You Bought Ingredients and Used Some . . . Now What?

Nutrition Advice from Your Pawling Hannaford Dietitian

I’m always encouraging people to try new recipes at home and expand their cooking skills. I realize that this sometimes results in buying ingredients that you only need some of. So, what can you do with the remaining ingredients you needed for that one recipe? Find creative ways to use them in others!

Tomato Paste

Most recipes call for a bit of tomato paste, leaving you with half a can left to store in your refrigerator (most likely until your next fridge clean out). However, versatile, richly flavored tomato paste can be used in a variety of dishes. Add it to ground turkey or meat when making dishes with tomato sauce to create a deeper flavor or use it to develop unique simmer sauces. I add leftover tomato paste to light coconut milk and equal parts curry powder and garam masala to create a simmer sauce for chicken or cubed tofu. (I highly recommend it!)


It often seems that we must buy a bunch of herbs to only use 1 – 2 tablespoons. Then what? In most cases the remaining herbs are left to rot in the produce drawer. If this sounds familiar, then I have a few suggestions. Begin by doing a quick search online of recipes that use that herb (all it takes is simple searching under “rosemary” or “cilantro,” and you’ll quickly find many). Or consider the ingredient and how it can enhance simple sides. For example, that rosemary can easily flavor roasted potatoes, or the cilantro is perfect for black beans, avocado and corn salad. Lastly, consider using herbs to make quick sauces and then freeze to have it on hand when you need them. I use leftover basil to make pesto and freeze the pesto into cubes with an ice tray to flavor everything from pizza to pasta whenever I like.


I recently only needed a cup of broth for a recipe but had a carton on hand. Once we opened it, we were left with three cups of slowly expiring broth in our fridge. Luckily, using up broth is easy. It can be used in place of water to cook flavorful rice or, of course, used for a quick soup, which, depending on the soup, may be a way of using other ingredients in your fridge too! If you truly have no use for leftover broth, then I suggest freezing in in an ice cube tray so that the next time you just need 8 ounces of broth, you have it.

Just a Bit of Dressing

When you’re left with just a little bit of a dressing or marinade, consider adding additional oil to make it go further. Your new blend can then be used as a different meat marinade or tossed with cooked vegetables. Creamier dressings can be used to coat chicken before breading (a little bit goes a long way).


Maybe you needed currants or another fruit for a unique dish. Or perhaps you simply bought more fruit than you needed. If it gets overripe before you have a chance to enjoy it, I suggest freezing it so that you have it on hand for smoothies, breads, oatmeal, and other foods that are made better with fruit.

Some “Go-To” Options

When I’m unsure how to use leftover ingredients in my fridge, there are a few dishes that I turn to. Salads, for example, are very versatile and a great way to use a variety of ingredients. I also often turn to adaptable foods such as quesadillas, pizza, or paninis. All these dishes are not only made more fun when unique ingredients are used, they are perfect for using up cooked leftovers, too.

As your local Hannaford Dietitian, I’m pleased to be sharing my advice and simple tips. Please visit for my in-store schedule of classes, demonstrations, and store tours, or call (845) 855-0553 for more information. You can also follow me on Twitter (@AllisonStowell) or Instagram (@allisonjstowell).


Lemon Chia Muffins (1 Guiding Star)

Top the leftover lemon yogurt from this bright “brunch ready” muffin recipe with chia seeds and nuts to sneak in some nutrition before diving into a muffin. For more recipes and information on the Guiding Stars guidance program, please visit


1 1/2 c. white whole-wheat flour

1 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1/2 c. olive oil

1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce

2/3 cup lemon Greek yogurt

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 egg

1 t. vanilla extract

2 T. chia seeds


Preheat oven to 400º degrees.

Line a muffin tin with 8 liners or silicone baking cups.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together thoroughly. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Fold in chia seeds.

Pour batter into muffin liners, dividing mix evenly. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.