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Dec 27, 2007 06:11 AM

Challenge - healthy recipes that reheat well

During the week I have no time what so ever to cook, or really do anything except work, and occasionally make it to the gym. As a result I try to cook two big meals on Sunday and then portion them out between lunch and diner for the rest of the week.

Since I need to reheat the food I tend to avoid any seafood (except tuna salad) since it isn't microwave or co-worker friendly. I also shy away from pasta, and Im trying to use much less rice. I've got a dozen or so recipes that work really well, but I'm getting really sick of them.

Can you help me come up with some new ideas?


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  1. Can you tell us what foods you like/dislike so we can offer them/avoid them? Also, what are the main ingredients/recipe names of those dozen or so recipes that work for you?

    7 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit


      My staples so far are:

      Eggplant, tomato and ground beef stew
      Turkey burgers, one using feta/spinach and another with mushrooms/shallots
      Various types of Chili
      Red Thai chicken curry
      Mushroom beef barley soup
      Yucatan lime soup
      Lemon chicken w/ broccoli
      Chicken fajitas w/ Spanish rice
      Chicken, chorizo paella (trying to move away from making this)
      Chicken vindaloo

      I tend to like to use at least some sort of protein in ever dish, usually chicken.


      1. re: Dave O

        Let's see - what about cooking a pork butt in a crockpot until falling apart, shredding it, and making pulled pork sandwiches? You can package the pulled pork into ziplock baggies and freeze it for an easy lunch - just pull it out, let it defrost while you're working, and as long as you have rolls, heat the pulled pork and plop it on your sandwich roll, and you're good to go, especially if you've made some coleslaw to go along with.

        Same thing with grilling/roasting a flank steak in various marinades - you could thin slice it for sandwiches for lunch.

        Tuscan Bean Soup - this is a recipe I got from a friend, and it's always very filling and good - you can add chicken or not to it (I do so to make it more filling).

        Pot roast is another easy sandwich making meal, as is meatloaf. (I know, I'm leaning towards red meat meals, but it's the season to think of those things. <g>) OK, some chicken meals....let's see if any of these interest you:

        Chicken Paprikash
        Chicken with Key Lime-Mustard Sauce
        Garlic Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
        a Tandoori-style baked chicken
        ANY roast chicken recipe with whatever mix of herbs/spices for a rub
        Skillet Chicken Curry with Apples, Raisins & Cashews

        1. re: LindaWhit

          Linda - thanks I'll need to look a few of these up, but a lot of these look really great. The pot roast and meatloaf seem like pretty good ideas, but honestly as my mom never really cooked them growing up, Ive never had either.

          Thanks for the help,

          1. re: Dave O

            Let me know if you want any recipes - the chicken with key-lime mustard sauce and tandoori-style baked chicken are mine, the garlic roasted chicken (which, on 2nd thought, has a LOT of garlic cloves and could stink up the work kitchen!) is from Good Housekeeping from years ago - the Skillet Chicken Curry is from "A Man and His Pan" by John Boswell.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Getting some of these recipes would be great. I currently don't have a crock-pot, do you get a lot of use out of yours? It’s always something I considered buying, but didn't want to only use it once in a blue moon.

              As for the recipes would be possible to get the Tuscan bean soup, the key-lime mustard sauce and the tandoori chicken. On second thought the garlic chicken sounds too good, so if I could get that as well (and only eat it at home).


              1. re: Dave O

                I have a very old crockpot - one from about 20 years or so ago, and while I don't use it as often as I could, I do like it. However, having said that, the newer crockpots, thanks to the governmental P-T-B, now cook at a much higher temperature than the older ones. Supposedly, the older ones cooked at a temp in which bacteria could form and not be killed by the lower temps (although I've never heard of anyone dying from eating anything cooked in the old crockpots).

                So recipes have to be adapted to the higher cooking temp - and recipes that used to take 8-10 hours now cook in under 6 hours....which, unless you work close to home and can start the crockpot later in the morning, isn't going to help during the work week.

                Now - as for recipes - here they are:

                * Exported from MasterCook *

                Jennifer's Tuscan Bean Soup

                Recipe By :posted on LDD by Jennifer on 1/12/05 (slightly revised by Linda)
                Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
                Categories :

                Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
                -------- ------------ --------------------------------
                1 Tbsp olive oil
                2 small carrots -- peeled and chopped
                2 small celery ribs -- chopped
                1/2 medium onion -- chopped
                2 cloves garlic -- crushed
                20 oz canned diced tomatoes -- including liquid
                (I used Muir Glen Fire-Roasted tomatoes)
                24 oz chicken stock
                (I used 2/3 of a Kitchen Basics carton)
                1 can cannellini beans -- drained and rinsed
                4 oz fresh spinach leaves -- chopped
                1 tsp dried parsley
                1 tsp dried basil
                1 boned and skinned chicken breast half -- sliced and sauteed
                2/3 cup orzo
                salt and freshly ground black pepper -- to taste

                In a large pot, heat olive oil. Cook carrots, celery, onion, and garlic until tender. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT chicken and orzo, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add chicken and orzo, and simmer until the orzo is cooked (about 10-15 minutes). Add seasonings, and serve.

                - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 269 Calories; 3g Fat (11.3% calories from fat); 17g Protein; 43g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 11mg Cholesterol; 1178mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.

                NOTES :
                LLW Notes - 1/22/05: This is absolutely excellent! Smoky flavor from fire-roasted tomatoes. Excellent with a couple of lightly toasted and buttered slices of TJ's Asiago-Peppercorn Bread.

                I just realized that this recipe below has "mango powder" - I got a vial of it from Christina's Spices in Cambridge, MA as a gift, and remember posting here on CH asking for uses - this was suggested (or I found it online and adapted). You can leave it out:

                * Exported from MasterCook *

                Linda's Tandoori-Style Chicken

                Recipe By :Linda
                Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
                Categories : Poultry

                Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
                -------- ------------ --------------------------------
                4 boned and skinned chicken breasts
                1 cup Total Greek yogurt
                1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
                2 tsp freshly grated ginger root
                3 cloves garlic -- finely minced
                1 tsp mango powder
                1/2 tsp ground coriander
                1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
                1/4 tsp kosher salt
                1/4 tsp ground cumin
                1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

                Whisk together marinade ingredients (yogurt through cayenne pepper) in a small bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste (you can add more coriander, cumin or mango powder to taste.) Put chicken breasts into a ziplock bag and spoon marinade over chicken breasts. Seal ziplock bag, squish marinade around chicken breasts, and marinate for at least 1 hour, up to 8 hours. If marinating for shorter time, you can leave ziplock bag on counter. If marinating for any longer than 1 hour, put in fridge and turn bag occasionally. Remove from fridge at least 1/2 hour before cooking.

                Preheat oven to 400°. Remove chicken from marinade and put in a small baking dish. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake until done, approximately another 20 minutes or so.

                - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 303 Calories; 5g Fat (15.5% calories from fat); 57g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 145mg Cholesterol; 300mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 7 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

                NOTES : Would also be great grilled!

                * Exported from MasterCook *

                Chicken With Key Lime-Gingered Mustard Sauce

                Recipe By :Linda
                Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
                Categories : Poultry

                Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
                -------- ------------ --------------------------------
                4 small boned and skinned chicken breast halves
                salt and freshly ground black pepper
                1/2 cup Dijon mustard
                2 Tbsp key lime juice
                1 tsp freshly grated ginger root
                2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
                3/4 cup white wine
                1/4 cup heavy cream -- to taste

                Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Blend together dijon mustard, key lime juice, and ginger root. Spread half of mustard mixture over one side of chicken breasts.

                Heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil in nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, mustard side down. Brown over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes, spreading remainder of mustard mixture on naked side of chicken breasts. Turn chicken breasts, adding additional Tbsp. olive oil, if needed. Brown other side of chicken for 3-4 minutes. Temporarily remove from pan.

                Add white wine, and heat to boiling, stirring to get all the good browned mustard bits up from bottom of pan. Boil lightly for about 1-2 minutes, until slightly reduced. Add heavy cream, whisking to blend. Cook for about 2 minutes, and then return chicken to pan, and spoon sauce over top of chicken.

                Cover the skillet on the stovetop, and turn heat to simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes on the stovetop, spooning mustard sauce over top of chicken every 5 minutes.

                Serve over basmati rice, with a side of sauteed asparagus spears.

                - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                * Exported from MasterCook *

                Garlic Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

                Recipe By :from Good Housekeeping
                Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :1:15
                Categories : Poultry

                Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
                -------- ------------ --------------------------------
                4 Tablespoons butter or margarine
                6 chicken legs, skinless -- med. sized
                (or boneless chicken breasts or thighs - use whatever assortment you like)
                6 potatoes -- med. sized
                24 garlic cloves -- unpeeled
                salt -- optional
                1/2 cup maple syrup

                In large roasting pan, in 400°F. oven, melt butter or margarine. Remove pan from oven. Meanwhile, cut chicken legs apart at joints, if using. Cut potatoes into bite-sized chunks.

                Place chicken pieces, potatoes, and garlic in roasting pan; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Turn ingredients to coat with melted butter or margarine; arrange chicken pieces skin-side up. Bake 40 minutes, basting the chicken and potatoes occasionally with drippings in pan.

                In cup, mix maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Brush chicken with maple syrup mixture and spoon drippings in pan over potatoes occasionally; bake 20 minutes longer or until chicken and potatoes are fork-tender.

                To serve, arrange chicken, potatoes, and garlic on warm large platter; skim fat from drippings and pour any pan juices over chicken. Let each person cut through garlic skin and spread some soft, sweet-tasting garlic onto chicken and potatoes.

                - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Linda, thanks for all of your help these look great!


    2. Add "inexpensive" and the-unspoken-but-understood "delicious", and that's the Holy Grail for me. And if it's quick...

      Of course, healthy can be almost as subjective as delicious, but it sounds like you're cutting back on starches. Here are some of my favorites and their sources.

      Chicken and Fennel ( I make it without the couscous; using thighs instead of breast is delicious and cheaper despite being a little higher in fat, plus the fat helps them reheat a little better than the drier breast.

      Tofu Triangles with Spicy Onion Sauce ( from Deborah Madison; I don't cook all the tofu right away, just enough for the first night, then it's quick to sautee more and add the leftover sauce; I eat it with a little brown rice or Kashi's 7 Grain Pilaf; not as good for bringing somewhere for lunch.

      Aloo Palak ( It's weird to get an Indian recipe from Emeril, I know...

      Asian Chicken and Water Chestnut Patties ( if you have a food processor.

      Spicy Lemongrass Tofu (

      Black Beans and Corn Chili ( my favorite veg chili; I only add a bit of the beer.

      John's Chicken Chili ( freezes well

      Chicken with Tomatoes and Garam Masala, or Timatar murghi (my recipe is from one of Madhur Jaffrey's earlier books, can't remember which right now)

      Shrimp in Green Sauce ( from Mark Bittman; very quick but not cheap; delicious cold.

      I know I have more. I'll add them if and when they come to me. Would you like to share your trusty dozen recipes?

      3 Replies
      1. re: optimal forager

        Thanks, these look great as well. I've never really cooked tofu before, but I should gve it a try. Does it hold up to a microwave?

        Here are the links to the recipes I have:

        Eggplant, tomato and ground beef stew - my own but basically roast eggplant (large cubes), ground beef, plum tomatos, garlic, a bit of tomato sauce and red wine.

        Turkey burgers, one using feta/spinach and another with mushrooms/shallots. I'll hang my head in shame but its a Rachel Ray recipe, and its pretty good.

        Various types of Chili this is one of my favorites, I added ground turckey to it.

        Red Thai chicken curry - sauce is made up of: lite coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar and lime juice. I serve it over chicken and buk choy.

        Mushroom beef barley soup

        Yucatan lime soup - I dont do the fried totrillas or the avacado, but this Emril recipe is pretty close to the one I saw on Rick Bayless's show.

        Lemon chicken w/ broccoli

        Chicken fajitas w/ Spanish rice

        Chicken, chorizo paella (trying to move away from making this

        Chicken vindaloo

        Hope this helps,

        1. re: Dave O

          Thanks for sharing your standbys. I've never had trouble gently reheating tofu in the microwave. If it's pan fried or deep fried, it won't maintain its crispness, but if it's just been stir-fried, that's not so much an issue. The Tofu Triangles with Onion Sauce recipe was my introduction to tofu, cooking and eating; it's simple and the strong sauce covered up any errors.

          A few more suggestions...

          This is it, the ideal recipe (quick, very healthy, reheatable and makes plenty of leftovers, inexpensive and absolutely delicious): quinoa-beef picadillo (paraphrased from Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day Every Way).

          1 TBS olive oil
          1 lg onion, diced
          1 lg green pepper, diced
          2 TSP minced garlic
          1 TSP cumin seeds
          1 lb lean ground beef
          1/2 TSP salt
          1 TSP dried oregano
          1/2 TSP chili powder
          1/8 TSP ground cinnamon
          1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles, with liquid
          1/2 c. pimiento-stuffed olives, cut across into thirds
          1/4 c. raisins
          2 TBS drained capers
          3 c. cooked quinoa
          Fresh ground pepper, to tast
          Lime wedges, for serving

          Heat oil in large, deep skillet over high heat. Add onion and pepper, cook, stirring frequently until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cumin, and cook 1 more minute. Add beef and salt, breaking the meat up into bits. Cook until beef is brown and crumbly, 3 or 4 minutes. Pour off any fat.

          Add oregano, chili powder, cinnamon, tomatoes, olives, raisins and capers, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer for about 15 minutes. Add quinoa, then check seasoning and add pepper. Serve with lime wedges.

          Quinoa (boil and drain like pasta): rinse 1 cup of quinoa until water runs clear. Bring about 10 c. water to a boil over medium high heat. Add quinoa. Boil uncovered for 11-14 min., until there no white dot of starch visible at the center of the grain and some of the comma-shaped filaments are released from the individual grains. Drain, let sit in strainer for about 5 minutes, then fluff up.

          Also, I've gotten into cooking pork roasts recently. I never thought I liked pork much after eating dry chops, but these roasts are moist, require little labor, make great leftovers warm or cold, and are lean enough to count as healthy protein for me, as long as I eat a proper-sized serving.

          Loin of Pork with Fennel and Garlic (Ina Garten)

          Lomo de Puerca en Salsa Verde (Rick Bayless, Mexico One Plate At A Time).

          1. re: optimal forager

            I made the Asian chicken w/ water chestnuts, using some of the notes other people had made on epi, and it turned out great. I’m definitely going to make this a lot. I can’t believe that including two large heads of broccoli for sides, I could make five large patties for just under $10, which makes per meal cost at $2. Talk about great value.

            The new recipes you posted also look like winners. I’ve been looking for something that uses quinoa. I’ve never tried it but, I know its a very nutritionally solid food with a high protein content.


      2. This is a great recipe, makes a lot and freezes well. You can be creative on how to use it. It's a chalupa dinner w/ pork loin (I find a lean cut but it does taste better w/ fattier cuts) and beans in the crockpot from Southern Living.

        1. I recently tried the Rachael Ray turkey burgers with spinach/feta after seeing them recommended on CH and they were pretty good.

          I've been making these chicken burgers for years, and they are a tried and true hit in my house. (I actually prefer ground chicken to ground turkey.) I don't eat the peanut sauce to cut back on calories/fat, and I often don't even use a bun. My husband loves the peanut sauce, and even my kids like these burgers too.

          This recipe is pretty forgiving too. For example, I don't use a food processor...I just mix everything in a bowl with a spoon (or even my hands). Another thing is that until recently I lived in an apartment and didn't have a grill. So I just make them in a non-stick pan on the stove. And, if you live near a Trader Joe's, they have the little trays of frozen grated ginger and garlic, so I keep those in the freezer and use those.

          Oh, and I often make a double batch and freeze the raw "mixture". This way I can just pull it out of the freezer the night before I plan to use it and it only takes a few minutes to cook the burgers.

          1 Reply
          1. re: valerie


            I just tried making chicken brugers for th first time last night, off of the Asian Chicken and Water Chestnut Patties recipe that Optimal Forgiver recommended. They turned out great, and this recipe looks like a nice variation on it. Also I never thought about making extra and freezing it. Thats a great idea.


          2. My favorite is to put a few boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot. Add some jarred jalapenos and their juice and a can of rotel. Let it cook all day. I use this filling for lunch and dinner for several days. I make chicken taco salads, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc. To go along with this I cook a can of black bean with more jalapeno, garlic, and green onion. So good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KellBell


              I dont have a crook pot, but I like how this recipe sounds. Im going to see if I can pull it off in a dutch oven without burning down my apartment.