Years ago as a newlywed, I learned a cardinal rule of frugal cooking that has never failed me. Left-overs need never taste like left-overs. They don't even have to look like they were left-overs. Seriously, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to serve your family the exact same meal they had the day before just reheated. That's why left-overs get such a bad rap. There are so many creative ways to use left-overs that simply reheating can go by the wayside!
There is nothing wrong with mixing left-overs with a bit of fresh cooked or using them as an ingredient in a new dish. I had no left-over potatoes or carrots so steamed some for the filling then stirred in frozen whole kernel corn and the left-over gravy. The steamed vegetables were warm which helped mixing in the cold gravy. Once that was mixed, I stirred in the chicken pieces.
I poured the chicken mixture into two individual serving size baking dishes and one double serving size one. At this point the chicken mixture was very much like a thick stew so could have been enjoyed just the way it was but I decided a topping was in order.
Puff pastry is a nice topping for pot pies because it is light and flaky. You can use home made puff pastry but for this dish I used a store bought puff pastry left-over from holiday entertaining. The rectangular piece of dough was just perfect for cutting into three pieces to fit on top of my filling.
Even though I used left-overs, it was fairly easy to make a completely different dish that did not resemble the first. This is a frugal way to use left-overs. Did you know that left-overs can actually be hidden in other dishes as ingredients. For example, if I have a couple of tablespoons of mashed potatoes left, I often use them to thicken soup. If I have a couple of tablespoons of applesauce left over, I use it in quick breads. Bits of left-over vegetables find their way into meatloafs. Get creative with using left-overs if you really want to save money in the kitchen!
[Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.]