Next Week’s Meal Plan: 5 Family-Friendly Dinners with Leftovers for Lunch

updated May 29, 2019
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Credit: From Left to Right: Christine Han, Maria Siriano, Joe Lingeman

Welcome to Next Week’s Meal Plan! I want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking one or a family of eight. That’s why, as promised, this series is shifting — every week I’ll be answering reader requests and sharing meal plans that you want to see. And it’s not too late — tell me what kinds of meal plans you want to see in the comments below.

Both adults and little eaters will enjoy this meal plan, which is packed with family favorites like pasta salad and veggie frittatas. It also leaves you with the best kind of leftovers — ones that are just as delicious eaten cold, ideal for packing for lunch.

Take your pick between serving this dinner hot or cold (it’s great both ways!), then pack up the extras for a cold lunch. A jar of store-bought pesto keeps this weeknight dinner fast and easy, although if you’re up for it you can make your own with any herbs or greens you have. The recipe easily serves four adults, but it’s not a bad idea to scale it up so that you’ll have ample leftovers, which will keep in the fridge for several days.

I almost always make soba noodles with leftovers in mind, because if there’s one thing better than a plate of warm, saucy noodles, it’s a cold soba noodle salad. Opt for a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking chicken breasts, which makes for a faster dinner and bulks up the leftovers.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

The beauty of frittatas is that they’re just as delicious eaten warm, at room temperature, or pulled straight from the fridge. Serve this big-batch frittata with a simple green salad or a side of roasted potatoes to round out dinner, then divvy up the leftovers for lunch. Repurpose in a sandwich or atop a salad, or simply enjoy it as is.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

This slow cooker supper is a winner when you don’t have the time to tend to the stovetop. Serve up dinner as chicken tacos or a simple burrito bowl, then repurpose the leftovers by stuffing them into a tortilla or pita with some veggies or over some greens.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Not only does this pie work more veggies into pizza night, but it’ll also help you clear out the leftovers in the crisper. If you have time, make a simple homemade dough, otherwise opt for the convenience of store-bought.


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About Next Week’s Meal Plan

Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But I’m a firm believer that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. So whether you’re just learning to meal plan or you’re already a tried-and-true pro, I’m here to help you solve the question of what to cook for the week ahead. Every week, I’ll be sharing a new meal plan — either how I’m feeding my own family, or a meal plan solution specifically customized for you.