Do you have “clean out the fridge night” in your house?

By Mary Shannon Wells
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Long before compost bins were stylish enough to sit on your countertop and "farm-to-table" was part of our regular vocabulary, Southern cooks were resourceful with their home-grown produce scraps. Bacon grease sat on the counter for a number of uses, plenty of interesting ingredients could be pressed between two slices of white bread with a little mayo, and nothing—I mean nothing—went in the trash.

This Southern tendency to wring something out to the last drop has trickled down to my home, where cooking for two people can yield odd serving sizes and plenty of leftovers. When my husband and I are looking at a kitchen full of half-eaten suppers and veggies on the verge of going bad, we can always turn to Southern Living's Potato-Bacon Hash.

With just a couple of ingredients and your cast-iron skillet, you can whip up this recipe in about 40 minutes. But the beauty of making the hash with leftovers is that everything is already peeled, chopped, seasoned, and ready to go.

When it comes to "clean out the fridge night," as my mom calls it, we use this hash recipe as more of a guideline, not a rule book. If we don't have fresh bacon to fry but there's a couple of pieces of steak from last night's dinner, in it goes. If we don't have russet potatoes but bought one too many sweet potatoes at the market, in it goes. If we don't have yellow onion or red bell pepper but instead green bell pepper and mushrooms, in they go. Any combination of potato, protein, and veggies will do. Baby red potatoes, rotisserie chicken, broccoli, and yellow onion? Delicious. Yukon golds, BBQ pulled pork, red onion, and spinach? Sign me up. All of this is to say that this Potato-Bacon Hash can become whatever you need it to. If you're not into experimenting, the original recipe is foolproof. This hash recipe's versatility isn't done there: You can enjoy it at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and enjoy it you will.

When it comes to seasoning, this Potato-Bacon Hash Recipe simply calls for garlic, salt, and pepper. As much as we deviate from the recipe by throwing in extra spices, we're always sure to chop some fresh garlic for a leftover hash. It brings those cut potatoes from the fridge right back to life.

When you have too much food at home to validate ordering takeout but you're too tired to cook, try our leftover hash remedy. With just one skillet and a few minutes of hands-on time, you've got a totally new way to enjoy the leftovers you weren't even looking forward to eating again.

Get the Recipe: Potato-Bacon Hash

What's your favorite way to ensure no food goes in the trash? The perfect place to share all your go-to recipes is in our What's Cooking with Southern Living group on Facebook.