Ways to use food leftovers you never thought of

The party has ended, with all of your friends having left full of cocktails and finger foods. But now you're stuck with a mound of leftovers and have no idea what to do with them. You could throw it all in the freezer, but reheating the same dish is always somewhat disappointing. You could opt for the classic options of making a sloppy sandwich or a clumsy salad, but we have a better idea. Instead, re-invent your odds-and-ends into something you'll really enjoy. Whether you've hosted a brunch or an elaborate dinner party, there are many ways to successfully use those leftovers.

Brisket

When you're revamping leftover brisket, keep in mind how the meat was seasoned and cooked the first time. This will drastically influence how you'll prepare your next feast. A perfect go-to recipe is tacos, as brisket is usually cooked slowly, giving it the capability to shred nicely. Try shredding the meat in a large bowl, tossing in barbecue sauce, and layering it in a corn tortilla. Top it with salsa, avocado, and cilantro to complete the dish.

Pancakes

Doesn't it break your heart to throw away stacks of pancakes after brunch? Freezing and reheating them never works, as it creates a rubbery mess that no one wants to eat. But, if you create a "breakfast bake," you can salvage these fluffy cakes. Tear up the pancakes and layer them in a 13x9 baking pan, and scatter berries on top. Pour on a mixture of eggs and cream, which will turn into deliciously creamy custard when baked. Dusting this with a little cinnamon and serving it with whipped cream takes this throwaway dish to the next level.

Hard-boiled eggs

Whether these were dyed for Easter or their intended purpose was deviled eggs, you don't have to half-heartedly turn these leftovers into a shabbily assembled egg salad. Instead, slice an English muffin in half and toast it lightly. Top it with slices of tomato and hard-boiled eggs, and you now have a protein-packed breakfast to take on the go.

Roast chicken

Roast chicken is truly the dish that keeps on giving — it seems that no matter what, there's always some left. Instead of having another dinner party, why not use the leftover bird to create some tasty lunches? Get out of your comfort zone and try making shawarma, which is where you stuff a pita with the chicken, and then top with yogurt sauce and vegetables. Voila – you now have a work lunch that will make you the envy of the office.

Sides of vegetables

Never mind kids — even a lot of adults find it hard to eat all their vegetables. Those large vegetable party platters are usually left full of broccoli, carrots, and different-colored peppers. So try turning this mosh posh of greens, reds, and yellows into a delectable sandwich. Split a ciabatta roll in half, spread an even layer of goat cheese, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Fill the bread with the leftover veggies, and you've got a hearty vegetarian lunch.

Mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes can be a tricky leftover to transform, mainly because the potatoes have already been broken down into a creamy, irreversible state. But where there is a will, there is a way. Mix together the extra mashed potatoes, crumbled bacon, and chives. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls, then coat with panko breadcrumbs. Fry the balls in oil and serve with sour cream.

Whipped cream

Making a decadent dessert usually calls for fresh whipped cream to complete the dish. But since cream doubles in size when it's whipped, people usually make too much, which is bad news because this creamy, white topping will deflate if you leave it in the fridge for a later date. Instead, pipe dollops of the leftover whipped cream, and top with sprinkles. Then freeze the cream and use in hot chocolate.

Watermelon

Watermelon is the perfect snack for kids: both sweet and packed with vitamins. However, children don't always finish their fruits, so if you find yourself with a large pile of sliced watermelon, try turning it into a salsa for the adults, by tossing in some cilantro, jalapeno, and red onion. Serve the salsa up with tortilla chips for an appetizer at your next party.