We all have those weeks. The weeks when you’re so busy, you barely have time to think. The weeks when your life is scheduled down to the minute and just a single misstep will send your whole routine flying. When you’re this busy, there’s not a lot of time for cooking, so you need the meals you do cook to work double-time. You need dinners that make great leftovers.
Sadly, not all of them do. Some recipes don’t make enough servings, and some use delicate ingredients that are hard to resuscitate. Noodles and leafy greens like spinach are great when they’re first prepared, but will usually wind up slimy and mushy the next day definitely a sad desk lunch.
On the other hand, the recipes that do make great leftovers are usually packed with sturdy, malleable ingredients. Root vegetables and beans will stand the test of time and hold up in your fridge. With just a splash of water and a minute or two in the microwave, your grains from last night will taste as good as new. And hearty meats can last in your fridge for up to three or four days and still be safe to eat—that’s great whether you’re saving it for tomorrow or later in the week.
So the next time you know you’re not going to have time to pack lunch in the morning, turn to one of these 17 recipes. All of them make at least two servings—one for your dinner, one for your lunch. (And of course, you can always double or triple the recipe if you’re serving a group.) And most, if not all, taste even better the next day, proving once and for all that leftovers are not hopeless.