Love Yer Leftovers…even more the next day!

I had so much fun talking about leftovers on Monday–and it seemed like you did, too–that I thought we should return to the subject.

A great question arose in the comments  from that post: Are there foods that taste better as leftovers? Or at least after sitting a day.

Janes’_kid breeched the topic with the suggestion of pasta sauce (homemade, of course). And Caroline wrote in with a classic suggestion–chili. But what else comes to mind?

Let’s try to come up with a solid list. After all, leftovers could use a little good press.

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  1. Posted October 6, 2010 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Soup would be tops on my list, I think.

    Off topic, but yesterday I had a not-so-great afternoon, so after dinner Mr. FG insisted I go soak in the tub while he cleaned up dinner. Naturally, I took your book with me. I’ve got maybe a quarter left to go. :)

    Don’t tell me anyone else has finished it already…I’m trying hard to be the first. lol

  2. Posted October 6, 2010 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Kristen. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but my parents plowed through that thing in a weekend!

  3. Abbey
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I love roasted veggies the next day. Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, and cauliflower are especially delicious and taste completely different once the crispness fades. Soft and much sweeter with carmelization from the roasting.

  4. Posted October 6, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    My two favorite next-day foods: tuna casserole (any casserole really, but tuna is especially tasty) and lasagna. Heavenly.

  5. Posted October 6, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Some pizza. No pizza hut or Domino’s though. There is a convenience store in the town where I live that has the best pizza. I popped it in the toaster over yesterday morning for breakfast and it was just as good as the day before.

    Meatloaf is good the next day too.. with lots of ketchup.

  6. elizabeth
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    My boyfriend and I cook a lot and have this discussion regularly. Pretty much any pasta dish is better the next day, especially lasagna, spaghetti, and mac and cheese. Pizza and meat loaf are also more delicious on the second day.

  7. Posted October 6, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Curry always tastes better the next day, because the spices have time to permeate the other ingredients. If you add dry chilli to your spice mix, it tends to increase in heat when you leave it to sit for a while… which makes it a lot more fun to eat the second time around. ;)

  8. Posted October 6, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    agree with any pasta dish, esp lasagna :)

  9. Posted October 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I know that maybe a dessert isn’t technically a “leftover” but I know that when my husband makes rhubarb pie, it is exponentially better the next day. Roasted potatoes and beets are better the next day… and hungarian mushroom soup. Good stuff.

  10. Posted October 6, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    The classic Thanksgiving meal is much better the next day. No obnoxious family members or oppressive kitchen to deal with. Just turkey, mashed potatoes, peas, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and pie.

    It’s heaven.


  11. Posted October 6, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Roasted veggies–so true! (And they make any lunch a whole lot fancier.) Ditto for casseroles.

    But I haven’t had great luck with spaghetti and other loose pasta, Elizabeth. What’s your secret? It’s always a little crumbly for me. (of course, I still eat it)

    Ingrid, I’m willing to include pies as a leftovers…as long as it means I can have some rhubarb pie. Mmmm.

    Katy, the first time I read through your comment I thought you rolled all the Thanksgiving ingredients into a pie. Now THAT would be some major leftover repurposing. Probably pretty darn good, too! I’d leave out the peas, but, yeah.

  12. Posted October 6, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Ooh. I just thought of a good term for these items–”Bestovers.” Whaddya think?

  13. Posted October 7, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Megan said it. As Fergus Henderson says, the ingredients need time to “get to know each other.” Pasta is always better next day because most people cook pasta and place sauce on top – it tastes better with the sauce infused into the pasta (cooked a stiff al dente so there is still some room to soften).

    I also think tuna/chicken salad, coleslaw, and the other non-greens salads are better as leftovers. Cold roasts and stuffed breads too (reheated in the toaster oven not microwave). One of my favorite leftovers is plain rice because that is a canvas for anything.

  14. Posted October 7, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I am totally taking your “bestovers” to the bank!


  15. Posted October 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    any kind of soup.

  16. Posted October 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    The only food that I do not like as a leftover is oatmeal. I plan to have leftovers. They are not something I must plow through whether I like it or not. Six servings of rice for this one-person household gives me something to freeze and thaw so I can eat without having to cook again.

    Sunday, I made a pot of soup, my meals for the week. The soup had a bit of lean ground beef; chopped onion, bell peppers, celery; green beans; one diced potato;1/2 cup rice, carrots, corn,lima beans; can of tomatoes; quart of home-canned tomatoes, bay leaf, and dried summer savory…NO SALT. I put five pint jars of soup in the refrigerator, one bowl of soup, and ate two bowls that day. Right now, I still have the 3 jars to consume in the next three days.

    Casseroles of any type, tuna salad, egg salad, pimiento and cheese, any pasta dish, any cooked meat–all good the next day. Actually, I can eat leftovers two meals in a row–lunch and dinner. I am not picky about leftovers if I like the food the first time around.

    When I work, I have been known to cook a week’s worth of scrambled eggs, place in Tupperware bowls, put two pieces of buttered toast on top, refrigerate and eat before work or at work. I only reheat the eggs to get the chill off, retoast the bread and put the eggs between the two slices of bread and have an egg sandwich. The eggs do get tough and unappealing if they are heated in the microwave too long.

    I cook 4-6 chicken breasts and plan to use them all week with various things–sandwiches, with alfredo and pasta, with rice, with various vegetables….just lots of things. My iron skillet bakes once, gets cleaned once, and the oven is only turned on once for all week.

    This is down to a science for me!

  17. Posted October 7, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    And, I did not put my website on the last post!

  18. Posted October 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Christopher–I really like that quote you threw out there: the ingredients need time to “get to know each other.” So true.

    Katy–keep yer (oven)mitts off my “bestovers” term or we’re gonna duke it out when I’m in Portland.

    PP–Sounds like quite a system there. So for you, they’re all “bestovers?”

  19. Posted October 7, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Jonathan, No matter what I prepare there are leftovers. So, I just make the best of it.Since I love leftovers,I never feel deprived or put upon. Even pbj is better the next day. Peanut butter, Miracle Whip, and banana sandwiches are better as leftovers. I don’t plan those two sandwiches as leftovers. They just happen to not get eaten.

  20. Posted October 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Chili always, always tastes better the day after it’s been cooked. Pasta sauce as well.

  21. neil
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    I would like to add enchiladas (I have a couple of homemade pans sitting in the freezer, waiting for me to bake when I do not have the time or inclination to make them from scratch during the work week) and porridge. Most people cringe when I say porridge, but it keeps well for two weeks and tastes yummy and filling!

    I cook a large pot with just water, salt, and a mix of whole grains or use them singly (oats, short grain rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, etc.)–by the way, the crockpot is excellent for this–, stick it in the fridge, and, come morning or any other time I need a quick meal, scoop some out, heat in the microwave, and stir in fruit, spices, sugar, and milk. It only keeps so long if you make the porridge plain and add the flavor later.

  22. Posted October 13, 2010 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Barbecue is great in leftovers. I love pulled pork tacos, brisket chili, smoked turkey salad…I’m biased, of course.

    I think soup, though, can save the planet. If everyone would just keep a pot on the stove for all the bits, we’d reduce our spending and waste at the same time. And I bet we’d solve the healthcare crisis, because who can be sick or depressed with a bowl of homemade soup in front of them?

  23. Annie
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    A weird family bestover in my house: cold baked bean sandwiches. My mom always made the best Boston baked beans – not soupy like canned beans. When they’re chilled in the fridge overnight they make a great filling for a sandwich.

    Julie – I’m with you on the soup! A trick I learned from Jane Brody’s cookbook from the 80′s: save carrot peelings, onion ends and other veggie discards in a bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, fill a pot with water and simmer to make a vegetable broth.

  24. Posted October 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Annie–cold baked bean sandwiches sound like a veggie sloppy joe to me! I’m intrigued…

  25. mandmsmom
    Posted October 21, 2010 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Jonathan – the leftover Thanksgiving meal all in one dish would be turkey pot pie (yum!).

    My family likes “bestovers” tucked into bread dough and baked into pocket sandwiches. And the pocket breads require a small amount of filling, they are great when you have leftover leftovers.

    Fillings:chili, beef stew, meatloaf with cheese, chicken and/or veggies with cheese, even that leftover turkey meal.

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