RecipeFilter: Leftovers Edition
December 5, 2019 4:01 PM   Subscribe

I work strange hours, and I’ve found that the best way to keep me fed is to cook a big batch of something on my days off and then have leftovers throughout the week. I’m looking for complete meal recipes that make good leftovers. I have a bunch of standbys, but I’m getting a little bored with them.

I’ve seen most of the recipe questions (And gotten some great recipes from them), but I’m looking specifically for things that make good leftovers.

This time of year, I like casseroles or stratas or other heartier things like that. No food allergies. I don’t like mushrooms, but I can work around them as long as it’s not, like, mushroom casserole or something. And I’ll be taking this to work and reheating it, so fish is not the best choice.

posted by Weeping_angel to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
What are your standbys?
posted by anderjen at 4:08 PM on December 5, 2019

America's Test Kitchen's (content wall)baked ziti (no content wall) is super good. Don't be afraid of the cottage cheese—can confirm that it's better than most grocery store ricotta in this use case. I usually add some sautéed sausage or ground beef to hearten it up.
posted by General Malaise at 4:09 PM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

2 packages frozen spinach thawed & aggressively drained; 8-12 eggs; a significant hunk of feta broken into little bits; some sort of milk (milk, cream, yogurt, whatever); garlic salt; nutmeg. Optional: herbs, sauteed onion, mustard, hash brown potatoes, pepper, sundried tomatoes.

Mix up and bake in pan as a crustless quiche. Keeps great, good hot or cold or room temp.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:09 PM on December 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

I like this short ribs recipe - it is better the next day (and easier to skim the fat). Be sure to get English cut shortribs, not flanken cut. It freezes beautifully in case you don't want to eat beef six days in a row.
posted by vunder at 4:41 PM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

This time of year I often roast a chicken on the weekend along with a big casserole dish of whatever root veggies and company I can lay hands on, chopped into chunks.

First meal is chicken tacos or chicken veg and rice. Next two meals are leftovers of that. Third meal - I sautee an onion and probably some carrots and celery in one pot, strip the chicken and add the meat to another, along with all the drippings and whatever leftover roast veggies remain, and boil the carcass for stock. Usually throw in some greens, like a bag of frozen kale or whatever.

That ends up in a seriously hearty soup/stew situation that lasts the rest of the week.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:49 PM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

This moussaka is a bit of work up front (and a lot of cleanup) but you can make the sauce one day and finish preparing the casserole a day or two later. It makes a lot and it's really delicious, and even better as leftovers.
posted by miaou at 4:57 PM on December 5, 2019

I like leftover saag paneer (with rice or with Trader Joe's naan). Paneer is fairly easy to make, but I usually buy it at a local grocery store.
posted by pinochiette at 5:26 PM on December 5, 2019

Stews! They're not attractive, but they're delicious, hearty, and great leftover, and even frozen.

A hearty lentil stew/soup will make a lot, and produce copious leftovers. I don't make the same lentil soup each time, but this is a good base recipe. Adjust the veggies to your liking: add potato or sweet potato, change spinach to kale or chard or remove completely. I like to add a bit of curry powder to my lentil soup as well. If you like it thinner, add more broth. If you like it thicker, you can blend up some of the soup with an immersion blender.

Split pea soup is quite filling and hearty.

Most pasta dishes are great as leftovers. I find that it adding a splash of water into the container before microwaving helps a lot. Same for rice - add some water, or wet a paper towel and lay it over the rice. It will steam up beautifully.
posted by hydra77 at 5:44 PM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

Beef taco skillet

When we want hot lunches I make a big batch of this. It also freezes fairly well. I usually use ground turkey or chicken. I also sometimes swap out the tortillas for rice.
posted by Nolechick11 at 5:49 PM on December 5, 2019

I do this and two of my winter faves are patstitsio (Greek lasagne with meat, spices, pasta and cheesey white sauce) and chilli con carne. Both taste even better after sitting for a while and should reheat well.
posted by EatMyHat at 6:30 PM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

Navy bean soup with ham and cornbread. They’re are a zillion variants but they are all pretty similar, I think it’s best to use dried beans and a ham steak with a bit of bone. I just use Jiffy cornbread mix because it’s fine and easy.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:13 PM on December 5, 2019

I have this recipe for Spinach Tomato Chorizo Soup. In about twenty minutes you can have a thick hearty soup with only four ingredients (spinach, diced tomatoes, chorizo and an onion). This is not only quick and easy to make, but is tasty - it doesn't last long in my household.
posted by ShooBoo at 7:25 PM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

This Sausage and Sweet Potato Zucchini Lasagna is amazing and great as leftovers. I’m lazy so I often just chop and sauté the zucchini and then mix it all in together for more of a veggie bake rather than using it to make layers.

This Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Cassoulet is delightful and makes great leftovers.

And this Lamb Stew with Chickpeas and Butternut Squash is amazing as leftovers, especially with a hunk of crusty bread to mop up the last bits of stew in the bowl.
posted by bananacabana at 10:01 PM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

My winter eat-all-week standbys:

pork and apple pie with a cheddar sage crust (have been trying this with a diary-free crust and turkey since my spouse doesn't mix meat and dairy; still trying to perfect that variation)

black bean pumpkin soup (kinda like this but I mostly wing it; kale or spinach is a nice addition; basically any squash will sub in fine; sweet potato is also a nice sub)

brown rice casserole with tomatoes and feta (I double the recipe and often sub barley and cheddar) from Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll pair it with a green veggie, either frozen or fresh cooked, usually broccoli.

rice and beans or beans and cornbread or chompy-chomp black bean soup (doubles well) and cornbread (collard greens or kale optional but delicious)
posted by carrioncomfort at 5:58 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was going to make oxtail stew today, and went down to buy some celeriac both for the stew and to add to mashed potatoes. Then there was an amazing offer on leg of lamb, and I bought one, even though it is far too big for the three of us. So now we may have food for the rest of the week: today I will roast the lamb a la boulangere. Tomorrow I will make a hash of the lamb leftovers, enough for two days so we can have it again during the week, but I'll save som meat for sandwiches and salads for some days. I have duck fat, so I'll make fries on sandwich/salad days. Sunday I will finally make the oxtail stew with a lot of potato-celeriac mash, and if there are leftovers from that, I'll make a shepherds pie out of it.
There are mays and ifs up there because I never know how many we are, it can vary from 1 to 6. I live with young adults who have boyfriends. It seems like you can plan better.
People who live alone rarely make that traditional Sunday roast, and I certainly wouldn't have bought a huge leg of lamb if I were alone, but I might well have bought a shoulder if it were on sale - or another type of roast meat like whole chicken or beef. I love leftovers and sandwiches and salads with a little meat on top (this link is just for inspiration), and leftover roast something is really easy to deal with during the week. When I read the above, it looks like a very protein heavy solution, but the whole point is that the meat is stretched with lots of starch and veg. We've been vegetarian for a year, last year, and we still eat 80 % vegs day to day.
Also, during the weekend, I wash and bag salad greens. IMO it doesn't last all week,but it does give a head start, and if I'm really busy or tired during the end of the week, I'll buy ready prepped vegs, frozen or fresh.
Finally, we don't have a lot of money, so part of our meal "planning" is about saving money. I go for bargains, and plan accordingly.
posted by mumimor at 7:00 AM on December 6, 2019

This eggplant parmesan is the best I've ever tasted, including at restaurants. It is a lot of work, but it makes a huge amount --- the filled dish probably weighed at least 10 pounds. I made it for a dinner party, so we didn't have a ton of leftovers after we sent some home with the guests, but I think it would have frozen fairly well even after baking. The refrigerated leftovers we did have were delicious on the first and second days, and then they were gone :)
posted by slenderloris at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I like this recipe for beef stew with barley. If you have trouble finding beef shank at your local supermarket, you may have better luck at an Asian supermarket and/or butcher.

I also often make a kind of bean.... stew? soup? I don't have a link to a recipe but it goes more or less like this:

1 pkg Hurst 15-bean mix
1 28oz can tomatoes
1 to 1.5 lb carrots, diced
1 big onion, diced
1 or 2 bunches of kale, collards, chard, or similar, torn up into smaller pieces
a few stalks of celery, diced
1 to 2 lbs of ham steak, shoulder bacon, regular bacon, BBQ pulled pork, or similar, diced
Season with whatever (I like worcestershire sauce, various hot sauces, cayenne, black pepper, some bay leafs, etc...)

Just cook it all together in the usual way (though you should definitely wilt the greens before adding to the pot).

It's a very forgiving recipe so you can add, subtract, or substitute with whatever you like. I'll often leave out the celery because I'm not always keen on it. If I'm feeling fancy, I might put in some eggplant. Sometimes I'll throw in some hot peppers (serranos or jalapenos) if I want some more spiciness. If you leave out the meat, you should probably add more seasonings since the ham or bacon add a lot of flavoring on their own.

Also, depending on the moisture content of the veggies, there's a chance it might turn out a little dry so you can add in some water or stock. If you like it more like a soup than a stew, then you'll definitely want to add in at least a cup or two of extra liquid.
posted by mhum at 8:57 AM on December 6, 2019

buy a 4-5 pound trimmed brisket. Stab in with a fork on all sides. mix 1/2 t celery salt, 1/2 onion salt, 1/2 t garlic salt and rub all over. Mix 8 T liquid smoke, 8T worchestire 6 T ketchup 6T mustard and pour over. Cover and marinate overnight.

Cook covered at 250 for 5 hours or so. Use an a main dish with whatever sides, then over noodles, in sandwiches and in tacos/quesadillas the rest of the times. Would even make good breakfast burritos.
posted by domino at 8:57 AM on December 6, 2019


Bigos, often translated into English as hunter's stew, is a Polish dish of chopped meat of various kinds stewed with sauerkraut and shredded fresh cabbage. It is served hot and can be enriched with vegetables, spices or wine.
posted by dancing leaves at 12:08 PM on December 6, 2019

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