Whether you're cooking for yourself or a family of five, it's likely that you'll end up with some leftover ingredients. Half a butternut squash, part of a can of beans, or those last few slices of bread—these odds and ends tend to languish in the kitchen until they have to be thrown away. Our solution? Quick, simple recipes that make it easy to put these ingredients to work. Here’s how to apply that philosophy to leftover bread, canned beans, coconut milk, and fresh basil.
1. How to Use Leftover Bread
Individual Mochaccino Bread PuddingsMost bread pudding recipes require lengthy steps. With our recipe, there’s no need to cut off the crusts or wait for the bread to stale. Use our winning white sandwich bread, Arnold Country Classics, or any other type of firm, savory bread for this recipe.
Breakfast Casserole for TwoOur breakfast casserole is a delicious, supremely satisfying contrast of custardy, savory interior and crisp, toasty top. Unlike most breakfast casseroles, you don’t have to worry about letting our recipe sit overnight to get maximum flavor.
Garlicky CroutonsOur Garlicky Croutons recipe lends itself to other flavor variations—including Texas Chili, BBQ, Herbed, and Cheese Parmesan—so you get five recipes for the price of one. Don’t forget to store these croutons in an airtight container for about a week if you don’t plan on using them right away.
2. How to Use Leftover Canned Beans
Canned beans are particularly convenient when cooking for two (or more!) because they’re quick-cooking and don’t require lengthy soaking times. There’s no need to toss the leftovers when you use just part of a can; here are our favorite recipes for using the rest.
Garlic and Rosemary White Bean DipSeventy-one percent of our readers say that they regularly buy canned cannellini beans. That’s because they’re convenient for quick recipes like this one. To give the mild cannellini beans some flavor, use a heavy hand with raw garlic, rosemary, and lemon juice.
Southwestern Black Bean SaladWhen making salads such as our Black Bean Salad, we prefer to use canned black beans processed with salt. Why? They taste better. If you have “natural” or “organic” brands on hand that contain little or no salt, check out our “Recipe Testing” section in this recipe to figure out how to boost the bean flavor.
Quick Beef and Bean ChiliOur recipe proves that chili doesn’t need to be simmered for hours in order to be delicious. Top your dish with a little bit (or a lot) of pickled jalapeños, shredded cheese, sour cream, and diced avocado
3. How to Use Leftover Coconut Milk
Coconut Rice PuddingOur rice pudding is consistent of the perfect flavor and texture. If you go to eat this after it’s been freshly made, we found that more milk is the answer to loosening the rice pudding.
Toasted Coconut OatmealFor this recipe, we use the same technique that we use for rice pilaf. We coat the oats with butter and toast them before hitting the water. This jumpstarts the cooking process and lends the oats a toasty, buttery flavor.
Grilled Thai Curry Marinated Skirt SteakIt’s grilling season—so it’s only fair we include a recipe that you can make on a gas grill or charcoal grill. This recipe uses three-easy steps and our go-to cooking method for weeknight meals. Make sure not to refrigerate the marinade after making it, or the steaks will be cold when served.
4. How to Use Leftover Basil
There are few things more annoying than buying a bunch of herbs, only to be left with most of the bunch after preparing the intended recipe. Besides using our method on how to prep herbs for the freezer, here are some of our favorite recipes that’ll help use up your leftover basil.