In a dream world somewhere far, far away there are people who enjoy spending time cooking every meal. They meal plan, shop at the market, prep everything perfectly. They’re able to execute chef quality meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as part of their daily routine.
That’s not reality for most of us. Cooking is fun. But with other priorities on your plate, it’s no surprise that cooking gets put on the back burner. Luckily there are easy, healthy dinner recipes that make even better lunch leftovers.
Some ideas for easy healthy dinner recipes
Easy to prepare and with many ways to cook it, chili is a favorite if you are looking for something warm and cozy. Whether it’s traditional beef chili or white chicken chili, the piquant flavors of jalapeños and chili peppers tickle the taste buds and leave you wanting more.
As a lunch leftover, spoon your chili over a sweet potato, which can be baked ahead of time and frozen whole. Easy and delicious.
Regardless of the style of barbecue you enjoy, it’s those deep and sweet flavors that make it an American favorite. Traditionally prepared outside on a grill, you can also use a slow cooker along with a handful of spices to make BBQ chicken.
As a lunch, toss the BBQ chicken atop shredded cabbage and matchstick carrots for a little crunch and a lot of flavor. For something handheld, wrap your BBQ chicken with sliced avocado in a leaf of bib or romaine lettuce.
Let’s face it. Even on the most hectic days, a warm cup of soup comforts. This garden tomato soup delivers on all fronts — the slight acidity of tomatoes with a velvety cream finish make it soothing and delicious.
As a lunch leftover, serve tomato soup with a warm grilled cheese sourdough sandwich. Chances are, this classic combo will take you back to childhood.
Slow Cooked Pork
There’s something to be said about the luxury of cooking dinner in a slow cooker…that something so good can take so little effort. For example, if you happen to make Cuban slow cooked pork for dinner, you’ll find tender shredded pork drenched in a wonderful mix of citrus notes and warm spices.
If you have leftovers, pair slow cooked pork with salad greens. Toss in some sliced apple and dried cranberries. Then drizzle with a balsamic vinegar dressing (made with leftover sauce) for a quick and light lunch.
Pot Roast with Root Vegetables
As is often the case, the best dishes allow simple ingredients to speak for themselves. Like this classic pot roast with root vegetables. A few bay leaves, garlic, thyme leaves, and some bacon fat. Allow these flavors to meld for a few hours as the roast cooks, and you’ll be happy you have leftovers.
For lunch, reheat shredded meat in a cast iron pan. Deglaze with leftover gravy. Sprinkle with fresh herbs you have on hand, like cilantro. Then bundle it all in plantain flatbread for a convenient wrap.
Indian Beef Curry
The aroma of curry has a fragrant complexity that is matched by few. Curry flavors pair well with coconut milk, making it creamy and mildly spicy. While there are many versions of curry dishes, this Indian beef curry combines garam masala, turmeric, and ginger — awesome on your taste buds and good for your health.
As a lunch leftover, keep it just the way it is. Box it up with some leftover cauliflower rice and you’re good to go.
About Emily Montes
Emily Montes is the co-founder and CEO of RealPlans.com. She's also an acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese medicine, a published author, a wife, and a mom of two. Emily hopes to make meal planning easier and inspire families to share more meals around the table.