5 Leftover-Friendly Recipes That Help Me Master Weeknight Dinners

5 Leftover-Friendly Recipes That Help Me Master Weeknight Dinners

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Meghan Splawn
Aug 15, 2017
(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Leftovers might be the secret to manageable home cooking. Much like meal prep, leftovers are made while you're already cooking one meal and save time when cooking the next, but unlike meal prep they don't require you block out a few hours of time once a week. Make the most of your Monday dinner prep and you'll have something easy to prepare for other nights of the week. Here are the five recipes that I always cook for their leftovers and some ideas for turning them into other meals.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Roast Pork Loin = Sheet Pan Cubanos

These sheet pan Cubano sandwiches have been a favorite in my house for nearly two years — this is my husband's favorite sandwich, after all — but I got pretty tired of ordering roasted pork from our deli. The roasted pork loin is easy but hearty, making it a wonderful respite from Sunday suppers that are usually the long, meditative types.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Sheet Pan Steak Frites = Steak Sliders

Don't be scared off by the price of steak — just make sure it's doing double duty for dinner. Sirloin tends to be affordable, but you can use the same technique for flank steak too. Make the sheet pan steak and fries one evening and then carefully reheat the steak for sandwiches later in the week.

Learn how: The Best Way to Reheat a Steak

(Image credit: Brie Passano)

Roast Chicken = White Chicken Chili

Roasting a whole chicken on a Sunday afternoon and then eating it slowly with wine and good bread in the evening is one of life's simplest pleasures, only made better by the promise of its bounty of leftovers. A roast chicken can serve you well for quick chicken salad, but I love it for white chicken chili.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Baked Brown Rice = Weeknight Fried Rice

We've started adding more grain bowls to our dinner rotation recently — throwing whatever roasted or pickled vegetables we have on hand and a fried egg or leftover chicken on top of brown rice. Then the cooked brown rice is chilled and awaits its second act: fried rice (which actually requires leftover rice in order to be crunchy and delicious).

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Leftover Pasta = Baked Ziti

To be completely honest, we already have pasta for dinner at least once a week. I can pair it with any number of vegetables or proteins and my kids are guaranteed to eat it. I always make extra pasta for lunches and just recently discovered that the best way to reheat pasta is in baked ziti.

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