While we love meal prep as much as the next person, the idea of spending your Sunday afternoon in the kitchen can seem a little crazy if you’re also cooking dinner for 30-plus minutes every night. (Not to mention, the same chicken breast and mixed veggies can get boring five lunches in a row.) That’s why we love the ease of cook once, eat twice recipes. With plenty of servings for leftovers, don’t be surprised if they taste better on day two!
11 Cook Once, Eat Twice Recipes to Maximize Meal Prep
Baked pasta is a classic cook once, eat twice option with a standard recipe making six to eight servings or more. We love that this healthy, vegetarian take packs in the protein with lentils, and also sneaks in a few time-saving hacks, like store-bought sauce and pre-shredded cheese. Simply divide up the servings and freeze if eight is too many for you to finish in a week. Photo and recipe: Kathryne Taylor / Cookie and Kate
Tonight’s grilled veggies skewers can easily be made-over into tomorrow’s salad topper, the main ingredient in a Buddha bowl or a variety of other main dishes. And don’t forget, the chimichurri sauce can also play a co-starring role alongside steak, portobello burgers, on pizza, or as a sauce for just about anything else you can think up. To help you save even more time in the kitchen, snag these Stainless Steel Herb Scissors ($12) to mince the fresh cilantro and parsley in the chimichurri sauce. Photo and recipe: Dana Shultz / Minimalist Baker
This four-serving dinner is a mid-week lifesaver at just 30 minutes for a well-rounded chicken and veggie meal. The sauces in this dish keeps the chicken moist as you nuke it for delicious leftovers.Don’t forget to enjoy with some hearty, rustic bread to soak up that extra sauce. Photo and recipe: Denise / Sweet Peas and Saffron
Yes, fish leftovers… Hear us out. The sumptuous white wine sauce will keep the fish nice and moist the next day and delivers an additional dose of heart-boosting benefits. If you cringe at the thought of stinking up the office microwave, choose one of the less “fishy” fish, like arctic char, rainbow trout or haddock. Need a helping hand? Use this Herb Mill & Grinder ($19) to mince the fresh parsley or basil. It’ll also help you adjust the amount of herbs you want in your dish so you don’t overseason. Photo and recipe: Karina Carrel / Cafe Delites
A restaurant favorite resembling calorie-bomb fettucine alfredo gets a healthier makeover, thanks to milk and cream cheese instead of heavy cream. Bell peppers and mushrooms also amp up the nutrient intake over the standard “white pasta and chicken” version. Enjoy this four-serving dish as warm and healthy leftovers for up to four days. Photo and recipe: Erin Dooner / Texanerin
The only thing better than recipes that make for awesome leftovers are when leftovers are a main ingredient in a recipe. Not following? Enter: chicken enchiladas. This crazy simple recipe calls for a cooked and shredded chicken breast. Simply cook up an extra breast whenever you’re already making chicken, and enjoy enchiladas the next day for dinner. Work ahead and grate an extra batch of cheese to sprinkle over leftovers or other dishes. This 4-in-1 Foldable Slicer and Grater ($22) allows you to shred your cheese coarsely, finely or as a ribbon cut with true efficiency. Photo and recipe: Emily Grace / Grace and Good Eats
Don’t worry, Paleo dieters, we haven’t forgotten about you! This Paleo chili recipe is ideal for enjoying several meals, since the extra time in the fridge is a chance for flavors to simmer together even longer. The recipe is also incredibly simple with a convenient 8-hour cook time in the crock pot and no mid-cook steps to worry about. Top with lime, cilantro and avocado. Photo and recipe: Lisa Wells / Cook Eat Paleo
Asian takeout makes for the most delicious second meals (best served cold, obviously), but they’re not always the healthiest. That’s why we love this healthier take on teriyaki. What to do with your leftover chicken: Top a pizza with it, make quesadillas, serve up Asian tacos or enjoy it on a salad. Drool! Photo and recipe: Sonali Ruder / The Foodie Physician
This foil packet dinner of chicken and rice offers so much versatility for leftovers. Looking for another night’s dinner? Save the uncooked packets for the freshest results. Or after cooking, slide all the food of one packet into your lunch container and reheat them together (hooray for easy lunch packing!). Of course, if you work from home, you can always cook the prepacked packet in the oven for a hearty, hot lunch. Photo and recipe: Layla Atik / Gimme Delicious Food
We can’t say enough good things about homemade versions of Asian takeout staples. This take on tofu with hoisin sauce features coconut or date sugar for sweetness and a ton of veggies — carrots, scallions and bell peppers. But feel free to throw in anything else you have on hand. Photo and recipe: Anetta / The Wanderlust Kitchen
What we love most about this healthy bowl recipe is that you can either keep things simple — serving up the leftovers the exact same way as the main event — or remix it Swap in grains for greens as the base. Or, throw them into a tortilla as a creative take on a burrito. Note that the potatoes and broccoli go into the oven at separate times to keep everything cooking evenly. Photo and recipe: Deb Perelman / Smitten Kitchen
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