Leftovers For Lunch: Recipes For Increasing Your Meal Mileage

Being an adult is hectic on a good day. But when you mix in a full-time job, a family, and an assortment of other responsibilities that include chauffeur, pet sitter, maid, and more, spare time becomes nearly non-existent. You need meal ideas that are dual-purpose to give you the best mileage for all that precious time you spend in the kitchen. Luckily, these easy dinner-to-next-day’s-lunch recipes fill that need nicely. With the addition of just a few extra ingredients, you can make tasty, healthful lunches that go far and taste delicious.

Time-Saving Tip: Cooking pasta once and refrigerating the extra is a real time-saver compared to pulling out a pan and making a second batch the next day. The same goes for roast chicken, baked ham, and even scrambled eggs.

Holiday Ham to Healthy Ham-and-Bean Soup

Stuck wondering what to do with all that leftover honey-bourbon-glazed ham from last night’s dinner party?You could make sandwiches for the next seven days, and maybe, just maybe, your taste buds won’t go numb before the week is out. Or, you could turn those tasty, tangy chunks into the base for a nice healthy soup full of super foods like beans, onions, celery, carrots, parsley and tomatoes.

Packed with antioxidants, protein, fiber, iron and potassium, this take on how to health up your ham is as close to minestrone as you can get without the addition of heavy Italian seasonings. Even better, it’s a treat for your body that helps fight off those free radicals that cause premature aging.

Healthy Ham and Bean Soup
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Stuck wondering what to do with all that leftover honey-bourbon-glazed ham from last night’s dinner party?
Healthy Ham and Bean Soup
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Stuck wondering what to do with all that leftover honey-bourbon-glazed ham from last night’s dinner party?
Servings
8servings
Servings
8servings
Ingredients
  • 15 oz Your Favorite Bean we recommend a white bean
  • 2 1/2 cups Ham
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 stalks Celery
  • 5 Carrots
  • Ham Bone
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Parsley
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Lemon for fresh squeezed juice
  • Pasta Noodles if you desire
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
  • 15 oz Your Favorite Bean we recommend a white bean
  • 2 1/2 cups Ham
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 stalks Celery
  • 5 Carrots
  • Ham Bone
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Parsley
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Lemon for fresh squeezed juice
  • Pasta Noodles if you desire
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Soak a 15-oz bag of your favorite dry beans overnight, drain and rinse.
  2. Remove up to 2 1/2 cups of ham from the bone and dice.
  3. Dice 1 large onion, 3 celery stalks, and 5 peeled carrots.
  4. Place leftover ham bone in a large stock pot with the beans and other diced ingredients, and cover with ham, chicken or vegetable stock.
  5. Add 1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes.
  6. Toss in seasonings to include: 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. ground pepper, 1 Tbsp. parsley, 2 bay leaves and salt to taste.
  7. Add 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard and the juice of one lemon.
  8. Simmer for several hours, checking frequently to add additional broth as needed.
  9. Remove ham bone and bay leaves before serving.
  10. And if you have an extra cup or two of leftover cooked pasta from last night's dinner, try tossing that in just a few moments before dishing up this delicious soup.
Recipe Notes

Time-Saving Tip: Use all of your leftover ham, and adjust the ingredients accordingly to make extra bowls for the freezer. You can also substitute your favorite variations of canned beans in place of dry if the idea of finding time to soak dry beans makes you giggle.

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Maryland Crab Cakes to Cilantro-Lime Crab Salad

Buy too much lump crab meat for last night’s Maryland crab cakes? No worries, it just takes a half-pound of extra meat to make a fresh and delicious crab salad for tomorrow’s lunch. Best of all, this Cilantro-Lime Crab Salad from Epicurious gets more flavorful as it sits in your refrigerator overnight. McCormick offers a tried-and-true recipe for classic Old Bay Crab Cakes that’s a no-fail. And you can use up leftover meat with this recipe:

Cilantro-Lime Crab Salad
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Between the creamy avocado, lump crabmeat and fresh lime juice, this leftover-turned-gourmet-lunch bursts with flavor.
Cilantro-Lime Crab Salad
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Between the creamy avocado, lump crabmeat and fresh lime juice, this leftover-turned-gourmet-lunch bursts with flavor.
Servings
2halves
Servings
2halves
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup Red Onion chopped
  • 3 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro chopped
  • 3 tsp Lime Juice fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp Lime Zest
  • 8 oz Lump Crabmeat
  • 1 ripe Avocado halved and pitted
  • Lime Wedges
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Servings: halves
Units:
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup Red Onion chopped
  • 3 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro chopped
  • 3 tsp Lime Juice fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp Lime Zest
  • 8 oz Lump Crabmeat
  • 1 ripe Avocado halved and pitted
  • Lime Wedges
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Servings: halves
Units:
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, mix together red onion, mayonnaise, cilantro, 2 teaspoons lime juice, cumin and lime zest.
  2. Mix in crabmeat.
  3. Season salad with salt and pepper.
  4. Brush avocado halves with remaining 1 teaspoon lime juice.
  5. Arrange avocado halves, cut side up, on plates. Mound crab salad on each avocado half.
  6. Serve salad with fresh lime wedges.
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Roast Chicken to Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Have leftover roast chicken and stuffing? You can turn that into tomorrow’s lunch too with the addition of tangy tomatoes and melted cheese. When it’s all said and done, you won’t even recognize your chicken the next day.

To begin, wash, pat dry and season a whole chicken. Stuff with your choice of stuffing. Place in a roasting dish with a scant amount of water to keep the bird moist. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for up to two hours, depending upon the size of your chicken. Better Homes and Gardens offers up a handy chart here. Serve with your favorite healthy side dishes for your first meal.

To make your second meal, pull leftover chicken from the bone and dice it and the stuffing in preparation to make this tasty chicken bruschetta bake.

Chicken Bruschetta Bake
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This recipe is easily cut into squares and travels nicely to the office and back. Best of all, it's microwave-friendly.
Chicken Bruschetta Bake
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This recipe is easily cut into squares and travels nicely to the office and back. Best of all, it's microwave-friendly.
Servings
6servings
Servings
6servings
Ingredients
  • 8 oz Leftover Stuffing
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes canned
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs Cooked Chicken Breast diced
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese shredded
Servings: servings
Units:
Ingredients
  • 8 oz Leftover Stuffing
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes canned
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs Cooked Chicken Breast diced
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese shredded
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine leftover stuffing with 1 can (14 ½ oz) of diced tomatoes, juice and all.
  3. Add 2 minced cloves of garlic and stir.
  4. Line the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with the diced chicken.
  5. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. dried basil.
  6. Top chicken with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  7. Cover with the stuffing mixture (stuffing and tomatoes).
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Time-Saving Tip: Substitute dry, boxed stuffing mix in place of homemade stuffing.

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Simple Scrambled Eggs to Flavorful Brunch Burritos

When breakfast for dinner leaves you with an abundance of leftover scrambled eggs, don’t despair. With the addition of a few of your favorite colorful vegetables, some crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar and flour tortillas, you can whip up a veggie-laden wrap that’s carpool-friendly.

If you don’t already have your own favorite recipe for simple scrambled eggs, try this guide from Alton Brown via the Food Network. Remember to make extra so you can enjoy the mouth-watering goodness of a juicy burrito for tomorrow’s brunch.

Flavorful Brunch Burritos
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Great for brunch on the go. Enclose one end of each wrap tightly in foil to make it mobile-friendly.
Flavorful Brunch Burritos
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Great for brunch on the go. Enclose one end of each wrap tightly in foil to make it mobile-friendly.
Servings
8servings
Servings
8servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb Bacon
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 1 Tomato diced
  • 1/2 Green Pepper diced
  • 1/2 Red Pepper diced
  • 1/2 Yellow Pepper diced
  • 2 tbsp Bacon Grease
  • 2 cups Scrambled Eggs
  • 8 Flour Tortillas
Servings: servings
Units:
Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb Bacon
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 1 Tomato diced
  • 1/2 Green Pepper diced
  • 1/2 Red Pepper diced
  • 1/2 Yellow Pepper diced
  • 2 tbsp Bacon Grease
  • 2 cups Scrambled Eggs
  • 8 Flour Tortillas
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Brown 1/2 pound of bacon in a skillet. Remove meat and set aside to drain on paper towels.
  2. Finely dice 1 small onion, 1 small tomato, and one-half of each red, green, and yellow pepper.
  3. Set aside a scant 2 Tbsp. of bacon grease, add vegetables and sauté until tender.
  4. Add 2 cups of leftover scrambled eggs and stir.
  5. Drain the grease and add the bacon back into the skillet.
  6. Wrap four flour tortillas in foil and warm them in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove tortillas from oven and fill with warm egg, pepper and bacon mixture. Top with shredded cheddar.
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Leftover Vegetables to Veggie Pizza

Tired of running the same bowl of mixed vegetables around again and again? Perk them up by turning them into scrumptious pizza toppings instead, using this inventive recipe for Tray Bake Vegetable Pizza from Love Food Hate Waste.

Tray Bake Vegetable Pizza
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This leftover vegetable pizza works best with chopped vegetables and a great blend of tomatoes and cheese.
Tray Bake Vegetable Pizza
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This leftover vegetable pizza works best with chopped vegetables and a great blend of tomatoes and cheese.
Ingredients
  • Dough
  • 1 box Bread Mix typically need to add yeast and warm water
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • Cooking Spray
  • Leftover Vegetables
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms sliced
  • Onions sliced
  • Peppers sliced
  • Cauliflower chopped
  • Broccoli chopped
  • Cheese
  • Shredded Mozzarella
Servings:
Units:
Ingredients
  • Dough
  • 1 box Bread Mix typically need to add yeast and warm water
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • Cooking Spray
  • Leftover Vegetables
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms sliced
  • Onions sliced
  • Peppers sliced
  • Cauliflower chopped
  • Broccoli chopped
  • Cheese
  • Shredded Mozzarella
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Prepare a plain boxed bread mix according to the package directions.
  2. Press prepared bread dough onto a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan.
  3. Cook 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes for 4 minutes until thickened.
  4. Spread tomato mixture over bread dough.
  5. Slice 2 fresh tomatoes and layer them over the pizza.
  6. Add leftover vegetables. Mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and onions are all delicious options.
  7. Top with shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.
Recipe Notes

Time-Saving Tip: Substitute thawed, frozen bread dough or rolled pizza dough from the refrigerated section in place of bread mix.

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Once you get the hang of how best to wrangle those leftovers into entirely new and enticing meals, you’ll never want to waste money on takeout ever again. So say goodbye to overpriced sandwiches and greasy Chinese food, and opt instead for healthy meals made on a dime right in your own kitchen. They’re quick. They’re easy. They’re cheap. And best of all? They taste good, and they’re healthy for you too.