I have half a leftover meatloaf in my refrigerator. Meatloaf is one of those dishes that my family will only eat a second time if there's also leftover gravy. We don't, but I don’t want the food or the money I spent on it this meal to go to waste. It’s time to figure out what else to do with it.

I know a lot of people make meatloaf sandwiches with ketchup — and that's a great solution — but I went looking for some other ideas to turn these leftovers into a completely different dish. Here are some clever ideas that will make sure your leftover meatloaf doesn't go to waste.

nachos Crumbled meatloaf can be used as a substitute for ground beef on nachos. (Photo: stock creations/Shutterstock)

1. Meatloaf Nachos: Instead of using ground beef taco meat or shredded chicken, use meatloaf crumbles on top of tortilla chips. Top them with salsa, cheese and any other nacho topping you'd like.

2. Meatloaf Patty Melt Panini: Caramelized red onions and Swiss cheese join leftover meatloaf in a grilled sandwich on rye.

3. Leftover Meatloaf Parmesan: Meatloaf slices are breaded and then fried in a pan. The recipe suggests topping with ketchup, but I'd take it a step further and melt some mozzarella cheese on top of the fried slices along with a ladle of warm tomato sauce.

shepherds pie Using already cooked meatloaf in Shepherd's Pie is a time saver. (Photo: Elena Mayne/Shutterstock)

4. Meatloaf Shepherd's Pie: This is a time-saving way of making Shepherd's Pie because you don't have to take the time to sauté the ground beef; you use leftover cooked meatloaf. The rest of the ingredients are classics for this recipe, which also suggests using refrigerated mashed potatoes as the topping, but you can make fresh mashed potatoes if you have time.

5. Meatloaf Baked Ziti: Using leftover meatloaf in Baked Ziti is a time saver, just like it is with the Shepherd's Pie. It's added to cooked ziti, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and seasonings to make this class Italian-American dish.

6. Leftover Meatloaf Soft Tacos: The leftover slices are crumbled and heated in a skillet then added to soft tacos and topped with traditional taco toppings.

7. Leftover Meatloaf Soup: Lots of veggies accompany the leftover meatloaf in this hearty soup that has both pearl barley and pasta. It makes a lot so you'll have leftovers from your leftovers that you can freeze and pull out to defrost on a night when you don't want to cook.

Editor's note: This story has been updated since it was originally published in November 2011.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

7 creative uses for leftover meatloaf
Leftover meatloaf is the ingredient in these creative recipes that save you money and help you avoid food waste.