Turn leftover stew and pasta odds and ends into family-friendly comfort food

Leftover stew + pasta + panko = delicious dinner
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Repurposing leftovers is as good a dinner hack as there is. This trick solves two puzzles at once: how to freshen the presentation of leftover stew and how to use up all those almost-empty bags of dried pasta.

I had a powerful craving for comfort-foody chicken stew last week, and made a big pot for dinner. (Thanks to Twitter and Facebook pals who indulged me with recipe ideas.) Rather than serve it every other night for three nights, I transformed the stew into Instant Comfort Food Casserole:

  • I half-cooked a bunch of pasta odds and ends I had sitting around
  • Mixed the pasta with the stew
  • Dumped the mixture into a casserole and topped the whole thing with panko bread crumbs
  • Baked it in a 350 oven till sizzling and crispy.

You could use this technique for just about any saucy stew or thick soup. Be sure not to precook the pasta till done, as it will soak up much of the liquid in the oven while baking.

Major dinner win.

We've swapped creative ideas for reusing leftovers before, but it's been a while:

What's your favorite way to extend the life of leftovers?

There's always interesting conversation happening on Twitter and Facebook. We've been swapping chicken stew recipes, chatting about rice cookers, and generally talking about life. Join us there!

Related: Stew fu: how to turn one-pot meals into multiple dinners

More: Tips for using up leftovers


  1. Nicole says

    I only stock two shapes of pasta regularly; the end of one box just rolls over into the next box of identical shape.

  2. Kate says

    Thank you for this hack! I had some leftover broccoli, cheese & ham soup that had gotten rather thick. Added some half-cooked pasta, then froze it. That was a few weeks ago, and we just thawed out the casserole and had it for dinner. Thanks!