Fabulously Frugal: ‘Cook once, eat twice’ – use those leftovers!

There is no such thing as useless leftovers, as columnist Sarah Cronk explains in this edition of ‘Fabulously Frugal.’ Photos by Sarah Cronk/Kingstonist.

Frugalists, we’re all likely familiar with the ‘cook once, eat twice’ concept. Using an extra serving of last night’s supper for another dinner is a no-brainer. Often, that chili or spaghetti is even richer in flavour the next day!

But what if we don’t have quite enough for a serving? And what the heck do we do with all those bits and pieces from dinner last night to make a meal that’s new and everyone will eat?

Well, I’m convinced that the original Spanish tapas were leftovers re-created. And why throw that good food away when a new delicious snacky thing can be created?

Friends, I have some ideas to share with you.

My BFF and I are going on a short road trip this weekend. It’ll take us over the lunch hour and with fast food so expensive (as well as nutritionally questionable and high in calories), we decided a picnic lunch would be healthier for us.

I dug around in the cupboards, the freezer, and fridge and this is what I had I figured I should use up:

  • Four leftover chicken wings and some green sauce from a new recipe.
  • A head of red leaf lettuce while it was still crispy – I know – some kind of miracle!
  • Four frozen shrimp – just four. No idea how that happened.
  • Half an English cucumber
  • An opened package of herbed goat cheese
  • Five pieces of pineapple SOMEONE picked off their perfectly good pizza we had for dinner! (It was NOT the cat, no matter what anyone tries to tell you)

These scraps, with some pantry scrounging and a few other things became a gourmet lunch for our picnic of:

Cucumbers with herbed goat cheese and smoked salmon:

The smoked salmon was on sale and I had it in the freezer, but you could also use canned salmon, cream cheese, and whatever you have on hand. Even boiled eggs sliced on a cucumber with a dab of mayo would make a nice snack or part of a lunch.

Cucumber soft cheese snack. Photo by Sarah Cronk/Kingstonist.

Mini shrimp salads:

I had these cute ramekins and filled them with re-hydrated rice noodles, two shrimp each, half a carrot finely grated, the ends of the cucumber from above, sliced super thin, and a dressing of lime juice, seasoned rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and garlic and ginger poured over the top. I added a couple of shelled peanuts (those squirrels are giving me the side eye but they HAVE BEEN FED). These extra veg filled out the salad nicely. Of course, if you’re short on time, you could just chop these ingredients up and toss them in a bowl.

Mini shrimp salad. Photo by Sarah Cronk/Kingstonist.

Rice paper wraps with chicken and green sauce:

I was gifted a nice magazine on air frying and tried a new recipe for chicken wings. The wings were delicious – but what the heck do I do with just four left over wings that were in the fridge?

I took the meat off the bones and chopped it, skin and all. These were marinated wings with a lot of flavour in the skin, so why waste it? Added the pineapple that someone picked off their pizza and gathered some chives from my garden. I really tried to make these into lettuce pouches.

Lettuce wraps are a delicious way to use up leftover foods, but not so easy to eat on-the-go — unless you have a pack of rice paper! Photo by Sarah Cronk/Kingstonist.

They would have been great if eaten at home, but I needed to pack them. Rice paper to the rescue! You can get a package of this at any Asian food store. It’s so cheap, too! Simply rinse under warm water until it’s almost pliable. Place on your cutting board and fill them and roll them up. Roll over your filling, tuck the end in and finish the roll. This is how I rescued my not-so-cohesive lettuce pouches. I wrapped each rice paper wrap in parchment paper and put two in a freezer bag for each person. I put some of the leftover sauce in a separate freezer bag to squeeze over them at lunchtime. You can do a variation on this with leftover with any meat. You can add pasta, rice, shredded carrots, etc. The scraps from a rotisserie chicken would work and even simple mayo or BBQ sauce works for a dip.

Rice paper wraps with chicken. Photo by Sarah Cronk/Kingstonist.

Weekly flyer deals:

Some of the best deals this week are at Giant Tiger. They also price match any big box store. Metro wins for their deals on ribs and chicken, though. Don’t be swayed by the frozen box of beef burgers, they’re mostly fillers and not 100 per cent beef. Food Basics has you covered for 100 per cent beef — fresh burgers at $1 each!

Take a look:

Giant Tiger:

  • Wieners, Olymel brand: $2.47 per package
  • Coffee, Maxwell House brand, instant: $2.88/150 g
  • Kraft Dinner: $9.97/case of 12 (this is a stock up price)
  • Ketchup and mayo, Heinz Ketchup or Miracle Whip: $4.97/container
  • Frozen French fries, Cavendish brand Flavour Crisp Fries: $2.88/bag
  • Romaine hearts: $2.88/3 pack
  • Baby spinach: $1.97/container
  • Chicken strips, Jane’s brand, frozen: $7.97/box
  • Milk, Lactancia brand, ‘Pure Filter’ variety: $5.88/4L

No Frills:

  • Cheese slices, Black Diamond brand, cheddar: $2.49/410 g
  • Frozen entrees, PC or Swanson, several varieties: $6.88 each
  • Water melons – these are HUGE: $2.99 each
  • Itala Pasta: $1.25/750 grams

Food Basics:

  • Fresh ground beef burgers: $1 each in a package of 4
  • Pork, fresh bone-in chops, in-store butcher: $1.99/lb
  • Sausages, Johnsonville brand, assorted varieties: $4.99 package
  • Hot dog and hamburger buns, Selection brand: $1.77/package of eight
  • Strawberries: $1.67/package


  • Pork back ribs,fresh, in-store butcher: $2.99/lb
  • Chicken, drumsticks or thighs, fresh, in-store butcher: $2.49/lb
  • Seafood: Salmon, fresh Atlantic or rock lobster Tails: $2.99 per portion
  • Cucumbers: $0.77 each

Happy Frugality!

Kingston resident Sarah Cronk offers tips on money-saving strategies and the best deals to be found in local grocery stores in her bi-weekly Kingstonist column, Fabulously Frugal. Have any questions for Sarah or things you’d like her to investigate in terms of cost savings? Let us know! Email Kingstonist Editor-in-Chief Tori Stafford at [email protected].

One thought on “Fabulously Frugal: ‘Cook once, eat twice’ – use those leftovers!

  • I just find your articles so great. As a senior couple at times it’s difficult to buy stuff that comes in sizes where I won’t have so much left over. My one and only freezer is in the bottom of the frig and not big. I find you scrounging around tips so helpful. Thanks a bunch. Kindest regards, Bernice

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