Making leftovers attractive

Why I Like Hash

by Leanne Ely

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Meal Planning Around Leftovers

I love leftovers. And one of my favorite ways to use leftovers is by turning them into a simple and satisfying hash. (Here's a piece of trivia for you! The word "hash" comes from the french word "hache," which means chopped.)

In foodie terms, hash is defined as being a dish prepared with cooked meat that has been cut into small pieces and cooked again with vegetables (most often potatoes) and seasonings.

Most of us are probably familiar with corned beef hash, which is made from leftover corned beef and mashed potatoes and fried up with onions to help mom stretch the grocery budget a little bit.

But, if you use your imagination and vary up the meats and veggies you employ in your hash, you can really liven up your leftovers into a wonderful breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Healthy Hash Tips

To make a great, nutritious hash, all you need is some leftover meat (or make a fresh dish by cracking open a package of ground meat or sausage), some vegetables, and whatever spices you like.

I have made delicious breakfast hash out of ground pork, sweet potatoes, spinach, and apples. I've also been known to fry up some Canadian bacon with purple potatoes, onions and cabbage, cracking a couple of eggs on the top and steaming them to a perfect sunny side up. Delicious!


Try sausage with squash and zucchini or roast beef with turnip and potatoes. Leftover pulled pork with cabbage and apples is delicious. Try bacon and Brussels sprouts with sweet potatoes, pecans, and apples. See how creative you can get with your combinations!

If you're starting with cooked meat and leftover veggies, all you do is scramble everything together in a pan until it's hot. It's ready to eat!

A hash can still come together quickly if you're using raw ingredients, but take a little more care to build your layers of flavor.

For example, if you're making a hash of ground pork, apples and sweet potatoes, you might want to cook the pork first. Then fry up some onion and sweet potatoes in the same pan with a bit of butter or bacon fat to get all the flavor of the brown bits at the bottom of the pan! When the sweet potato is half-cooked, add in some diced apple and maybe some leftover bacon (is there any such thing?). When that mixture is just about finished cooking, put the pork back in and toss in some diced apple. Season as you wish and enjoy!

This is freestyle cooking at its best. Go ahead and experiment with combinations and come up with some new family favorites. Use last night's leftovers to save dinner tonight!

Leanne Ely is a New York Times best selling author of Body Clutter and the popular Saving Dinner cookbook series. According to Woman's Day Magazine, she is the expert on family cooking.

Leanne's syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva can be found in 250 newspapers nationwide and in Canada. Her vast broadcast experience includes media satellite tours, QVC several times as well as guesting on several national television shows, including HGTV's Simple Solutions, ABC Family's Living the Life, Ivanhoe's Smart Woman, Small Talk for Parents and Talk of the Town. She has guest chef-ed on the cooking show, Carolina Cooks and has taught cooking classes all over the country for Bloomingdale's.

In addition, she is a seasoned radio personality. Leanne's own radio show, Heart of A Woman aired during drive time in two major California markets, Los Angeles and San Diego. Her current show, The Dinner Diva is one of the top Blog Talk Radio shows on the Internet.

On the Internet, she pens the Food for Thought column for the immensely popular,, with over half a million readers weekly. She has been featured in Woman's Day magazine, the Chicago Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Orange County Register - to name a few. Additionally, she is a sought after speaker and has spoken all over the country, with keynote addresses to corporate and non-profit entities. Visit Leanne Ely on Google+.

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