14 Genius Hacks for Turning Leftover Take-Out Into a Delicious 2nd Meal

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Pizza, wings, Chinese food — what's not to love about your go-to take-out orders?!

But when last night's feast becomes today's leftovers, sometimes what's left inside the boxes, cartons and containers is less than appealing.

Thankfully, chef Richard Blais is back in the studio for another take-down challenge: How many dishes can he make with last night's take-out leftovers before the Chinese food delivery order arrives in the studio? And how many dishes can he make in 60 minutes?

"We all have food in our fridge that's from takeout, and you can make delicious things," Richard says confidently.

Well then, let the take-out take-down begin!

1. Leftover Ingredients: Veggie pizza, chips and guac, buffalo wings

New meal: Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Instructions: Remove the chicken meat from the bones and chop; layer onto chips. Top with torn pieces of topping from leftover veggie pizza; warm until cheese is melted. Finish with blue cheese, leftover guacamole, and chopped celery for crunch.

2. Leftover Ingredient: Half of a meatball parm sandwich

New meal: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Instructions: Deconstruct the sandwich, turning the filling into a marinara and meatball sauce for spaghetti. Use the bread from the hero to make garlic bread.  

3. Leftover Ingredient: Pepperoni pizza

New meal: Pepperoni Pizza Frittata

pepperoni pizza frittata
Rachael Ray Show

Instructions: Whisk five eggs together. Remove the pepperoni and cheese topping from pizza; tear into pieces and add to egg mixture. Bake until eggs are set.

4. Leftover Ingredient: White rice and steamed broccoli

New meal: Congee

Rachael Ray Show

Instructions: Cook white rice in wonton soup; garnish with broccoli and soy sauce.

5. Leftover Ingredients: Pizza crust, wonton soup

New meal: Tomato Soup with Pizza Crust Breadstick/Crostini

Instructions: Blend together tomato sauce, wonton soup and salsa. Roast the pizza crust and place in the soup like a "straw."

6. Leftover ingredient: Tortilla chips

New meal: Tortilla Soup

tortilla soup
Rachael Ray Show

Instructions: Mix together salsa, tomato sauce, chicken stock, salt and pepper. To finish, top with shredded tortilla.

(Richard then added ranch dressing that he thought was sour cream.)

7. Leftover Ingredients: Leftover burrito, shrimp toast

New meal: Taco Salad w/ Shrimp Toast Croutons

taco salad
Rachael Ray Show

Instructions: Fry hollowed out leftover burrito shell to make the taco shell cup. Fill with chopped lettuce, cooked ground beef, and olives and peppers from pizza. Top with ranch dressing from wings, guacamole from chips and salsa and finish with shrimp toast croutons.

8. Leftover Ingredients: Veggie sticks and ranch from chicken wings, sauces from Chinese take-out  

New meal: Crudite with Sriracha-Ranch Dip (Sirancha) and Sweet & Sour Sauce

Instructions: To make "Sirancha," mix sriracha and ranch. To make Sweet & Sour Sauce, mix duck sauce with soy sauce.

9. Leftover Ingredient: Half a burrito

New meal: Sushi-rito

Rachael Ray Show

Instructions: Remove filling from a leftover burrito and roll into nori (seaweed) sheets.

10. Leftover ingredient: Half a burrito

New meal: Mexican Risotto

Instructions: Remove ingredients from leftover burrito and warm in bone broth. Finish it with butter.

11. Leftover ingredients: Buffalo chicken wings and/or sweet and sour chicken

New meal: Leftover Chicken Wrap

lettuce chicken wrap
Rachael Ray Show

Instructions: Wrap re-fried General Tso's chicken wings in large lettuce leaves (such as butter or romaine) and drizzle with blue cheese dressing.

12. Leftover Ingredient: Pizza (any style)

New meal: Soft Scrambled Eggs on Pizza Toast

Instructions: Soft scramble eggs (here's how to nail perfectly fluffy ones if you need help). Cut leftover pizza into rectangle shapes; toast to warm. Top with cooked eggs.

13. Leftover Ingredient: Cinnamon Dippers, Breadsticks or Soft Pretzels with Frosting

New meal: Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Instructions: Make a custard with eggs and the sticky frosting (add a bit of milk if too thick). Bake your leftover cinnamon baked goods in custard to make a bread pudding.

14. Leftover Ingredient: Pizza (optional: topping removed)

New meal: Leftover Pizza Burger

Instructions: Shape ground beef into triangle burger patty and cook. Use leftover pizza slices (or just the crusts, cheese removed) as burger "buns."

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