17 Meals to Make with Leftovers

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Don’t have time to whip up a meal from scratch? Want to make wallet-friendly recipes work double duty? Planning meals that supply good-for-you leftovers is a smart strategy for staying healthy and saving money.

Some of these recipes can simply be reheated and served, adding a different side dish to mix things up. Others can be served as a slightly different version on the second day. For example, prepare Slow Cooker Beef Tips with brown rice, and then put a twist on the next meal by serving the tips in a whole wheat roll. No matter which recipe you try, you can be confident you’re enjoying a meal that’s friendly on your budget and good for your health.

1. Slow Cooker Beef Tips
Serve these yummy tips with healthy brown rice or whole wheat egg noodles. Then turn the leftovers into a sandwich by warming the tips and scooping them into a whole wheat roll. Pair the sandwich with a green salad or Sweet Potato Fries.

2. Skinny Lasagna Rolls
When you need ideas for meals with leftovers, this is the perfect dish because it tastes as good on day two as it does on day one. (HINT: Freeze a few rolls before cooking for an easy dinner another week.)

3. Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Roast
This is a classic recipe that transforms into tasty leftovers. Roll leftover chicken into a lettuce leaf and top with a little shredded cheese.

4. Mexican-Style Vegetarian Loaf
Green chili peppers, beans, and Mexican spices make for a fiber-filled, protein-packed dinner. But you’ll also love this recipe because it creates a delicious sandwich, which tastes great topped with our healthy Barbecue Sauce.

5. Mediterranean Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serve hot for a healthy dinner one night, then serve the leftovers cold for a yummy pasta salad. It’s all the Italian taste you love—without the excess fat.

MORE: Roasted Broccoli with Red Peppers

6. Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken
This fan-favorite slow cooker recipe is a winner when it comes to leftover meals. Enjoy it with brown rice or quinoa the first night, and then put leftovers into a whole wheat wrap or roll for the next.

Burrito in a Jar

7. Skinny Burrito in a Jar
When you want a light, easy dinner that’s done in about five minutes, this should be on your go-to recipe list. Scoop leftovers into a whole wheat wrap for a tasty second act lunch or dinner.

8. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Seasonal Vegetables
This is one of our favorite leftover meals. Enjoy the superfood-packed recipe for dinner, and then add the leftovers to a Mason Jar for a light lunch or dinner the next day. Learn the 6 Steps to Perfect Quinoa.

MORE: Baked Zucchini Fritters

9. Pasta
Have you ever cooked enough pasta to feed a non-existent army? Yeah, we’ve all been there. Put leftovers to work by adding a little salad dressing and lots of veggies to the cooked pasta for a tasty, frugal lunch or dinner.

Grilled Chicken and Blueberry Salad

10. Grilled Chicken
Grilled chicken is a standby in many homes because it prepares quickly and you can season it with whatever healthy ingredients you have on hand. Make grilled chicken a two-fer meal by cooking extra and adding the leftovers to recipes like this Grilled Chicken and Blueberry Salad or Apricot and Almond Chicken Salad. Another option is to mix the chicken into this Panzanella Salad with Arugula.

11. Cauliflower Stir-Fry
This is a smart choice if you’re on a vegan, low-carb, Paleo, or gluten-free diet. It’s also a tasty meal—hot or cold—the following day.

Skinny Quinoa with Black Beans

12. Quinoa with Black Beans
Superfoods quinoa and black beans make this a meal worthy of leftovers. Top this healthy recipe with avocado for extra taste and superfood power. Prepare this for dinner one night, and then reheat for lunch or dinner the next day.

13. Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad
Easy-peasy prep makes this recipe a healthy dinner choice, but it’s even yummier the following day, after the flavors have had a chance to blend.

14. Skillet Chicken and Quinoa Supper
When you want meals with leftovers, put this recipe on your list. With simple one-pan prep and superfood nutrition, it’s a smart option for a double-duty dish.

MORE: Crazy Good Sautéed Mushrooms

Slow Cooker Lasagna

15. Slow Cooker Lasagna
Lasagna is always a good dish for leftovers—the problem is many recipes are heavy on fat and calories. Get your leftover fix with this slow cooker version, which is lighter and healthier than the recipe you inherited from grandma.

16. Skinny Quinoa Skillet Supper
This healthy recipe, which delivers complete protein and complex carbs, tastes just as good on day two. It’s a vegetarian dish, so prepare it on Meatless Monday, and then enjoy a Meatless Tuesday with the leftovers.

17. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes- Southwestern Style
Bake these as a side for dinner, but cook an extra or two for lunch or dinner the following day. Add toppings right before serving.

Leftover meals are friendly on the budget—but when you choose healthy recipes, they’re friendly on the waistline, too! Make your next dinner a two-fer with one of these meals.

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