Illustration: Esme Lonsdale

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Rule #12: Use What You Have
Is your fridge crowded with the remnants of recipes past? Here, a few creative solutions for some common leftover ingredients.

Chicken Stock
Glazed Carrots: In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp. oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 pound carrots, quartered, and cook until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken stock and cook, covered, 3 minutes. Stir in 3 Tbsp. orange juice (or 3 Tbsp. lemon juice plus 1 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey) and reduce stock to a glaze, 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with pecans or fresh parsley.

Creamy Potato Soup: In a large pot, cover 1/2 bunch chopped celery, 1 large diced potato, 1 chopped onion and 2 peeled garlic cloves with 3 cups water. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, then transfer to a blender with 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt and 1 tsp. dried tarragon; puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Coconut Milk
Coconut Pudding: In a saucepan over low heat, whisk 1/4 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch and 1/4 tsp. salt. Whisk in 1 cup each unsweetened coconut milk and milk and bring to a gentle boil, stirring until texture resembles heavy cream, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract or a spoonful of peanut butter. Chill and top with sliced fresh mango.

Pesto Sauce
Breaded Chicken: In a shallow dish, mix 1/2 cup pesto with 2 Tbsp. each Dijon mustard and mayonnaise. Coat boneless, skinless chicken breasts with the mixture, then cover with bread crumbs. Bake until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipes by Melissa d'Arabian, host of the Food Network's Ten Dollar Dinners.