Blame the microwave for leftovers’ lame reputation. Zapping whatever’s in the fridge sometimes feels a little like giving up — crisp things go limp, meats turn to rubber, and vegetables get all the taste electrified out of them. But what if you thought of leftovers not as old food but as new dishes almost done? Here are six of our favorite ways to transform chicken, steak, pork, and even lowly beans into easy, delicious, and totally new meals. The recipes rely on simple ingredients, most of which you probably have in your kitchen, and they’re designed to be mixed and matched with different kinds of leftovers: Don’t be afraid to whip up a hearty pasta with leftover beans, for instance, or to use cold fried chicken in a spicy salad. They’re all so tasty you might find yourself roasting an extra chicken next time, to use later in the week.
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