Food

4 smart ways to turn barbecue leftovers into delicious new meals

Justin Chapple, the test kitchen pro behind Food & Wine's Mad Genius Tips, shares four creative ways to use leftovers from your Memorial Day BBQ.

1. Leftover Cooked Hamburger Patties

Next time you find yourself with a few extra cooked hamburger patties, make a cheater's Bolognese sauce!

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
TODAY Show: Justin Chapple demonstrates four smart ways to turn your barbecue leftovers into delicious new meals. -- May 31, 2016

Cheater's Bolognese Recipe Hack: Finely chop four to six 4-ounce hamburger patties. In a large saucepan, combine the finely chopped burgers with one 24-ounce jar of high-quality marinara sauce and simmer until tender. Spoon over cooked spaghetti, top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

2. Leftover Chicken and BBQ Sauce

Leftover grilled chicken makes a wonderful sandwich, but did you know it also makes the best pizza topping?

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
TODAY Show: Justin Chapple demonstrates four smart ways to turn your barbecue leftovers into delicious new meals. -- May 31, 2016

BBQ Chicken Pizza Recipe Hack: In a bowl, mix 1½ to 2 cups shredded or chopped grilled chicken with 1/2 to 3/4 cup leftover BBQ sauce. On a lightly oiled baking sheet, stretch 1 pound of store-bought pizza dough into a large oval. Sprinkle with 2 cups of shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese, leaving a 1-inch border of dough. Scatter the chicken on the pizza and season with pepper. Bake at 450 degrees until crusty and hot. Top with baby arugula before serving.

3. Leftover Watermelon

Didn't eat all those watermelon wedges? No problem! With just a few ingredients you can make a refreshing watermelon soup.

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
TODAY Show: Justin Chapple demonstrates four smart ways to turn your barbecue leftovers into delicious new meals. -- May 31, 2016

Watermelon Soup Recipe Hack: In a blender or food processor, combine 1 pound of chopped watermelon with 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar, and puree until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls, topped with chopped dill and crumbled feta cheese.

4. Leftover Hot Dog or Hamburger Buns

Let's face it, at some point or another we've all had extra buns after a BBQ. Rather than stick them in the freezer-after all, space in there is limited!-try transforming them into French toast.

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
TODAY Show: Justin Chapple demonstrates four smart ways to turn your barbecue leftovers into delicious new meals. -- May 31, 2016

Hot Dog Bun and Hamburger Bun French Toast Recipe Hack: In a shallow bowl, beat 3 large eggs with 1/2 cup milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. In a large nonstick skillet, melt some butter. Working with 1 split bun at a time, dip the buns in the egg mixture to coat lightly. Add to the skillet and cook, turning, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining buns. Transfer to plates, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with maple syrup.

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