and chop the avocado into small, bite size pieces
  • Add two tablespoons of the lemon juice over them, set aside
  • In a glass bowl add chicken breast, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apples, lemon juice, kosher salt, chives, mint, jalapeño and mix well. Set aside.


  • Divide the greens among 4 plates.
  • Take a 4″ ring mold and place on a plate. Add a layer of the avocado on the bottom of the mold ¼ of the way up and gently press down.
  • Add the chicken salad to the top of the mold and gently press firmly with a back of a spoon.
  • Use the spoon to gently press down on the chicken as you gently lift the mold.
  • You are now ready to decorate your garnish your plate!
  • Serve with your favorite crackers, chips or bread.

Watch Maria and my Facebook Live where I show here how to make the chicken salad:


LIVE with Cristina Ferrare! She’s showing me how to use my leftovers and avoid waste! TUNE IN! (Tap video for sound)

Posted by Maria Shriver on Tuesday, February 28, 2017


About the Author

author image

Cristina Ferrare is a New York Times bestselling author. Her fifth and most recent cookbook, Big Bowl of Love was released on Mother’s Day 2011 and she is hard at work on her next series of cookbooks! The success of her books attests to her expertise in the areas of women’s health, wellbeing, culinary arts, stylistic design, as well as her great zest for life and her humor.Cristina served as co-host of “Home & Family along with Emmy Award winner journalist Mark Steines for the Hallmark Channel from 2012 through 2016 and the show received multiple Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lifestyle Program during that time.Cristina is married to entertainment executive Tony Thomopoulos. They have a blended family of seven children and four grandchildren.

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