Makeovers from Leftovers

The holidays are over. Leftovers cram refrigerators. Why? Because Filipino hospitality necessitates that foods are abundant rather than just sufficient when entertaining visitors.

On the other hand, to avoid embarrassing the host, visitors leave much food untouched to give the impression that the food served was abundant and that they had their fill.

Playing hosts ourselves, we are left with much food untouched by our kind visitors. Resourceful, creative and innovative, the Filipino family chefs modify the presentation and taste of Noche Buena and Media Noche food preparations.

Leftovers are given a makeover to make them look fresh and appetizing. For some time after the holidays, our kitchens are turned into delicatessens where snack delicacies and main dishes switch places.

Here are some practical tips on how to make the most of leftover foods:


  • Use containers with covers. Label before arranging them in the refrigerator.

  • Use leftovers within four days of refrigeration. Dispose of stale leftovers in a tightly wrapped plastic bag so pets won’t eat them. Never cook leftovers by adding flavor enhancers to mask the undesirable taste. Take the motto, “When in doubt, throw it out”.


Here are subtle leftover makeovers:

  • Add eggs and flour to chopped or flaked meat, fish and vegetables to make omelet, patty and balls.

  • Wrap meat, fish or vegetables in lumpia wrapper and fry. This is an alternative recipe without using eggs as binder.

  • Fry leftover rice. Add flakes fish, chopped meat and vegetables and seasoning.

  • Turn leftover fried fish, tofu and gluten into fish steak.


In our word of wants, the old saying “Waste not, want not” still holds true.

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