Do You Cook With Leftovers Or Create Nextovers

gourmet meatloaf sandwich

I have friends, you know who you are, that say they never eat leftovers. Well at this present time in our lives, I bet my friends aren’t throwing out their leftovers. Of course, you can just reheat what you have left and eat the exact same meal the next day for lunch or dinner but that can get boring. Instead of reheating leftovers, why not create nextovers.

Click on any photo to enlarge and see a slide show.

What…you’ve never heard the term nextovers before? The idea is to prepare a larger amount of something you would normally make when cooking a meal for your family and repurpose a portion of it for an additional meal. Instead of baking one meatloaf, buy a little more meat and then divide the meatloaf mixture in half. Season each one with different seasonings then bake both meatloaves at the same time. For the first night’s dinner, top the traditionally seasoned meatloaf with a brown gravy and serve it with mashed potatoes for a classic comfort meal. Take that second meatloaf seasoned with Mexican spices and previously baked, reheat it topped with a warm salsa and serve it with corn for a delicious Mexican inspired meal. Another thought would be to turn that second meatloaf into gourmet meatloaf sandwiches that are topped with caramelized onions and homemade truffled ketchup served on herbed focaccia with a simple green salad on the side.

If you are still able to go to your local markets to buy meat, produce, etc., then try to think about how many different meals you can make for your family when you buy a package of ground meat, a box of pasta, a bag of rice or dried beans.

Click on any photo to enlarge and see a slide show.

Make a big pot of cannellini beans and serve part as a warm bean salad topped with sautéed chicken. On another night use the remainder of the beans to make an Italian comfort meal of pasta, beans and greens for a healthy and hearty meal.

In this challenging time in our lives, when most of us are preparing our meals from what we have in our pantry, our refrigerator and freezer we need to be creative. Instead of going to our local markets on a whim to see if we can get inspired for what we are going to serve our family that evening, many of us are working from what we have been lucky enough to find in previous weeks. Some of us, need to make every single item in our kitchen go as far as it can to feed our families a nutritious meal.

By planning ahead on how you can create two or more meals each time you cook, it will help make life a little less stressful. So…to my friends that don’t like the idea of eating leftovers, just plan differently and start preparing nextovers.



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84 thoughts on “Do You Cook With Leftovers Or Create Nextovers

  1. I hate leftovers because they never taste as good as the original. So I love your idea of nextover. I usually try to think of a way yo reinvent the leftover dish and have it become a new one. Your ideas fit the bill exactly.

    1. Thank you Jovina, I’m glad that you like the idea of nextovers, it sounds like the perfect answer since you don’t like leftovers. 😌

  2. Excellent ideas and advice, Karen. I think we’re all having to look at how we cook, being more creative with what we have in store and treat leftovers with more respect! I’m being more careful about portions; not throwing away things that look a bit off but just need some trimming, etc. Keep safe and well! 🙂

  3. Recently everything I’ve made has been enough for more than one meal and we don’t mind having the same thing twice. If the portion is a little sparse for two, I will change it up.

  4. Great ideas for these interesting times. I make large bundles of pulled pork slow cooked in the oven. My wife will make several batches of enchiladas with and freeze for future use. I am also inspired by the gourmet meatloaf sandwich…..using my homemade sourdough bread. I have plenty of time at home now to hone my bread making skills. Thanks

    1. Just thinking about your wife’s pork enchiladas makes me hungry Bishop. I really think you would enjoy the meatloaf sandwich, it would be especially good on your homemade bread. Thank you for your nice compliment, it is much appreciated.

  5. We love leftovers! Many things like stew, chili, lasagna etc taste better the next day. Sometimes I add something else or change the side dish but it saves me a lot of time. My grandmother, who lived through the depression, taught me how to make leftovers out of leftovers!!

    1. You are right Darlene, some dishes definitely are better the next day. Leftovers out of leftovers…that is so funny, I did that the other day. 😁

  6. I do a little bit of both in using both leftovers and doing extra large portions of meals to use the following day etc.
    I do believe that certainly in the UK there has been a big outcry because of people panic buying and fresh foods especially have gone to waste.

    1. Hi Paul, While I’ve not been in a market for weeks (I’m ordering and having it delivered), I’ve heard that the panic buying is mostly over here although hand sanitizer,toilet paper, pasta and rice still are extremely hard to find. With food being a challenge for some people to get, it is a real shame to hear about wastefulness.

  7. When we lived in a traditional house, I hated leftovers. Once we began traveling full-time via RV, I started purposely making leftovers … perfect for long travel days. And now, it’s a regular routine for me to cook once, eat twice. Great post! 🍷

    1. Thank you for your lovely compliment Ingrid. You are right about having leftovers ready for you when you are on the road traveling.

  8. I adore leftovers, especially now when we are eating lunch at home every day. They save my sanity. My mother used to say to my Dad “I will love you forever but not for lunch”. In our household everyone fends for themselves for lunch. Great post, thank you. Stay safe.

  9. Great advice! I also do this. I have an extra freezer and it is always filled with leftovers and nextovers!

  10. I love leftovers, my husband doesn’t. Too bad ! I like your nextovers. I have become creative with what I have. Some of the dishes I made are better than others. For three week I have not gone to the store, my neighbors and friends are shopping for us. I ended up with some interesting items.

    1. Hi Gerlinde, I haven’t been to the store either. Our supermarket uses Instacart so I’m ordering online…it has been taking about 5 to 6 days for it to be delivered so I have to plan and cook accordingly.

  11. Ha ha, no, but I love the term! I think a lot of leftovers taste better the nextover day – particularly stews and casseroles. I’m having oxtail tonight, which I started cooking yesterday and it will taste amazing when I eat the second batch in a couple of day’s time.

    1. Hi Mad Dog, Oxtails are one of my husband’s favorite dishes. I’m glad you make nextovers as well and appreciate the mention on your blog…that was much appreciated.

  12. Hi there and thanks for the email appreciated. We do both, leftovers and next overs and always not just now. Nothing gets thrown away in this house. I made a huge saucepan of Garbure several days ago and serve it up each day with a different vegetable we never get tired of it. Some dishes end up with pasta or in a frittata or even chucked into a soup.
    Have a good weekend and stay safe we are now in day 19 of lockdown. Thank goodness for a large garden. Diane

    1. Hi Diane, There are so many bloggers that I can’t comment on anymore…Blogger and Blogspot don’t like WordPress users so I have to keep letting my blogging friends know I’m still reading them by sending them an email occasionally. It sounds like you are being very creative with your leftovers and nextovers.

    1. Thank you Eva, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post about nextovers. With a little planning, there should no reason to have to throw food away.

    1. Thank you Dorothy for your nice compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post about nextovers. It is definitely important during the lockdown when we are having to cook with what we have available.

  13. This is great, Karen. I’ve never heard the word nextovers, but I’m an early adapter. Leftover chicken pieces become chicken salad and leftover rice goes into soup! If nothing else, all of this is helping us learn to think creatively with our cooking — ingredient substitutions included!

    1. Thank you Jeanie, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Speaking of chicken, our last rotisserie chicken became homemade stock, chicken and rice soup and chicken pad Thai.

  14. Never have heard of nextovers but that is exactly what is going on around here. Just glancing at the comment above and we are doing the same thing with chicken. IPing it and having one meal, making chicken salad out of the rest…today the leftover chicken salad topped baked potatoes for lunch. Stay safe!

  15. Timely post, and ‘nextover’ is a new one on me, but it’s a great tactic. I could worry about folks not eating well during this time, but you wouldn’t be one of them. Skills, lady, you have skills in the kitchen.

  16. Interesting! The term nextovers is new to me, but I’ve heard the concept talked about a bit lately. Kinda like “Cook Once, Eat Twice.” type of thing. We’re actually enjoying the process of cooking up different foods around here. We’re being creative and raiding the pantry/freezer to see what we can find. Being cooped up with a 4-year-old tends to make you, uh, tired by the end of the day…so we’ve found enjoyment in cooking together. I hope you’re staying healthy (and sane), Karen! 🙂

    1. Hi David, All is good and well here. Yes, I’m sure buy the end of the day that everyone in your household is tired. Planning more than one meal out of ingredients should help.

  17. I really try to make extra to stretch a few items for a few meals and really try to switch the meals up too. For example, grill some chicken and veggies and make some rice and then take the extra and make taco bowls. Be Safe and Take Care 🙂

  18. I love the term “nextovers!” The challenge of creating something new from leftovers is great fun, my go to recipes for leftovers are pasta, pizza, casseroles and wraps…sometimes great recipes are born from leftovers!

  19. Hey Karen, hope all is well in VB, we are hanging around down here, day in day out…I cooked a 22 lb turkey last week for a Quarantine series of Nextovers. I love the bean pasta recipe and must try it..

    1. Hi Amelia, We are doing good while totally in lockdown. A turkey that big certainly provided you with plenty of nextovers…good thinking. I’m glad you like the bean and pasta recipe and I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do if you get a chance to make it.

      1. Karen, still eating turkey sandwiches and freezer is stocked with broth for soup, have made food for my dogs as well. I found I like to cook smaller turkeys!!

  20. I’m one of those people that love leftovers. We seem to always have leftovers that we can add to or make something completely different. Love your ideas! Hope all is well where you are.

    1. Thank you for your wish and nice compliment about planning nextovers Jan. Have never left the house so we are good, I hope you are as well.

  21. Nextovers, ROCK! Actually we always get upset when there are no leftovers the next day as we love those for breakfast or lunch the next day. You see with boys, need I say more, they eat so much that even when you make extra, you never get extra. LOL Great tips Karen and hope you are staying well.

    1. Your comment about the boys gave me a chuckle Bobbi. I have a grandson, so I know what you mean. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m glad you like the nextover tips.

  22. I’m also one who doesn’t like leftovers — especially for dinner. For lunch is okay… But nextovers? Love it! I know we do that from time to time, but planning it is a great idea, Karen! Please stay safe and healthy — glad Florida is finally on board with staying at home!

    1. I would have never of guessed that you didn’t life leftovers for dinner David but I’m happy you like the nextover idea. We haven’t left the house even for groceries so all is well. I hope all is good with the two of you.

  23. We LOVE leftovers!! Personally, it gives us a break of deciding what to cook every day so we prefer to make more so that we can enjoy leftovers for dinner or lunch later that week. Great tips Karen! 🙂

    1. Hi Ladies, I glad you like the tips on planning nextovers. I agree with you about not having to decide what to cook everyday…especially since we are not leaving the house.

  24. Personally, I don’t understand people who don’t like leftovers. Some dishes are actually better the next day so, yes, in this house, nothing gets thrown out. Either eat the leftovers and they get turned into next-overs (I new word for me and one that I will be using a lot now that I know it.) A pot of beans is a staple. You are so right – you can easily get 2 -3 dishes, if not more from one pot. Great post Karen!

    1. Hi MJ, I don’t understand about not liking leftovers either. They really don’t know what they are missing because as you say, some dishes are actually better the next day. I appreciate your nice compliment, thank you so much.

  25. Karen, I LOVE your term “nextovers.” Hadn’t heard of that before, but I’ve been doing it for years — unless The Man Of Few Words requests a reheat, lol! Even then I try to make dinner “different” by serving different sides. We’re only as limited as our imaginations! Thanks for your tasty recipe suggestions, too. So far I’ve wrangled a 5-lb. chuck roast into multiple meals awaiting in the freezer (sliced for sandwiches or future dinners, cubed for stew, etc.) and a roast chicken into Alfredo, etc. Tonight it’s chicken enchiladas for me, yay! Thanks again for your cooking savvy and timely tips. Praying you’re safe and well, xo.

    1. Hi Kim, We did the same thing with a big piece of tenderloin that was on sale. Four steaks, chunks for kebobs, and a roast that we got three meals from. Chicken enchiladas sound great. I’ve got a rotisserie chicken coming with my grocery delivery today, so I may make them this week. Thank you for your sweet compliment and prayers…the same for you.

  26. 😁 Thankfully I’m a fan of leftovers, but I’ve been getting a lot of messages from friends who now have to not only embrace them but also trying to be creative with what they have in the pantry. I too love the idea of a next-over…

    1. Hi Atreyee, I’m surprised that more people don’t like leftover or know how to get creative with them. I’m glad you like the idea of nextovers…something a little different. 😊

  27. Always good to make more for another day. I also cook the next days meal. I may bake tomorrow’s meal in the oven while I am making pasta on top of the stove. After I slice mushrooms for the pasta, I peel rutabaga for the oven’s mashed veggies -for tomorrow. It all works out! 🍝🧡

    1. Hi Liz, I agree and I will be doing that exactly with a rotisserie chicken that is coming with my groceries being delivered today. A meal tonight, stock being made from the bones and another meal from the other half of the chicken over the weekend.

    1. Hi Lisa, I’m glad you like my idea of creating two different meals. I’m envious of your having the ingredients to make focaccia…none available at our market.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post Inger. I believe a lot of people are learning to be creative with the food we have right now. You always make the most delicious sounding meals.

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