The cooks and food scientists at America’s Test Kitchen sometimes test a recipe as many as 70 times, and they don’t like to see all of those leftovers thrown out, says Julia Collin Davison, the executive editor of the book division and co-host of the ATK shows on PBS. She shares some of their favorite second-act strategies.

Meat. “Turn it into something else,” Davison says. “It will never taste as good on its own as it did originally.” Slice the meat very thin and reheat quickly in a stir fry, hash, or burrito. But avoid adding already cooked meat to a stew; it might become dry and mealy.

Poultry. It needs a moist reheating environment, so warm turkey or chicken in a pan with a little broth.

Vegetables. “I save little bits and add them to soups, salads, quesadillas, and pasta, too,” Davison says.

Bread. Throw stale bread into the food processor to make breadcrumbs, then store them in the freezer. You can also make croutons or use the bread in a recipe that calls for stale bread, such as panzanella.

Pizza. Put it “in a ripping-hot oven,” Davison advises. That melts the cheese but keeps the crust crispy.

Spices. They can lose their punch over time, but you can revive some, such as cumin and turmeric, by toasting them in a frying pan or warming them in hot oil.


Read our special report on food waste, "Spoiler Alert: You're Wasting 1 in 4 Bags of Groceries."
 

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the September 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.