One meal 3 ways: How to make delicious dishes out of leftovers

Mar 19 2021, 4:47 pm

Experimenting in the kitchen has (mostly) been a welcome distraction to the woes of pandemic life. But among the many challenges we’ve been faced with this past year, home-cooking fatigue is one that’s begun to set in.

The good news is, by tweaking your approach to daily and weekly meals, you can spend less time cooking and make food last longer — either by freezing portions for an easy weeknight meal or by repurposing leftovers.

One thing we love about cooking with Canadian beef is its versatility. It’s a delicious base for just about any meal, which means a roast or steak can be transformed into a variety of distinct and delicious meals.

It’s time to do away with the notion that leftovers are boring and repetitive. If you’re feeling caught in the cycle of just reheating, these fun beef-based recipes will inspire you to repurpose food and create an array of different meals from a single recipe — translating to fewer hours in the kitchen and less food waste.

Base recipe: Vietnamese pot roast

Vietnamese pot roast/Canada Beef

There’s nothing we love more than throwing a bunch of fresh ingredients into a pot and letting the slow cooker do all the heavy lifting for us. Not to mention, getting to enjoy the tasty aromas that emanate from it all day long.

If you’re looking for a recipe that’s going to guarantee tons of leftovers for easy dinners throughout the week, this slow-cooked beef pot roast is the way to go. It’s rich and savoury, and pairs perfectly with jasmine rice or Asian slaw.


  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Coarsely ground sea salt (or kosher salt) and pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 lb beef pot roast (like a cross rib, blade, or brisket)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup soya sauce
  • 1/3 cup kecap manis (or teriyaki sauce)


Pat pot roast dry. Coat beef on all sides with flour. Season beef generously all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the roast and allow it to brown well on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove roast from pan. Transfer beef and any juices to slow cooker insert. Add ginger root, rice vinegar, garlic, chili flakes, soy sauce, and kecap manis and one cup water to Dutch oven.

Cook, stirring to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour over beef in slow-cooker. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours until the roast is fork-tender. Remove roast to a cutting board, tent with foil. Transfer sauce to a saucepan and cook over high heat to thicken by reducing by half for about four minutes. Carve the roast across the grain and serve with sauce as a dip.

Leftover option 1 – banh mi

Bahn mi/Canada Beef

What’s not to love about savoury beef and fresh, pickled veggies pressed between a crusty baguette? This Vietnamese-inspired dinner sandwich recipe is reminiscent of banh mi and will change your perception of leftovers forever. Leftover beef from the pot roast can be substituted for short rib and any leftover Asian slaw can be used in lieu of pickled veggies, as well.


  • Leftover beef pot roast
  • 2 large heads of garlic
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice and sriracha sauce for each
  • 4 match-stick cut carrots or broccoli slaw mixture
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and salt for each
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Roasted garlic mayonnaise Рmethod: 

Slice the top quarter-inch off the heads of garlic to expose cloves. Place each head upright on a sheet of foil; drizzle with oil and bundle up with foil. Place in a small oven-proof pan and roast in the oven until heads are soft, for about one hour. Remove from the oven and let the garlic cool. Unwrap roasted garlic heads; squeeze garlic cloves from skins into a small bowl. Mash with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, lemon juice, and sriracha sauce.

Pickled veggies Рmethod: 

Place carrots or broccoli slaw in a bowl. In a saucepan bring vinegar, one cup of water, sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt to a boil. Pour hot brine over carrots. Stir in cilantro. Let cool completely.

Spread baguette pieces with mayonnaise and top with warm shredded beef, pickled veggies, cilantro leaves, and cucumber. Top with baguette tops and serve.

Leftover option 2 – stir fry

Beef stir fry/Canada Beef

Forget about ordering lo mein takeout, it’s actually surprisingly easy to whip up from home — especially if you’re incorporating leftovers. It’s just a matter of frying up some vegetables and tossing some noodles (or rice) of your choice into a pot.


  • Leftover beef pot roast, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 8 basil leaves


Add the canola oil to a skillet placed over medium heat. Add the broccoli and red pepper slices and cook for six minutes or until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Meanwhile, whisk together the soy sauce, apricot jam, sambal oelek, ginger, garlic, water, and cornstarch.

Add the steak slices to the pan and stir to warm through. Pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for one to two minutes or until the sauce thickens and coats the vegetables and steak. Stir in the whole basil leaves. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

Leftover option 3 – tacos

Beef tacos/Canada Beef

Tacos are a great way to spice things up with your home cooking and are super easy to throw together using any leftover beef or veggies you have laying around your fridge. One thing we appreciate about making tacos is that you can improvise based on the ingredients you have available, or stick closely to a recipe like this one.


  • Leftover beef pot roast
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin, salt, paprika, and ground coriander for each
  • 0.50 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 corn, frozen or canned
  • 0.25 cup salsa
  • 8 small tortillas, flour or corn
  • Taco toppings (chopped tomatoes, avocado, shredded lettuce, and cilantro)


Once the beef has been reheated and the ingredients have been prepped, evenly fill the tortillas with beef and top with salsa, peppers, and other taco toppings.

To discover more fun recipes that involve cooking once and eating twice, visit

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