When it comes to packing a healthy, homemade lunch, dinner is your best friend. A good dinner is one that is delicious and generous enough to become lunch the next day. From slow cooker enchiladas to green curry, and vegetarian casseroles to hearty meatloaf, here are 10 of our favorite homemade dinners that also make great homemade lunches.
Personally, I think a good dinner-to-lunch meal has a few specific characteristics:
- It reheats well or is good cold. Some dinners just don't reheat well. Others are no good cold. Some are only good one way (I don't like reheated chicken breasts, for instance, but love them cold and sliced on salads).
- It is easy to eat at your desk. I know many people love lasagna as leftovers, but man, it's hard to eat with a plastic fork! Personally, I like casseroles and pasta dishes that are already in bite-sized pieces.
- It is easy to pack. There's no fussiness or separate container needed. If you need a separate container for the sauce, and another for the topping or a mix-in, eh — too much work. It's better to just be able to throw a portion in a container and go. Double points if it's a complete meal, with starch and veg.
Having said that, here are 10 fabulous dinners from our archives that really work well as lunches.
• 1 Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole - A simple, vegetable-based casserole that gets even more flavorful the next day.
• 2 Peppery Whole Wheat Pasta with Wilted Chard - A generous recipe for vegetarian pasta — it makes plenty for the next day as well.
• 3 Slow Cooker Coconut and Green Curry Pork - Curries and braises just get better as they sit in the fridge. This one is no exception, and since it includes potatoes already, I find that rice is optional.
• 4 Spiced Lamb Meatballs - Make a big batch of these, freeze them, and bake them off as needed.
• 5 How To Make Marvelous Meatloaf - Meatloaf recipes almost always make a lot! Plan ahead and use the leftovers for lunch, maybe sandwiched between two pieces of bread, or crumbled into a pita.
• 6 Slow-Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas - These easy enchiladas are vegetarian and so simple. Plus they are easy to bundle up and carry with you for lunch.
• 7 Chickpea Casserole with Lemon, Herbs and Shallots - This vegetarian casserole makes a generous amount, and it's packed with protein and fresh flavor.
• 8 Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese - Homemade mac and cheese for lunch? Yes please!
• 9 Garlic and Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin - Cold pork tenderloin slices are very good on top of a quick salad.
• 10 Goat Cheese and Swiss Chard Pasta Casserole - One more pasta recipe that makes fantastic leftovers.
What are your favoriet dinner-to-lunch meals? Do you have meals that you cook just for the leftovers?
Related: Odd Couples: Combining Leftovers for Dinner
(Images: See linked recipes for full image credits)
Originally published April 11, 2011