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12 Recipes to Make Tonight & Turn into Something Brand New Tomorrow

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A fridge stocked full of leftovers is always a reward... except when it's a burden. Like when you're feeding a group of 2 but you made a recipe that serves 6 to 8 and you're stuck eating the same good-tasting but not three-nights' worth over and over again. Like Groundhog's Day.

Leftovers are more of a reward when those leftovers can easily become something entirely new. By picking a versatile, flavor-flexible dish with the leftovers in mind—not just that you will eat them, but that you will cook with them—the prospect of eating "leftovers" for dinner becomes a little more exciting.

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These 12 recipes shift seamlessly into dinners unrecognizable, but just as good, the next day:

Rao's Meatballs
Rao's Meatballs

When leftover meatballs relax into leftover tomato sauce, they can be a filling for lasagna or the sauce for a baked pasta. And, of course, they're happy on a sub.

Andy Ward & Jenny Rosenstrach's Pork Shoulder Ragu
Andy Ward & Jenny Rosenstrach's Pork Shoulder Ragu

You can make the ragu completely ahead, even a day or two before. And whatever is leftover can be served over polenta, in tacos, on sandwiches, or frozen to await more dinners.

Sephardic Megedarra with Garlicky Brown Rice Pilaf
Sephardic Megedarra with Garlicky Brown Rice Pilaf

Food52er Aliwaks turned leftover megedarra into great veggie burgers: Of the 3 cups she had leftover, she blended about 1 cup with an egg, grated carrots, fresh parsley, and cilantro, then folded it into the remaining 2 cups, shaped into patties, and sautéed in olive oil. Leftover megedarra will also take well to the fried rice treatment.

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Leek Risotto
Leek Risotto

Risotto today is arancini tomorrow.

Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes

On night one, make mashed sweet potatoes into a meal by serving them under a salmon fillet, stewy black beans, or a soft-boiled egg or two. The next day, use them to bind veggie burgers, to fluff up dinner rolls, or to add moisture to falafel.

Roy Finamore's Broccoli Cooked Forever

Roy Finamore's Broccoli Cooked Forever by Genius Recipes

Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin and Cilantro

Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin and Cilantro by Emily | Truefood

Broccoli Cooked Forever can become soup cooked in no time. (Same with roasted cauliflower.)

The Best Roast Chicken with Garlic and Herb Pan Sauce
The Best Roast Chicken with Garlic and Herb Pan Sauce

We probably don't need to tell you all the gazillions of ways you can repurpose roast chicken, right?

Crispy Quinoa and Mustard Green Cakes
Crispy Quinoa and Mustard Green Cakes

Crumble any leftover quinoa and mustard green cakes (or fried green meatlessballs, for that matter), then recrisp them on the stove. Mix into a rice casserole; use as the filling for enchiladas, burritos, or quesadillas; or toss into a salad of sturdy greens.

Green Pancakes (Pascadous)
Green Pancakes (Pascadous)

Layer the pancakes in a baking dish lasagna-style, with additional cooked greens, tomato sauce, and mozzarella and/or ricotta cheese. Bake until hot and bubbling.

Smoky Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili
Smoky Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Turn a chunky soup or stew into a flavorful sauce for your grain bowl or roasted vegetables—here's how.

Bucatini all'Amatriciana
Bucatini all'Amatriciana

Whisk together eggs, mix in the leftovers, then transfer to a skillet, and cook on the stove (or in the oven) until set. Voilà: pasta frittata!

Sweet and Savory Overnight Roast Pork
Sweet and Savory Overnight Roast Pork

Enjoy pulled pork as an impressive roast one night, then let the leftovers guide you to sandwiches, tacos, nachos, and huevos rancheros.

Need more ideas for recipes that you can repurpose umpteen times? Look no further!

8 Ways to Butter Up Your Weekday Meals with an Oniony Spread

8 Ways to Butter Up Your Weekday Meals with an Oniony Spread by Samantha Weiss Hills

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A Winter Tomato Schmear and 8 Ways It’ll Save Your Weeknight Meals

A Winter Tomato Schmear and 8 Ways It’ll Save Your Weekni... by Ali Slagle

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The Hands-Off, Any-Time-of-Year Dinner You'll Never Get Bored Of

The Hands-Off, Any-Time-of-Year Dinner You'll Never Get B... by Sarah Jampel

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A Full-Throttle Steak Salad & 8 Ways It’ll Save Dinnertime

A Full-Throttle Steak Salad & 8 Ways It’ll Save Dinnertime by Ali Slagle

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A Lemony, Buttery Chicken to Save Your Week of Meals

A Lemony, Buttery Chicken to Save Your Week of Meals by Briana Riddock

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The One Cabbage Recipe That Will Feed You All Week

The One Cabbage Recipe That Will Feed You All Week by Sarah Jampel

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What's the most versatile, anything-is-possible dinner recipes you know? Tell us in the comments!


Tags: halfway to dinner, dinner