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NEED ideas for dinner that makes LOTS of good leftovers...

My bf and I are always so busy, that often if I don't make him dinner, he stops and buys lunch, which ends up costing so much money and unhealthy too!! I love to cook, and I do cook often, I just need ideas that make good leftovers, or to turn into something new. Kinda bigish recipes too....ones that we both eat and their's enough left over for at least two more meals. I just signed up here on ChowHound hoping I can get some help!!! I am big on healthy eating so I'm trying to help my bf with that and if it takes making him lunch every day, then so be it. lol

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  1. Roasted chicken (you can always roast 2 at a time if your oven is large enough- LOTS of leftovers!)

    Baked pastas (sauce with meat or without, ricotta, mozzarella/ parm. on top)

    I cook for 4 even though there are only 2 of us so the man has leftovers for work. On the odd night where there are no leftovers (like tonight since we had fish,) he can grab a container of another night's intentional leftovers from the freezer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: weezieduzzit

      Another vote for the roast chicken. You can use the carcass for soup, and the meat for quesadillas, curry, salad, sandwiches ...
      Or meatloaf, with cold sandwiches for lunch, warm with sides for another dinner.
      Red sauce with meat- spaghetti first, then baked ziti or pizza.

    2. Does he have the means to heat his lunch or does it need to be something that is good cold/room temperature? Any dietary restrictions?

      1. Anything braised with lots of root vegetables.

        1. Enchiladas are my SO's favorite. They're even better on the 2nd day after reheating. And, you can make as many as you want... I usually do 8 at a time, so that's 4 meals, but you could easily do 2 pans worth. He travels for work during the week now, but he used to work from home, and I take my lunch 4 days a week so we really rely on leftovers for lunches.

          You could do stuff like roasting a couple pork tenderloins with whatever seasonings you want, then slicing them up thinly to use for sandwiches. Way healthier and more filling than lunchmeat. Same for any roasted meats really.... chicken, turkey, beef.

          Also here's some dish (mostly casseroles and pasta bakes) ideas I've made that have gone over well, and reheated great... I'm a healthy eater so none of these are SUPER bad especially when eaten in the correct portion size... some are less healthy though :)

          Halal Cart Chicken - A Chowhound favorite! http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

          Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta - I add spicy chicken sausage to add more protein/bulk. I ate this last week for 4 lunches in a row and didn't get tired of it. http://www.aspicyperspective.com/2013...

          Enchilada Pasta Casserole - 6 servings, 628 cal per serving, could sub in ground turkey to reduce calories - http://www.tablefortwoblog.com/2012/0...

          Chicken Pesto Lasagna Rolls - http://traceysculinaryadventures.blog...

          Pesto Chicken - Some other Chowhounders have liked this too, I serve with orzo and broccoli and when reheating, I cut up the chicken and mix it in with that so the chicken stays moister http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2010/09/...

          Cheesy Pesto and Chicken Pasta Bake - http://www.dashrecipes.com/recipes/dr...

          Skinny Salisbury Steak w/ Mushroom Gravy - http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/01/sk...

          Taco stuffed Shells (any kind of stuffed shells do great for reheating) - http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2012/...

          Bacon Topped Petite Turkey Meatloaf - http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/07/ba...

          Pepper Steak - http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/07/pe...

          1 Reply
          1. re: juliejulez

            Thank you for all of this! I have been looking all morning for foods with leftovers. My other half works on the railroad and is always needing extra foods to take with him! This was such wonderful help for me! I appreciate it.

            1. Welcome to Chowhound! Last night for dinner I made Chicken Tortilla Casserole from homesick texan that was really delicious. It makes a 9x13 casserole, which is huge for just two people so there will be lots of leftovers, though a microwave is required to reheat them for lunch. I'm not normally much of a Tex-Mex eater, and not normally a casserole baker or eater, but this one and her King Ranch Chicken casserole sound really good to me, and I like the bright flavors of Tex Mex for a change of pace.

              Here's the link:


              1. My husband likes eating leftovers for a big breakfast, so we always make extras for dinner. I find there are some things that don't work well for leftovers, particularly lettucy salads (which tend to go mushy) or fruit salads (brown and gross). Crispy fried stuff may be tasty the next day, but is no longer crispy. Very strongly scented stuff (seafood, some curries, etc) may be tasty, but not well appreciated when you warm them up at work.

                Stews/soups/pastas tend to work well - it's just as easy to make four or six portions of stew as two, sometimes easier, and they tend to reheat well. Beef stew, chili, hearty soups, chicken stew, chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms, spaghetti, pasta with chicken and pesto and vegetables, curry with rice, etc.

                Large chunks of meat, braised, stewed or roasted. Eat some for dinner, slice the rest up for the next day, or frozen for later.

                Bake a couple of extra potatoes, or toss some in along with whatever else you're cooking to have them cool by the next day.

                Make extra large portions of simple vegetable sides - blanched green beans with lemon juice and olive oil, oven roasted cauliflower, roasted tomato halves, grated carrot salad, buttered beets, blanched green leafy vegetables, roasted asparagus spears, etc.

                You can always augment the leftovers with a piece of fruit, a quickly made salad, bread and butter and so on, to fill in whatever you don't have from the leftovers the night before.

                1. When it's on sale, Make a good sized prime rib of beef.

                  Use leftovers to make:

                  > mushroom barley beef soup (use the meat around the bones and the bones themself for this)
                  > sandwiches
                  > beef stews
                  > chili
                  > curry beef

                  1. Chili -- wonderful reheated as is, and you can also turn it into a baked potato topping, burrito, nachos, or taco salad.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Tara57

                      I agree with this idea. If you're concerned about your red meat intake you can make one heavy in. (Or solely of) beans or a white chicken chili. A sufficiently healthy chili can even be part of a "cheat" meal - grab a hot dog from a street vendor and top it with the healthy homemade chili for a combination processed/homemade lunch for the cost of the dog.

                    2. A few more ideas -
                      ~ make a big pot roast when chuck roast is on sale. After a couple of days of leftovers, turn the rest into vegetable beef soup.
                      ~ roast a turkey breast for dinner and use the leftovers for sandwiches and turkey salad.
                      ~ bake a ham when they are on sale, and you can use the leftovers to make sandwiches, salads, soup, pasta dishes, etc.
                      ~ aside from meat dishes, you can make side dishes with your weekend dinner that will be good for a few days to add to your lunches -- tomato and cucumber salad, cole slaw, potato salad, etc. I make a macaroni salad with veggies and heavy on the Old Bay as a side salad on the weekend, and add tuna to the leftovers for lunch the next day.
                      ~ it sounds like soups that you can freeze and salads or sandwiches could be the way to go in your situation.

                      1. You could bake a big slab of salmon, then use the leftovers cold or warm in salad, or in a quesadilla with a little cheese. Flake some for salmon patties or croquettes.

                        1. Puerco Asado is one of my favorites.

                          It's simple and can be served with a side of Moros y Cristianos (black beans and rice) and a salad.

                          Here's a link to a pretty good Puerco Asado recipe at Epicurious:

                          And here's a recipe link to Moros y Cristianos:

                          We usually turn the leftover pork into sandwich meat.

                          Enjoy y'all...

                          1. My Go to leftover dishes are

                            Arroyo Con Pollo

                            Cabbage Rolls - lots of diffrent ways to make them see the recent strings.

                            Stews & Soup - I make 3 gallons of what ever eat for a few days and freeze the rest for when I don't feel like cooking.

                            Lasagne and Back Ziti.

                            1. Thank you everyone!!! I knew I could get lots of ideas if I went on here :)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: KristinLM

                                quiches too, with or without crust. these portion and freeze well and the cheese/meat/veggie possibilities are endless.

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  I've made this crustless quiche many times over the years. Freezes great. And without the crust, it even MWs gently just fine.


                                  And, as you point out, any combo works.

                              2. Quiches are amazing!! Thanks for the recipe!!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: KristinLM

                                  I'd never made more than one at a time..til "WE" (ha!) dropped a carton of eggs on the floor.

                                  1. re: KristinLM

                                    We find a big pot of beans, try making about 3lbs (dry) . Red, black, pink or white. It will last a week in the fridge and freeze well for at least 2 to 3 weeks...we portion it out , much like we do with chili and stewed vegetables. Send along some starch, brown or white rice, baked potato, crusty bread, and you have a real good lunch.
                                    Upthread someone mentioned a ham or turkey....again paring that with some legumes, you can have a varied healthy lunch or dinner with simply adding a green salad.
                                    I do find that I need to eat out once and a while, just to break the monotony of brown bagging it.

                                    And of course...Welcome to Chowhound!

                                  2. A small turkey can go along way. Main meal roasted turkey, from there soup, sandwiches, turkey pot pie.