April 11, 2011

Cook Once, Serve Twice – Time Saving Meals

Cook Once, Serve Twice - Time Saving Meals

I love to cook. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time for it. So, I’m always on the look out for “double duty” meals. Things that I can cook once and serve twice.

The other night, I made Pasta Primavera (basically, spaghetti topped with sauteed veggies). The leftover zucchini, red onion, grape tomatoes, eggplant, and spinach went into omelettesĀ for breakfast the next day and they were yummy!

Getting creative with leftovers makes it feel like you aren’t eating leftovers. The trick is to make the first night’s meal as generic as possible and using the leftovers to accent a totally new meal. If your house is anything like mine, there usually aren’t enough leftovers to serve the same thing again and getting creative is the only option.

Other things I like to make that perform double duty –

  • Crock-Pot Beef Chuck Roast on the first night, shredded beef tacos or BBQ beef sandwiches the next.
  • Roasted Chicken on the first night, chicken and dumplings on the next.
  • Corned beef on the first night, hash on the next.
  • Ham on the first night, Bow tie Pasta with Ham and Asparagus the next.

    What are some of your favorite double duty meals?

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    • Colleen

      Leftover whole roasted chicken makes great tacos the next day. I season the meat with cumin and garlic or use a seasoning packet.

    • Debi

      I make meatloaf and the next meal crumble it into speghetti sauce for meat sauce on pasta. Funny my kids never like meatloaf, but love the speghetti (not knowing it’s meatloaf in the sauce).

    • Kristi

      Leftover chicken breast for chicken noodles soup. Leftover veggies for a big everything salad or stew. I like these suggestions!

    • Shar

      I like to use left over roast beef, dust it in flour and put in frying pan over med heat until the flour disappears. Then add a cup or 2 of beef bouillion and mushrooms. Let it thicken over med-low heat. Add a couple tablespoons sour cream after you remove it from the heat. Serve your stroganoff over rice or noodles!

    • @Shar: That sounds wonderful — and so easy! Now I’m hungry for both roast beef AND stroganoff. šŸ˜›
      Like Colleen, I roast one chicken and then turn it into several leftover-y dishes. Burritos: Cut-up chicken mixed with black beans, salsa and a little cream cheese on the tortillas.
      Stir-fry: With whatever vegetables I have on hand, so it changes constantly.
      Chili: I find chicken breast meat to be a little dry the next day, so I dice it and use it to flavor chili. It’s very cheap because I start by cooking pinto beans in the slow cooker, then drain and add the chicken, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce (once I was out, so I used a can of tomato soup — interesting flavor) and spices. I stretch this by serving it over rice. I’m told that in Cincinnati they serve chili over macaroni. And if you want real comfort food, try pouring chili over mashed potatoes.
      Oh, and I save the bones and the pan juices and put them in the slow cooker overnight with the water that I’ve saved from cooking vegetables. (I freeze it.) Drain and chill the next day, skim off the fat, and turn into chicken soup or minestrone. Sometimes I add a can or carton of chicken broth; the last three cartons have been organic broth that I got for free with double coupons. I love a cheap meal.

    • I think I need to make lunch now. All of these sound delish!

    • Jerry

      Leftover pot roast is one of the most versatile dishes. I use the meat for shredded beef enchiladas, tacos and burritos. Because the second meal is so much different, it doesn’t even feel like a “leftovers” meal.

    • Barbara

      Dice leftover ham and mix with cheese tortellini, alfredo sauce and peas (frozen, not canned). Fast and tasty!

    • Belinda

      I cook spaghetti sauce in a crockpot. I fry the hamburger or sausage first then let it cook all day so it is incredibly tender. We have a nice spaghetti dinner that night. With the leftovers I make spaghetti bake, which is a lot different. My kids love it. For the spaghetti bake I use pam on a 9 x 13 pan, put the cooked spaghetti in the bottom, cover it with sauce, then put at least a pound (sometimes two) of shredded cheddar cheese on top. I cover it with foil, crimping the edges very tight, then I bake it at 350* for about an hour.

    • One of my daughters is a vegetarian. She loves when we have leftover mashed potatoes because she will use them to make potato filled tacos.

    • Oh, yeah! And leftover plain white or brown rice! Here is one of my family’s favorites.


    • Tammy

      Whenever I make homemade bisquits, I make extras for bisquits and gravy for breakfast.

    • Katheryn Ruiz

      RICE and Pasta Sauce…..
      Whenever I order chinese or make a pot of rice, there is always left over. Same with homemade pasta sauce which I jar and put in the fridge. Best 2nd meal for both is stuffed peppers. I use either raw chop meat or chopped zucchini/squash mixed with the rice. Cut the pepper tops off and empty contents of peppers into garbage. Stuff each pepper with the rice mixture. Place peppers into a deep baking dish and cover with pepper lid and then with pasta sauce. Sprinkle with parm. cheese and back for about 35 – 40 minutes.

      You can also cook the peppers in a pot on the stove. Place peppers standing upright with pepper lids on top. Fill pot with the leftover sauce and bring to a boil again. W

      In both cases peppers should be soft with a puncture of a fork.

      HEY – you could stuff your peppers with the left ov

      Good eating.

    • Katheryn Ruiz

      Hey another thought…. mix the rice with the leftover primavera veggies too. YUMMY….. I might have to try that new stuffed pepper.


    • BETTY

      Oh, does that look good…the veg….extra can be used in so many second dishes/another time…in homemade soup/a veg pizza/in side of dumplings/peppers/middle of a meat loaf/even some pot pies…..oh, can the imagination take you many places/meals.

      Friends mom is Lebonise…..I’ll try and remember to send you a link to lots of there recipes…mouth watering food. Lots of ingredients Im learning about. Im amazed at some of the meat on a stick etc….

    • ruth

      leftover rice is good in an omelet. chinese fried rice in an omelet is even better. it started out as an experiment many years ago. now it’s a tradition.

    • Gloria Turner

      Sounds good. Never thought of it. Like veggies and omelets.

    • Kathy

      Cook a beef roast…..next day have French Dip Sandwiches.
      Cook a pork roast…..next day throw it in a crock pot with BBQ sauce and serve BBQ pork sandwiches.
      I buy those chickens that are roasted at Costco. We have that for dinner and the next day make home made chicken soup.
      If I am cooking chicken for dinner I cook a couple extra chicken breasts. There is so much you can create with them. Even serve a big salad with chicken.
      Some of these are great for warm nights…and of course the soup is great for those cold nights. Even if I don’t want to make the soup, I always cook it up and make stock for my soup and freeze it. When I need a fast dinner, heat it up, add a small bag of carrots and noodles and instant soup!
      I do the same with my left over ham and bone. I always make the stock and put it in the freezer for later.

    • Kyla

      I prep lettuce, tomato, cheese etc for a salad then use leftovers to top tacos for lunch/dinner the next day then use leftover seasoned taco meat to toss into burritos, chili or nachos. I also make more than enough sauce for a lasagne then use the extra sauce over pasta or as pizza sauce.

    • Sandra

      Karen that looks really good and healthy. So do you just saute all those vegetables in olive oil/how many minutes and toss over the pasta?

    • @Sandra Yes, I love using fresh veggies instead of meat in pasta dishes. SO does my vegetarian daughter! lol I use about a tbs of olive oil in a very ot skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes or so, just until the veggies are a little browned but still crisp. They don’t taste as good when they are overcooked and mushy. I add the tomatoes last, because they just need a quick searing.

      You can serve them over traditional spaghetti with marinara sauce or pasta with butter and garlic sauce.

    • Rosemary Simm

      Karen, Your pasta primavera looks wonderful.
      When I make chili, it’s in a large quanity. A lot of it gets frozen for later. I like to take hash brown patties that have been cooked, put a layer of our favorite cheese (american) on the hot hash browns and then smother with hot chili. I finish it off with minced onions. If I don’t have any premade hash browns available, I’ll make hamburger patties as the bottom layer.

      This is a very filling meal.

    • Elena

      Leftover rice most often becomes Chicken Fried Rice in our house. Just saute the cold rice in a little oil, add in any vegetables (leftover alert!), soy sauce, a couple scrambled eggs, cooked chicken, pepper, and whatever else you would like, highly versatile and easy to heat up if you eat at different times.
      We also use left over tamales for breakfast, by chopping and adding to a skillet for an egg scramble. Top the warm eggs/tamales with shredded cheese and hot sauce. Yum!

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