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Being more mindful of food waste and putting leftovers and ingredients to use in new ways can help stretch food further and reduce the need to make frequent trips to the grocery store.

Consider these ideas to make use of leftovers.

1. Save those vegetables

It's easy to scrape a half-portion of uneaten vegetables into the trash thinking it can't be used. Instead, combine it with other vegetables accumulated throughout the week. Many work well together and can be mixed into casseroles, omelets, soups, and stir-fry recipes.

2. Create new meals

Using leftovers does not mean eating the same exact meal a second time. Ingredients can be utilized in new ways. For example, a roast chicken can be broken down and the meat can be used for fajitas on another night. Leftover tomato sauce and meatballs from a Sunday dinner can be turned into an impromptu chili with the addition of beans and peppers.

3. Think beyond dinner

Leftovers can be collected at any time of day and used later on. Cold cuts can be chopped and used to make a stromboli with some refrigerated pizza dough.

Save Belgian waffles from breakfast and top with breaded chicken fingers for a delicious chicken-and-waffles meal for lunch or dinner. Leftover roasted potatoes and scraps of ham can be used in a breakfast hash.

Turn extra rice from dinner into arancini (rice balls) for a snack on another day. A leftover sweet potato or two can be mixed with butternut squash to make a sweet and healthy mashed side dish. Mashed potatoes can be transformed into potato croquettes or potato pancakes.

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