Like most home cooks, we’re all for leftovers—especially if they look a little different on day two!
Turns out, the folks at meal kit delivery service HelloFresh feel the same way. “There are so many ways to repurpose and rethink what you already have in the works,” says Claudia Sidoti, head chef and recipe developer for HelloFresh, which recently launched its Dinner 2 Lunch plans, which include extra ingredients for lunch the next day. The plans are a bit of a splurge (they start at $59.94), but you do get two meals for the price of one. (Think meal kit services will make grocery stores a thing of the past? We’ve wondered that, too.)
Even when you don’t use a service like HelloFresh, making a meal plan is the secret to having leftovers you actually want to eat. Here are Sidoti’s best tricks for making a leftover lunch that’s delicious and easy:
Make a double-batch of your main dish
“Prepare twice as much protein as needed and use the leftovers in creative lunches like quick stir fry noodles or rice dishes, chopped salads, sandwiches or even flatbreads,” suggests Sidoti.
Have half a rotisserie chicken or a couple chicken breasts in the fridge? Use our 100 recipes to make the most of your leftover chicken.
Cook your comfort food
“Meat loaf is a great basic dish that’s more versatile than meets the eye,” says Sidoti. “It’s delicious the next day on a hot or cold sandwich, but can be crumbled into a noodle casserole. I’ve even made meat loaf quesadillas, which are always a hit.” It’s true—meat loaf is always a crowd-pleaser!
Go with whole grains
Side dishes featuring grains like rice, quinoa, bulgur and farro are filling and affordable, plus they reheat nicely. “These all microwave well the next day and are perfect for fast grain bowls and healthy side dishes,” says Sidoti. Even quicker, these grains can even be eaten chilled tossed with veggies and dressings. Here’s how to cook all kinds of whole grains.
Turn your leftovers into a sandwich
Let’s say hearty chili is a family favorite. You don’t have to serve up a plain ol’ bowl of chili the next day. You can be creative with the leftovers! Take the chili filled with beans, meat and vegetables and roll them into a burrito for a satisfying lunch. “It tastes even better once the chili spices have had some time to mesh,” says Sidoti.
Who knows? You might even look forward to the leftover lunch more than the original! Just make sure you don’t keep things in the fridge too long.