I am all about laziness—I mean, industriousness—and because of that, I love making dinners that I can use as leftovers later. Some things (salads) don’t keep quite as well as others (fruitcake), but it’s usually possible to find recipes that occupy a happy medium and can bail you out in a time crunch.
If you find yourself without the time to cook 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, these dishes are perfect for you. Get in the kitchen once and eat for days.
Door Number 1: Soup
Soup is a classic for good reason. It’s quick to make, it stays well in the fridge or the freezer, and it’s extremely simple to cook up a giant batch and use it for meal after meal. Soup is also incredibly versatile—in almost any soup recipe, you can add or subtract basically whatever you want (don’t like celery? Try some zucchini!) and it will still turn out tasting great. Plus, you don’t even know how much better it is than soup in the can until you’ve made it yourself and experienced the difference. A good starting point is this potato soup, which is All Recipes’s highest-rated soup recipe.
Door Number 2: Rice
My personal favorite thing to do with rice is to cook a huge pan of fried rice with tons of vegetables and bits of chicken or tofu, and then keep the leftovers for my lunches all week. Following this recipe will give you great Chinese fried rice. If you prefer a more Indian flava, leave out the soy sauce, sub the sesame oil with another type of oil (canola or mustard is good), and add turmeric, cumin, chili powder, and pepper.
Making a really big pot of rice and then keeping the plain leftovers can also give you a quick base for almost any meal down the road. To get the most out of your rice, try soaking it in clean cold water for 20-30 minutes before you boil it.
Door Number 3: Casserole
In Minnesota we call this “hot dish,” but whatever you call it, it’s the same thing: the ultimate American comfort food. The definition is so nebulous that it can cover practically anything—chicken and rice, macaroni and cheese, lasagna, etc. Whichever you choose, they are easy to make and big enough to last you through the week. I’m not a fan of tuna, but this tuna casserole was developed by a college student, so it already passes the “quick, easy, and edible” test. And it does look really good…. Mmmm.
So there you have it, ladies. No more wasting money on carry-out, or eating a bag of Doritos for dinner; now you can cook one time and be set for the week ahead. Just heat up those leftovers, and dig in!
[Image courtesy of anthearowe.com.]