Nifty thrifty: three MORE recipes that use up leftovers

After the success of my last Nifty thrifty post, I decided to compile some more recipes I like that use up leftovers.  This time, how to use up overripe bananas, leftover Chinese takeout rice (or any rice, of course), and leftover bread ends.

 Leftover ingredient #1: Overripe bananas


Banana bread

In our house, overripe bananas are always an occasion for making banana bread.  Usually I only have one or two ripe bananas, so I throw them in the freezer until I get three.

The recipe makes one average-sized loaf.

You will need:

little bit of butter (or cooking spray)
one teaspoon of flour (doesn’t matter what kind)
3 ripe bananas
Grated rind and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar or 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 tsp molasses
3 tablespoons of buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 cups unbleached AP flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or some other low-protein combination of flours
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
fresh nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped dates (or figs)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter and flour your pan and set aside.

2. Put your three ripe bananas, lemon rind, lemon juice, oil, brown sugar, and buttermilk in the food processor.  Buzz to make a smooth puree.

3. At this point I should probably back up, for those who thought, “brown sugar? I thought you said I could use white sugar and molasses.”  And I did.  Here’s why.

You can take a fork to white sugar and molasses to make your own brown sugar.  It’s super easy and it’s actually how they make commercial brown sugar too!

4. Ok, once you have set aside your banana puree, you can move on to the dry ingredients.  Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl.

5.  Take a tablespoon of flour and mix it with the chopped figs until they are fully coated with the flour.

6. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture along with the figs and stir to combine but not too much!  Pour the batter into your pan and smooth out the top.
7.  At this point I was set to put the pan in the oven when I realized I hadn’t added the figs.  Oops!  I dumped the figs on top and tried to squish them in the best I could.

8.  Put in the oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes.  Take it out and let it rest for ten minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack.

Looks pretty good!  Here it is once it cooled and I could cut it into slices.


Leftover ingredient #2: Leftover rice


Torta di riso salata


For the basic recipe, you will need:

3 cups cooked rice

1 cup shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Monterrey jack

4 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

butter for greasing pie pan

salt and pepper to taste

You can also mix it up with:

1 cup mix of frozen, cooked or raw vegetables (e.g. frozen spinach, frozen mixed vegetables, cooked asparagus, raw baby greens) or cooked meat such as hamburger or sausage

  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Grease one glass pie pan.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Mix vegetables, rice, cheese, pepper and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Pour egg and milk mixture into the vegetable and rice mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Pour the whole thing into your pie pan, then bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.


Leftover ingredient #3: Bread ends and crusts

DSC02892I’m not even going to link to a recipe because this is so easy.  Collect bread ends in a gallon-size freezer bag and store in the freezer until you fill the bag.  Then take them out, thaw them, and grind them up in a food processor to make bread crumbs.  Store the bread crumbs in the freezer until you want to use them.


This is what I did with my accidental cumin bread.  It also works great for stale bread.  You can use these bread crumbs for meatloaf, meatballs, toppings for a casserole, binder for crab cakes, coating for fried chicken, the possibilities are endless.


So there you have it.  Three more recipes to help you use up leftovers.  Do you have any other leftovers you don’t know how to use up?  Let me know in the comments!

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