When you’re cooking for a family, you often find yourself short of both time and money, so a shortcut that saves both is always welcome. Making a large quantity of a simple dish and transforming the leftovers into something new on the second night allows you to do nights of cooking at once. And as it happens, many of the ingredients that work well as leftovers are pretty inexpensive options. It’s win-win for parents who have to budget both money and time.
Dried beans are seriously cheap, and one bag can go a long way. Try pinto bean tacos one night, and a rich vegetarian chili the next. For a family larger than four, double the quantity and freeze any leftovers.
Braised Meats Do Double Duty
One of our favorite wintertime meals is braised pork. We select an inexpensive cut, trim the fat, and slow-cook it. That night, we’ll have pulled pork sandwiches for dinner. The next day, we turn our leftovers into a rich tomato-based ragu sauce and serve it over pasta.
Stretch Your Roasted Chicken
The Sunday roast chicken is a longstanding tradition in many families, ours included. Stretch your chicken dollar by turning any leftover chicken (wings, I’m looking at you) into a flavorful chicken salad for a satisfying family lunch.
Image: Julie Van Rosendaal
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