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Use Up Leftovers with a "Purge the Fridge" Frittata

This easy, one-skillet frittata is a delicious and healthy way to use up leftovers that you've already got in your fridge and pantry. 

One skillet "purge the fridge" frittata

Last weekend I got to spend a few days in beautiful Monument, Colorado catching up with some old friends at a tranquil lakeside rental house. On our first morning there, while sipping coffee on the porch, the ladies and I started formulating a plan for the day.

Three of the four of us were excited to get outside and do a Crossfit-style workout. One of us wanted to stay inside and whip up a delicious breakfast. It's probably not hard to guess which one was me.

Sometimes the last thing I want to do on vacation is cook, but this type of cooking is my jam. No kids in sight, a beautiful view from the window, a well-stocked kitchen, and all the time in the world.

After a quick survey of the ingredients in the fridge:

  • eggs
  • mushrooms
  • zucchini
  • yellow and orange bell peppers
  • bacon
  • red onion 
  • feta cheese

...I knew I had the fixings for a great frittata.

A frittata is one of my favorite things to make because it's nutritious, it's easy, and it's a perfect way to use up leftover veggies, meats, greens, cheeses, herbs, and any other odds and ends in the fridge.

My frittata was such a hit that I decided to make another one yesterday. I'm currently visiting my parents in Pennsylvania, and I was inspired by the garden-fresh herbs, home-grown tomatoes, and other ingredients that they had on hand.


When I purged my parents' fridge, here are all the things I found to potentially use:

  • cooked ham
  • tomatoes
  • cooked yellow squash
  • half of a fresh jalapeno
  • jarred artichoke hearts
  • jarred jalapenos
  • cilantro
  • basil
  • parsley
  • half a red onion
  • a tiny bit of feta
  • a little bit of shredded mexican cheddar
  • some grated parmesan
  • shredded mozzarella
  • a big chunk of smoked gouda

Using all of these things would've been overkill, so I spent a few minutes figuring out which ingredients would complement each other best. The way I saw it, there were three different directions I could go:

  1. Mexican style frittata using the tomatoes, yellow squash, jalapeno, cilantro, mexican cheddar cheese and feta;
  2. Italian style frittata with artichokes, tomatoes, fresh basil, shredded mozzarella, and parmesan; or
  3. French style frittata using the ham, tomatoes, smoked gouda, and feta.

I opted for the Mexican version this time around since I could use up the most ingredients. But this should show you how many possibilities you probably have lurking in your fridge! 


"Leftover" FRITTATA

Ingredients for a Frittata

You can get very creative when you're making a "Purge the Fridge" Frittata, but some ingredients are more frittata-friendly than others.


  • Approximately 10 eggs (If using a 10" skillet)
  • Milk or cream
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Onion
  • tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • spinach or arugula
  • cooked potatoes/hash browns
  • zucchini/yellow squash
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • broccoli (this is a great recipe to use up leftover roast broccoli!)
  • shredded brussels sprouts
  • bell pepper (any color)
  • roasted peppers
  • jalapenos or green chiles
  • artichoke hearts


  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Thyme

Meats or Seafood

  • Smoked, fresh or canned salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Crab
  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Diced ham


  • Parmesan
  • Cheddar
  • Feta
  • Gruyere
  • Swiss
  • Gouda/Smoked Gouda
  • Monterey Jack
  • Mozzarella

How to Make a Frittata

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If you're going to be using any meat or seafood in your frittata, pre-cook it, chop it, and set it aside.

Add a generous amount of oil and/or butter to the bottom of a skillet (an oven-safe nonstick skillet works best). You want to coat the bottom of the pan to ensure that your eggs won't stick when you add them later.

Once you've determined which veggies you're going to use, chop them up and figure out which ones will take the longest to cook. For instance, mushrooms and bell peppers take a while to get tender, while tomatoes and spinach cook up in minutes. I almost always start with onions (if I'm using them), and then add the other veggies according to cook time.


Add your first veggie group to the skillet and saute over medium-low heat until the veggies start to get tender. Keep adding your various veggies until everything is cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper to taste, and then stir in any cooked meat or seafood you'd like to use. Spread cooked ingredients in an even layer on the bottom of the skillet (adding a little extra oil/butter if things are starting to stick), and move the skillet off of the heat while you prepare your eggs.


In a medium-sized bowl, beat approximately 10 eggs (if you're using a standard 10" skillet). Add in splash of milk or half & half to the eggs to make them creamy. If you're using herbs, stir the chopped herbs into the eggs. Return the skillet to the burner over medium heat and pour the egg mixture over top of the veggies and other ingredients. Do not stir.


After a few minutes, you should notice the frittata starting to set along the edges. Using a spatula, lift up the egg around the edges and tilt the pan so that the runny, uncooked egg runs underneath the cooked egg. When the edges are mostly set, but the top is still runny, sprinkle any cheese you're using over the top of the frittata. (I also placed some jarred jalapenos on top to make it look fancy, but there's no need to be fancy unless you're taking photos for your blog!)

Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, or until you can tell the frittata is cooked all the way through. Let cool, slice and serve.

Next time you find yourself wondering what to make and/or with an overabundance of leftovers, get out some eggs, fire up your skillet, and make a frittata.


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Monday 3rd of August 2015

What a great idea! I need to try this... I have a new-ish cast iron that I have yet to make a frittata in.


Monday 3rd of August 2015

Oh yum, this looks amazing! I love frittata for all meals! The peppers and onion looks so foo in this! thank you for sharing!

Reginia Cordell

Monday 3rd of August 2015

This frittata looks really good. I've tried making frittatas before; it starts out ok but then it sticks pretty bad. The lift and move magic in the skillet doesn't work out so then I end up scrambling the remainder. Wishing I could have a slice of yours because it turned out great.


Monday 3rd of August 2015

Hi Reginia! I have the best luck using a non-stick skillet that can go into the oven. The only reason I used a cast iron pan for this one was because it was the only thing clean at the time! And I also make sure there's a decent amount of butter or oil in the pan before I pour in the eggs.


Monday 3rd of August 2015

Yum! This looks fantastic. I love the idea of using up a bunch of need-to-go ingridients. So smart:)


Monday 3rd of August 2015

Thanks Joanna! I love when I can use up odds and ends in the fridge.


Monday 3rd of August 2015

I love the idea of "purge the fridge" recipes. It is a great way to use up items in your fridge before they go bad, as well as to explore different flavor combinations you might not otherwise try. This frittata looks I think I will go home and purge my fridge to make a tasty frittata!


Monday 3rd of August 2015

Nice! I love making "purge the fridge" meals...soups and pasta dishes are my favorite way to use up leftover veggies, meats & herbs in the fall and winter.

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