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Upcycling Dinner for Earth Week

With Earth Day right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to talk about how we upcycle meals! :) One doesn’t normally talk about upcycling meals, do they? Just go with me here.

One of the easiest ways that you can make dinner last is to repurpose any leftovers for future meals. And I know, some of you are thinking, “We hate leftovers in this house.” But leftovers don’t have to be boring or the same, they can be upcycled into another great meal that your family won’t even know is leftovers! How you might ask? Well, let me show you. Here are a couple of meal plans starting with a basic meal and upcycling it into a tasty treat the rest of the week.


Summer Chicken Salad

Day 1: Roasted Chicken  - Use this slow cooker method to make it easy on yourself. Dinner can be ready when you get home from work. When you are finished with your dinner, be sure to debone the chicken and save the chicken pieces separate from the bones. Save the bones and broth left in the slow cooker to make your Chicken Noodle Soup on Day 3. Likewise, many of these meals you can make ahead and refrigerate and eat. Therefore, you could get your cooking for the whole week done this first day!

Day 2: Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells - Use a portion of the chicken that you saved from Day 1 for this easy to assemble recipe.

Day 3: Chicken Noodle Soup - Follow the directions using the bones you saved from Day 1.

Day 4: Summer Chicken Salad - Use a portion of the chicken that you saved from Day 1 for this easy to assemble recipe.

Day 5: Chicken Broccoli Roll Ups - Use the remaining portion of the chicken that you saved from Day 1 for this easy to assemble recipe.


And who says upcycling is just for chicken? You can most certainly make a roast last the whole week too! Try this menu for example.

Day 1: Pot RoastYou want to start with a big cut of meat or even two roasts when planning this week of meals. You will need in the neighborhood of 1 pound of meat for every 1 serving you plan to feed during the week. When you are finished with dinner, save the portion of cooked, uneaten meat. Reserve the liquid broth that was created as well and reuse it in the Vegetable Soup recipe on Day 4.

Day 2: Tangy Beef Stroganoff – This recipes is BEST when you use already slow roasted beef.

Day 3: BBQ Beef Sandwiches - Simply shred some of the original beef, add some bbq sauce and put on buns to serve a great sandwich for dinner.

Day 4: Beef Vegetable Soup – You don’t need much beef for this to go a LONG way.

Day 5: Beef Taquitos - A dinner your kids will be begging you for more of! My kids love dinner rolled up. Serve these with some rice or vegetable.

Tricia Callahan (aka Once A Month Mom)
Avatar of Tricia Callahan

  1. These are great menus! I will definitely have to try some of the recipes and a great idea for making planning a weekly menu easy and quick. The Tangy Beef Stroganoff and the Chicken Broccoli Roll Ups sounds super yummy! Thanks, Tricia!

  2. I love this idea! Such a time saver and leftovers won’t go to waste.