If you could see the inside of my fridge right now you’d be horrified. I am not naturally an organized person. Having three kids has forced me to improve on my organization skills but the fridge is still one area in which I need great improvement.

There are random jars of pickled peppers, capers, and jams that may or may not be expired. There are several yogurt containers that most likely do not contain yogurt but bits of meals from the previous week. Some that cause too much fear in me are saved for a day in which I’m brave enough to tackle the impending smell that will cast doom over the kitchen. Others are simply tossed into the trash even though my conscience screams at me, “Reuse that container! Or at the very least, recycle it!” I pretend I can’t hear it.

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On the rare days that the house is clean and I appear to have my life order, please, just don’t open the fridge, because in there lies the truth. My life is cluttered, messy, often smelly, and chaotic.

My favorite way to clean out the fridge is to wrap those little random leftover bits, the ones that haven’t gone bad, in dough.

Pizza dough is often found in the fridge, so as I’m pulling that out I grab the yogurt container that contains a small amount of last night’s leftover sausage. And perhaps I’ll grab the container that has a few cherry tomatoes and chunks of blue cheese. Oh and there’s a bit of marinated kale too? I’ll take that.


With a bit of mozzarella and a spoonful of tomato sauce tucked in there, dinner is ready in under 30 minutes. The productive part of me, the one who gets giddy when I’m able to “kill two birds with one stone” as they say, is very proud that I cleaned out the fridge while producing a dinner that pleases everyone. Even those in the family, who shall remain nameless, that are less than thrilled with eating leftovers.




*This post was part of an ad campaign for Newman’s Own and was compensated for the content I created.

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This recipe can be adapted to endless possibilities. You’ll want to make sure you have some sort of cheese and a great red sauce, after that use what you have – roasted vegetables, greens, meat, etc. Any pizza dough will work here, homemade or store bought. Once you have the dough this meal comes together in moments and is easily customizable for those “particular” eaters in the family.

serves 4

1 recipe pizza dough (store-bought dough works beautifully here)

1 cup Newman’s Own Marinara (or your favorite red sauce)

1 cup mozzarella

1 cup cooked sausage

a few basil leaves, roughly torn

¼ cup olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 450*


Divide the dough in four equal portions and create a rough circle. Flatten out to about ¼ – ½ inch thick using your hands or a rolling pin. In the center of each dough round add a couple of tablespoons of sauce, some cheese, sausage, and a couple of torn up pieces of basil. This is what I happened to have on hand, feel free to use what you find in the fridge.

Brush a little bit of the olive oil along the edge of the dough. Pull one side of the dough over the filling to reach the other side. Seal the edges and brush the top of the calzone with olive oil. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray or directly onto a pre-heated pizza stone, if you have one.

Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Let cool slightly as the inside will remain very hot for quite awhile. Serve warm along side a simple salad.

41 Responses to “a place for leftovers”

  1. Kathryn

    Sometimes I think that the meals created with leftovers are better than the meal they were the leftovers from! I’ve never thought of making a calzone though, what a great idea.

  2. Emily {What Emily Ate}

    I am COMPLETELY the same. In fact, right at this very moment in time I am avoiding a pot of apple butter, half a bowl of split pea and ham soup, and various opened tubs of cream cheese.

    This is a genius idea, I’ll definitely be utilising it in the near future, probably to use up some baby spinach leaves (I can honestly say I’ve never gotten through a whole pack before it’s gone off)


  3. Lauren

    I want to do this right now. Perhaps a breakfast calzone is in order 🙂 and perhaps I can salvage some of those soon to be tossed butter containers.

  4. la domestique

    When my sister and I were little, mom would make a “junkyard pizza” by cleaning out the fridge. We always loved it. 🙂 I think a calzone is very smart.

  5. Lucia

    This is a relief. My fridge is not alone, at least. He usually hosts moldy yogurts and jams, empty pickles jars. After all, fridge disasters are a common thing 🙂

  6. Kimberley

    I love all of this, but I love that last diptych especially. It’s pretty much perfect. (And PS: My fridge is a close cousin to yours.)

  7. Monica

    This is such a lovely post! The calzone looks awesome even though it is made with leftover items. Love that is not perfect!

  8. MG Atwood

    ha ha. My fridge gets cleaned when Mr. Mark tries to make a date of it. It’s always a field trip to see which container worked it’s way to the back and sometimes has a beard. ACCCKKKK! Love calzone, may add this into the weekly mix.

  9. christine [the sugar apothecary]

    I hate throwing away food. That being said, I have a plethora of recycled containers (mine happen to be cottage cheese, not yogurt) half filled with leftovers… that will not be touched until they’re ready to be disposed of. This looks like an AWESOME solution, and perfect for picky eaters (AKA my super picky, man-child of a boyfriend).

  10. Jamie

    Oh, thank you for being human in the messy-fridge department. I’m guessing I have 2-3 tubs of partially used sour cream I should dig out, several jars of jam that need to be examined, and I’m not sure what’s in the one with the blue lid in the back. I dread that kitchen stank big time, so I avoid the scary ones, too. And I too, every once in a while, just have to throw away the scary stuff container and all. Darnit. = )

  11. Cookie and Kate

    Sometimes I feel like eating leftovers is my job! It’s always a race to eat random leftovers before they go bad. I often find myself eating dessert for breakfast, which I justify by eating some Greek yogurt along with it. It’s whatever.

  12. chinmayie @ love food eat

    I make dinner like these all the time! It’s impossible for me to not have ;leftovers as i cook way more than required! but i sought of like improvising on what i have. also… it’s great to have something to start with then I need dinner and lunch NOW!

  13. Katherine

    I have to admit, I am the exact same way when it comes to my fridge and house. My house looks clean and tidy, but don’t go near the fridge! My containers are leftover take-out boxes…and yes, I try to ignore my conscience, too, when I am just too scared to open one of them and toss it in the garbage. Love your idea of the calzone! Will definitely be trying it out next time I get around to my fridge….

  14. joey

    I so do know what you speak of! I’m afraid my fridge can also be found in that state…my husband likes to joke that I keep every little bit of leftover! But I feel so good and clever when I am able to use it all 🙂 But I never got as clever as a calzone! This looks fantastic and I am definitely bookmarking this for my future leftovers!

  15. Lauren

    Your refrigerator situation sounds just like mine–thanks for making me feel better about it! It’s good not to be alone. 🙂

  16. Robin-Taine

    like many other here, I am grateful to see the other side of this beautiful blog. I certainly struggle with organization and my fridge is one of many areas where the unknown lurks!! Calzones are delicious. May I also suggest pizza bagels as another vehicle for similar ingredients.

  17. Mikaela Cowles

    I love it! It’s like what I do with leftovers for breakfast – everything gets a does of egg. Using pizza dough is a fabulous way to make it into dinner.

    And don’t worry, you’re not alone. I find it more shocking when I open a fridge that’s clean. I mean. who are these people with neat and put together fridges anyways?

  18. molly

    you, my dear, are a girl (and fridge-keeper) after my own heart!

    frittatas, soups, salads, calzone — i love second-time-around meals, and the orphans that build them.

  19. laura k

    Wonderful idea. I spend a lot of time thinking about what to do with leftovers, and I especially love this idea. Especially since you can buy pizza dough pretty much anywhere these days.

  20. Anna X.

    I love the idea! And as someone mentioned before, sometimes the meals created with leftovers are better than the ones they were left over from… this definitely looks like that!

  21. Shannan

    My brother suggested I may like this blog.
    He used to be entirely right. This put up truly made my day.
    You cann’t consider simply how much time I had spent for this info!
    Thank you!


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