FOOD

10 Easy Dinners That Make Awesome Leftovers

Added bonus: some of these are healthier the next day.

10/01/2017 5:39 AM AEDT | Updated 10/01/2017 2:00 PM AEDT

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In an ideal world, we would meal prep and have all our week's lunches ready to go every Sunday night. But some of us just don't have the time (or inclination) to do so.

That's where dinners that double up as leftovers come in.

Unlike burgers or tacos (*sigh*), these 10 dinners make awesome leftovers -- in fact, they even taste better, and some are actually more nutritious, the following day. Plus, you'll be saving all the cashola you usually spend on buying lunch every day.

1. Pasta

Spag bol is a classic dinner dish that makes delicious leftovers for lunch. Simply double (or, for more lunches, quadruple) your favourite recipe. To switch things up, go for a recipe you've never tried before, like spicy arrabiata penne or vegan pea pesto pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and rocket.

On top of being delicious, did you know that eating reheated cooked pasta is actually healthier? Cooking pasta, cooling it and reheating changes the structure of the pasta, turning it into "resistant starch". This type of starch is resistant to the normal enzymes in our gut that break down carbs and releases glucose, which typically causes a spike in blood sugar. The same goes for potatoes, too.

Minimalist Baker
Pasta gets a double win.

2. Curry

Curry is one of those dishes that tastes more incredible as time goes on. The flavours seem to marry and develop, making each sitting slightly different. Curries are also super simple to make. All you need to do is chuck everything in a pot and let it simmer for as long as you like. If you want the benefits of resistance starch, be sure to add potatoes to your curry.

Here's an Indian chicken curry recipe and easy chana masala. If you want to go down the southeast Asian route, try this Thai green curry recipe.

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Make your own naan bread as an alternative to rice.

3. Lasagna

Not only is lasagna the ultimate comfort food, but it also makes perfect leftovers for lunch. Make a big lasagna, divvy up the portions and pop them in the fridge or freezer for lunch throughout the week.

Try this classic lasagna recipe, or an easy veggie filled version, or even a completely vegan lentil and eggplant lasagna recipe.

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To make this dish healthier, sub the lasagna sheets for the wholemeal variety or vegetable slices.

4. Shepherd's pie

Feel like something hearty without the fuss? Shepherd's pie is one of the easiest warming meals you can chuck together. Simply cook your base (you can use meat or lentils with veggies, or just plain veg), top it with creamy potato mash (more resistant starch!) and bake until golden.

Try this Shepherd's pie with crispy potato, or this failproof vegan Shepherd's pie.

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You can make these in individual ramekin dishes for easy portioning.

5. Chilli con carne

While it might be difficult to take tacos or burritos to work (without major spillage and sogginess), you can bring those delicious flavours in the form of chilli con carne. To make a pot of hearty chilli con carne, all you need to do is chuck in beans, meat, veggies, herbs and spices, and simmer until rich and delicious.

Here's a classic chilli con carne recipe, or a tasty meat free version for vegos.

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Sprinkle with cheese and spring onions.

6. Stir fry

For a lighter dinner/lunch, try one of the countless delectable stir fry recipes out there. Tip: to keep the veggies crisp, reduce the stir frying time so, by the time you've reheated the meal, they will still be fresh.

Here's a chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe, a chicken noodle stir fry and teriyaki peanut tofu stir fry.

Iain Bagwell
Serve with brown rice to make this extra filling and nutritious.

7. Pizza

We all want and need pizza every now and again. Make or buy a pizza base (go for wholemeal if you can), add your favourite toppings, bake until crispy and portion into containers. As long as you reheat your pizza correctly (on a sandwich toaster is ideal), your pizza will be amazing.

Here's a recipe for the easiest wholemeal pizza dough if you feel like starting from scratch. For toppings, try a classic Margherita or for a more nutritious lunch option, give this eggplant, pesto and goat's cheese pizza a go.

lambada
YUM.

8. Stew

Stews might not look the prettiest (compared to pizza anyway) but they are delicious, especially when they've been slow cooked for hours. And there's an array of flavour-packed recipes to try to suit your taste preferences.

From African chicken peanut stew and spring chicken and citrus stew, to lentil and quinoa stew and caraway-spiced chickpea stew with mint yoghurt, these recipes are anything but ordinary.

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This eggplant stew with dates and chickpeas looks scrumptious.

9. Roast chicken with veggies

To bring those Sunday roast vibes through the week, why not roast a chicken with tonnes of herbs, garlic and veggies. Once the roast is done, carve the meat into appropriate portions and serve with the vegetables in containers for the next few days.

Here's Julia Child's favourite roast chicken recipe. For an easier version, try this juicy roasted chicken recipe using just six ingredients.

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Use herbs like rosemary and thyme to flavour your chicken roast.

10. Stuffed capsicums

If you haven't already, you need to try capsicums stuffed with flavourful fillings from your favourite cuisines. Play around with various fillings (try different types of grains, herbs, spices, vegetables and protein), stuff into hollowed out capsicums and roast until tender.

Need ideas? Try these Greek style stuffed capsicums, Indian style stuffed capsicums and Middle Eastern stuffed capsicums.

Thomas Barwick
The flavour opportunities are endless.

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