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Cooking for Today and Tomorrow

You won't believe what leftovers can do in these inspired recipes

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Planned leftovers are a busy cook’s best friend. Cook up a little extra of something one night, turn it into something else the next. The simplest way to do it is with a big batch of marinara sauce, which becomes the basis for a half-dozen other dinners, from puttanesca to a mock bolognese ragù. 

Want to make leftovers that you’ll never even recognize on the second day? These recipes are truly transformative: Seared steak turns into a flavor-packed Vietnamese noodle soup, creamy risotto becomes crisp-crusted risotto cakes, and a colorful ratatouille morphs into a savory tart or a white-bean gratin.

Still, the king of planned leftovers is undeniably the simple roasted chicken. Using our tips for getting the most from the leftovers, the meat can be used for wraps, soups, sandwiches, or our two very different chicken salads: a Tex-Mex version with fresh corn and avocado, or a Mediterranean one with fennel and pine nuts. For a warm-weather rendition of the “roast a chicken and…” routine, try our grilled Thai chicken, which transforms into a rice-noodle salad or a curried fried rice.

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