Make Your Dishes Do Double Duty for Better Leftovers

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One of the My Nourish Mentor crew mentioned during a session on meal planning recently that she loved the tips for getting creative with leftovers … especially now that summer’s here. I agree. Whether it’s the heat or just wanting to squeeze every little drop out of these long days, I’m less motivated to start meals from scratch every night of the week. So I look for ways to make the dishes I do cook do double duty.

double-duty-summer-leftoversI mentioned three ideas for getting creative with leftovers at Thanksgiving. Here are three more geared towards summertime:

  • Plan ahead and make extra. While the piece on Thanksgiving leftovers is about using up what you already have, in summertime you have to be a bit more deliberate. Especially if you’re grilling, double the amount so you’ll have leftovers to work with. Alberto’s Marinated Grilled Asparagus, for instance, makes great picnic fare the next day.
  • Think cool. Odds are when you do cook,  you’ll eat your dinner hot off the grill (or out of the sauté pan). But flip the coin, too, and think of how the leftovers would shine when chilled. Like tossing these Spicy Sweet Shrimp in a fresh Glass Noodle Salad the next day.
  • Season boldly. It’s one thing to have leftover steak (yawn). Entirely another to have a Spice Rubbed Skirt Steak to star in South of the Border Steak Salad with Grilled Peppers and Corn Salsa. Boldly flavored foods bring personality to reimagined leftovers later in the week, keeping your meals from being just ho-hum.

What are your favorite “take two” ideas?

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Glass Noodle Salad with Spicy Sweet Shrimp

Holy smokes, this Asian noodle salad is yummy! And ridiculously easy to pull together, too, especially if you have extra Spicy Sweet Shrimp on hand–or substitute other leftovers, like Mahogany Grilled Chicken. Packed with flavor yet light and refreshing, this noodle salad is a go-to, one-dish healthy dinner.

Glass Noodle Salad with Spicy Sweet Shrimp


Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Glass Noodle Salad with Spicy Sweet Shrimp


  1. Dressing:
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup boiling water
  4. 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  5. 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  6. 2 teaspoons chile paste, like sambal olek
  7. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pounded to a paste in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt
  8. Salad:
  9. 6 ounces cellophane noodles, aka bean thread noodles
  10. 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  11. 1/4 cup julienned carrot
  12. 1/4 cup julienned red bell pepper
  13. 1/2 cup thinly sliced, peeled, seeded cucumber
  14. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
  15. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  16. 2 cups mixed lettuce
  17. 1 recipe Spicy Sweet Shrimp
  18. 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts


To make the dressing, dissolve the sugar in the boiling water in a small bowl, then stir in lime juice, fish sauce, chile paste and garlic. Cool in refrigerator.

To make the salad, pour boiling water over the cellophane noodles in a large bowl and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain and cut into manageable lengths with kitchen shears.

In that same large bowl, mix together the noodles through lettuce. Toss well with the dressing. Top with shrimp and peanuts.