Being a single-serving cook in a makes-four-servings world can be frustrating. Terrified of an entire week's worth of leftover pot roast? Does a whole roast chicken make you shudder? Then plan for it.
With a little strategizing you can easily turn one meal into three, each with its own distinct flavor. When you already have cooked pork or chicken, you're ahead of the game. Making dinner will be a snap.
Roast chicken can easily do triple-duty. On the first night, roast it with some potatoes and rosemary — the whole house will smell like heaven.
The next day, slice up some of the breast, lay it across some hearts of romaine, top with Caesar salad dressing and parmesan shavings and you have an uptown, tasty lunch right from your fridge. That night, use soft tortillas to make a chicken quesadilla with the last of the chicken. Throw in canned black beans from your pantry, and top with salsa and sour cream. Take a bite and savor your genius.
A big steak, like a London Broil, can be reinvented over several meals. On the first night, rub it with a spice mix, pop it in the broiler or on the grill and delight in slices of juicy steak.
The next day, layer some slices on a ciabatta roll, add blue cheese and sliced tomato and enjoy a hearty, big-flavor lunch that would cost a fortune at a restaurant. That night, sauté the last of the steak with sliced onions, peppers, and Mexican seasonings and serve on warm tortillas: you have fajitas.
Cook a pork tenderloin and then go international. For your next three meals, enjoy a southern-style Pulled Pork Sandwich, Asian Pork Chow Mein and Cuban Style Pork with Papaya Mango Salsa.
When you have a refrigerator full of leftovers and no ideas for dinner, try these easy options:
- Throw everything in a salad. Toss in vegetables or herbs, add a little protein — chicken breast, tofu or cottage cheese — and you are good to go.
- Embrace eggs. You can put anything in an omelet — cheese, herbs, chopped vegetables, ham, or sausage. Leftovers wrapped up in a soft, creamy omelet, are transformed into a little bite of heaven. Just remember to heat the filling ingredients first. Poached eggs can makeover a salad of wilted greens or a plate of bean stew — just put them on top and eat.
Try these egg recipes that serve one or two, or can be scaled down for the solo cook.
- Apple Smoked Bacon, White Cheddar and Potato Omelet
- Egg White Omelet with Corn, Turkey Bacon, and Green Salsa
- Salad with Poached Eggs and Bacon Dressing
- Roasted Vegetable Frittata
Some Things Taste Better the Next Day
Another key to delicious solo suppers is making dishes that taste better the next day. Soups, stews and chilis all benefit from sitting a day or two in the fridge; their flavors marry and become more intense. So don't think of yesterday's beef stew as leftovers — think of it as a meal that's just about to hit its prime.
These recipes will still deliver on day two (or even three!):