With little ones heading back to school, it's easy to feel like there simply aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. Especially in the mornings when you're trying to get yourself ready and presentable, while making breakfast, checking homework, organising bags and packing lunch - and then get out the door on time! While we can't do much about the homework (sorry!), we do have a great way to save time in the mornings on those school lunches. The secret is using dinner leftovers in packed lunches.
If you already put in time and effort (and not to mention money!) making dinner last night, then don't slave away again over lunch the next day. Instead, transform those dinner leftovers into delicious packed lunches that your kids will love. Not only will you reduce food waste, but using leftovers can also save you time, energy and money. We've got five recipe ideas below that are just as delicious for lunch as they are for dinner. Cook once and eat twice with these brilliant dinner tonight, lunch tomorrow recipes...
Roast chicken with lemon and thyme
Dinner tonight: Tuck into a classic roast chicken with lemon and thyme. Serve with steamed broccoli and roasted spuds, and save any leftover meat for tomorrow.
Lunch tomorrow: Leftover chicken is so versatile. Cut it up into chunks and mix with some mayonnaise and spread between bread for a satisfying chicken sandwich, or add some salad leaves, cucumber and tomatoes and you've got a healthy chicken salad. Try this chicken and giant cous cous salad recipe that's made in a mason jar for a super easy on-the-go lunch option.
Pasta with broccoli
Dinner tonight: Make sure little ones are getting their five-a-day with this delicious pasta with broccoli recipe. Put any leftovers in the fridge.
Lunch tomorrow: Use the leftover pasta in a cold pasta salad. If you have enough leftovers, you can simply serve as is, or if you need to bulk it out a little, simply add some chopped tomatoes, half an avocado or even a can of tuna to make a tuna pasta salad. Easy!
Dinner tonight: Perfect for a Sunday feast, this slow-cooked gammon in apple juice and thyme recipe makes enough for 10 people - perfect for tomorrow's lunch!
Lunch tomorrow: The easiest way to use up that delicious leftover meat is simply to wedge it between two hunks of bread smeared in mustard, with a few leaves thrown in for a delicious sandwich. But you could just as easily transform those leftovers into a new dish like this ham, broccoli and sweetcorn fritatta or a pea and ham soup.
Quinoa and beetroot burgers
Dinner tonight: Go meat-free this evening with these tasty quinoa and beetroot burgers. The recipe serves 6, so you can either keep some of the quinoa and beetroot aside for tomorrow or just make some extra, depending on your family's size.
Lunch tomorrow: Toss those yummy grains into a flavourful and veggie-packed salad. This lunch idea really couldn't be simpler – just throw leftover quinoa in a container with whatever vegetables you have at hand, such as beetroot, cucumber, tomatoes, onions, corn or peppers. If you don't have enough quinoa or if your children are extra hungry, toss in a can of beans. Make a simple olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette and that's it!
Dinner tonight: Reduce the fat in this classic dish by subbing beef for turkey with this Turkey meatballs recipe. Remember to save a few for tomorrow!
Lunch tomorrow: Fill a sub roll with the leftover meatballs and sauce, add some cheese and you've got a delicious lunch ready to go. Feel free to add more veggies to the sandwich too, like in this turkey meatball sub recipe that incorporates peppers.
For more clever back-to-school meals, check out our Japanese bento box lunch ideas and a week’s worth of weeknight winner recipes to make getting back in the routine easier.