Foods That Make the Best Leftovers
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15 Foods That are Always Better as Leftovers

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Foods That Make the Best Leftovers
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Pasta
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Pasta

Pasta, especially standbys such as baked ziti, seems to get better in the fridge. All those lovely, aromatic ingredients – onions, peppers, garlic – become even more flavorful after they've had time to mingle. Another bonus: The sauce gets a lot less runny. Add a splash of water to keep noodles moist during microwaving, and it's dinner (again).


Related: 16 Easy Pasta Salad Recipes for Summer

Meatloaf
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Chili
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Chili

Whatever regional favorite you prefer, chili depends on that perfect mix of spices — cumin, cayenne, oregano, paprika, or whatever else you like to throw in — but they taste better when they've had a chance to meld in the fridge. It can also easily be tossed on some nachos, on top of a baked potato, or into that pasta dish on the second go 'round.


Related: 13 Regional Chili Recipes


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Pizza
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Curry
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Turkey
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Turkey

Whether turkey actually gets any better with age is open for debate. It's not as fatty as other meats, which gives it less ability to retain flavor, but it still has a spot on our list because it can be just about anything in its second life. Leftover turkey can be a base for delicious soup, fill a samosa, anchor a Bolognese, or hold its own in a tasty pot pie.


Related: 15 Ways to Spice Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

Fried Chicken
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Beef Stew
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Beef Stew

Making a hearty stew is the perfect way to warm up as the weather cools, and ingredients such as potatoes, onions, and carrots get more potent after absorbing the broth over time. The fat content in beef also helps sustain flavor. Give beef a more creative second life by tossing it into a casserole or pot pie.


Related: 21 Hearty Casserole and Stew Recipes That Reheat Well

Fruit Cobbler
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Fruit Cobbler

Desserts that rely on bright, fruity flavors such as cobblers and trifles only get better as they chill in the fridge, giving all those fruit juices more time to condense and intensify. For ease, make a tasty, apple-cinnamon cobbler in the slow cooker.


Related: 22 Classic Pie Recipes

Pulled Pork
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Soup
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Soup

A savory soup can be even more delicious later on. It's also easy to add a fresh garnish to brighten up leftovers — think green onions, croutons, nuts, or even a hard-boiled egg for some protein. Bonus: Leftover soup heats up well in the microwave, unlike other foods that are prone to drying out.


Related: Best Place for Hearty Soup in Every State

Chinese Takeout
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Mexican Food
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Mexican Food

No, those leftover tortillas and tortilla chips will never be the same – they'll just get soggy and stale the longer they stick around. But a lot of Mexican food makes great leftovers: taco meat, refried beans, enchilada fillings, pork from carnitas, and even the veggies and meat from fajitas. Throw them on top of nachos, in a casserole or on a sandwich.


Related: 23 Traditional Hispanic Foods Most Americans Don't Know About (but Should)

Pancakes
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Pancakes

Didn't scarf down all your pancakes? They're easy to heat and eat later, and luckily anything tastes good when it's slathered in maple syrup. Pancakes also freeze well, so whip up a huge batch or the next few months. Consider separating them with a layer of wax paper to prevent sticking, then storing them in a resealable bag.


Related: 45 Best Homemade Pancake Recipes

Egg Salad
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Egg Salad

Egg salad (or tuna salad, macaroni salad, or any mayonnaise-based cold salad) seems to become even more flavorful the next day once the onion, celery, mustard, garlic and other pungent favorites blend and mellow. Leftover egg salad is also a terrific breakfast whensmeared on toast or a bagel.


Related: 15 Simple, Tasty Sandwiches That Cost $1 or Less to Make