4 Ways to Make Your Take-Out Leftovers Last

4 Ways to Make Your Take-Out Leftovers Last

Though everyone is social distancing, a lot of us are still supporting local restaurants as much as we can. So many places are offering delivery, curb-side pick up, and other creative offerings to keep their doors open. We checked in with 4 chefs to get some tips on how to make your leftovers last.

1. Co-owner and Executive Chef, Maneet Chauhan from Chauhan Ale & Masala House and Chaatable | Nashville, TN 

  • Use restaurant take-out or leftovers to spice up your next meal! For example, I use leftover Tikka Masala and make a delicious pizza or pasta dish out of it. Boil some pasta, throw in some veggies, add leftover tikka masala and there you go.


2. Partner and Executive Chef, Brian Riggenbach from The Mockingbird | Nashville, TN

  • As far as take-out leftovers are concerned, I am a huge proponent of repurposing something in multiple different ways and stretching out one meal as much as possible. If you have a leftover roast chicken, there are many ways to go from there! The bones can be used in a stock or soup, while the meat can be a standalone dinner, shredded for tacos, pulled and thrown into a pasta, or used in a chicken salad. Try and find an item that is relatively neutral such as a grain or rice that you can layer with flavor later to easily adjust the meal. Plain rice can go Mexican once you add in some tomato puree, cumin, onion and or cilantro, sautéed minced ginger, chili, and garlic for a more Asian twist. Really, the opportunities are endless.


3. Chef Eric Dreyer from Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge | Dallas, TX

  • When I cook at home, I rarely cook with a specific recipe in mind.  I find inspiration in looking at the ingredients in front of me and minimizing the amount of dirty dishes that the meal is going to create.  I have 3 kids who will not eat leftovers for some reason, and they all think that there are certain foods that they don’t like.  I always keep some dried pasta on hand, and this is a great way to fold in leftovers to create a new meal. The other day, I had smoked a brisket and had plenty of leftovers.  For instance, the following day it became a rich pasta dish by adding other flavors.  Also had plenty of vegetables and other ingredients that the kids “don’t like”. A soup, chili, stew, is another really good outlet for cleaning out the fridge.  Waste not want not!

4. Executive Chef Kraig Hansen & Chef de Cuisine Chelsea Kraig from Fable Lounge | Nashville, TN

  • Before placing your leftovers or pre-made meals in the freezer, the best way to wrap the dish is to do what we in the industry call ‘hotel/cater wrap.’ A common mistake at home is to use the tiny roll of plastic wrap or foil and cover the top of your dish and then press seal around the edges. Save yourself the freezer burn and disappointment. 
    • Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface
    • Place your vessel to be covered on the sheet
    • Fold the wrap over the vessel and then repeat until the vessel is completely encased (like wrapping a package)
    • This will prevent spills, freezer burn and keep the food fresh and more flavorful