oysters on table

Last week, I asked readers what kind of cookbook they’d most like to see written. The responses were all great, but I wanted to write about what was the most requested kind of book. It’s important because it’s exactly what my Little, Brown editor talked about (I once forgot to capitalize the publisher’s name and was asked how I could be so racially insensitive). Talk we did over the above oysters at Jeffrey’s Grocery in the West Village. Please note the humongous and delicious Island Creek oysters, which I recently wrote about here.

Suggestions here ranged from lunches to Southern cooking to Rustbelt cooking to spices. Two big topics were cooking for one or two people, which I like, especially when I’m in Manhattan in a tiny apartment. The other was interest in sous vide cooking in the home, also of interest to me. And cooking with kids, which couldn’t be more important.

But the concept that was most repeated had to do with thinking: mise en place, creativity, and meal planning. And this is what my editor, Michael Szczerban, discussed. Michael lamented that we don’t really have home economics anymore and that maybe we need home ec for the new millennium.

Or, as he put more simply: How to put dinner on the table. How to put dinner on the table in a world that is far removed from 1950s America.

For instance, one of the reasons I love roast chicken is that it provides three meals. First comes the initial meal; then there are usually leftover to put to use as, say, chicken salad with tarragon; and then some form of soup can be made from the carcass.

I’d love ideas from readers on meals that can be turned into a second or even third meal. Any suggestions?

Thanks as ever for coming by my site!


If you liked this post on book ideas, check out these other posts:

© 2015 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2015 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


59 Wonderful responses to “New Cookbook Ideas: The Results”

  • Mark Bernstein

    Picadillo is a great way to set up two or three meals.

    Start with half a picnic shoulder, or whatever will fit your big pot. Cover with salted cold water, add half an onion chopped, and simmer for a couple of hours. Let cool.

    Remove from the broth (which, if it’s not too salty, you can use for pho) and shred the meat. Discard bones and skin. Or, if the broth is on the salty side, dilute it and simmer a while longer with the skin and bones.

    Now, make a bit of chipotle/tomato sauce (3 roast garlic cloves, 3 roma tomatoes, 2 chipotles, food processor and then sear on a saucepan). Brown some of the meat with half a chopped onion, then add the sauce, some cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. Serve on pasta, or in tortillas.

    Day two: Make more sauce, add some more of the shredded meat and browned onion, and use this to stuff some poblano or anaheim peppers.

    Day three: Have more left? You may be tired of chipotles; grab a couple of thai bird peppers, some garlic, and stir fry aggressively with onion and green beans, then soy, then a little wine and cornstarch slurry. Ersatz but tasty kan sho green beans.

  • Andrew

    Extending this idea a bit in terms of meal planning is cooking for a large gathering, which requires planning ahead and prep work, and also results in leftovers that can be used for other meals later in the week (when maybe you don’t feel like cooking as much after your party).

  • Elliott

    I like to roast a big pile of onions and then add to dishes during the week. The idea of a MEP book would be great. Make sure you stop in Chicago when that comes out.

  • Eric

    We sometimes do a “Char Siu” rotation — chinese marinated pork loin. Served on the first day as slices of pork with accompanying veg. Next day turns into pork fried rice (usually has leftovers). If we are feeling particularly energetic, some of the pork also turns into filling for Char Siu Bao (bbq pork buns).

    When we do the roast chicken rotation, the leftovers often turn into risotto. (made with stock from previous roast chickens.)

    Our kids have used, a little, the Williams Sonoma kid cooking books. We’ve loved them because they’re real cook books. They talk about mise en place, use real ingredients, and, while they can be done by the kids, they’re all things I’d be happy making too.

  • Andrew

    Make a pot of chickpeas (or any beans for that matter). Save the cooking liquid, it serves as a nice broth that I serve with some stale bread cubes thrown in as a starter for dinner. Eat the chickpeas over broiled or fried polenta rectangles (which themselves are leftover from the grits you made for breakfast earlier in the week). Take some more of the chickpeas and top your lunch salads with them. If you still have more chickpeas, sautee them onion, pepper, curry spices, coconut milk, some of the chickpea broth, and any leftover cooked veggies you have in the fridge, for a lovely curry you can serve over rice. If you still have any chickpeas left over, puree them with some garlic, tahini, and cumin for hummus. Every Sunday I plan breakfasts and dinners for the entire week, and much of it depends on careful repurposing of leftovers. It also makes it a lot easier to shop once a week at the farmers market and local co-op, and avoids the “what’s for dinner tonight?” conundrum that so often leads to bad take-out or worse. I ALWAYS know what’s for dinner tonight.

  • Tim H

    Beans. I make a big pot once or twice a month, and then use them for beans with rice, beans on toast, beans in soup, beans in pasta, or smashed into a bean dip. My favorite recipes are red beans and rice and Thomas Keller’s bean ragu from Ad Hoc.

    Kimchi. As a side dish, in kimchi soup, or in kimchi-ginger dumplings (with just a dipping sauce or in a broth with ginger, scallions, and sesame oil).

  • Elizabeth

    I like to make a big pot of Cuban black beans if I’m looking for a good stretcher. Beans over rice with avocado and salsa one night, sweet potato or chicken and black bean burritos or enchiladas another, and whatever is left gets turned into soup.

  • melissa

    Our big (no pun intended) re-purpose-able meals include: the ever faithful roasted or beer can chicken, carnitas or slow roasted pork of any kind, rice and beans (seriously so transferable), and roasted veggies!

  • Marc Barringer

    Corned Beef and full size roasts as well. Sandwiches, soups, hash, taco fillings. How about crowdsourcing this: everyone gets a main meal, and then stretches it to two or three more? (Hope that doesn’t piss Michael off)

  • Judith

    I make a big batch of coconut rice. I’ll first have it as a side dish to some fish just as it is with some scallions on top. The I’ll use leftovers and make fried rice (add some egg, peas, carrots, scallions, maybe some broccoli). And with the remaining leftovers I’ll do a coconut rice burrito (add some chicken or shrimp or grilled fish, some lime, corn, mango)

  • Christine Valada

    I would like to reiterate the pork shoulder. I’ve only been cooking it for about two years, because it was not something I can recall being cooked when I was growing up, but it is so versatile. And it is so inexpensive. Day one is a great Sunday Supper–it looks and tastes great, but basically cooks itself all day in the oven with almost no work. Days two and three are good for pulled pork sandwiches (choose your own bbq sauce) or tacos or posole.

    Little, I would say, is as wonderful or versatile as that roast chicken, but I recently taught my millennial son both the roast chicken and braised pork shoulder staples.

    • Kyle

      Agreed 100% on pork shoulder. It can be cooked in the oven, crock pot, or smoker and is virtually foolproof. So versatile, tasty, and inexpensive.

  • Allison

    I like to make a pork tenderloin when I know I won’t have time to cook during the week.

    I usually coat mine with some olive oil, fresh lime juice and an eye-balled mix of ancho and guajillo and cayenne powders, Mexican oregano, garlic powder salt and pepper and then I throw some allspice berries and cloves in the pan next to the pork. Bake at 375F until its done.

    We eat some sliced that night and I usually shred the rest to keep portioned in the freezer. A 1/2 pound is enough to make tacos for two people. I usually sauté some onion in bacon fat and then throw in the defrosted meat to crisp up a bit. Toast up corn tortillas on the stove top and if I’m pressed for time I use Frontera brand habañero salsa to top them off.

  • Charlie Russel

    I think of sausage as that kind of effort. I spend the time to make a batch of, say, Basque Chorizo, And now I have an almost instant meal or meals. I can simply grill it and eat it, or cook it up with an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a half can of diced tomatoes, and some left-over rice and I have a delicious meal in less than 20 minutes from walking in the door to eating. Or maybe it’s Mexican Chorizo, and I cook it up with onion and build burritos. Or a Polish Kielbasa combined with sauerkraut and mushrooms.

    The key is that in making my sausage, I’ve already done the major part of the work, building a base flavour profile that can easily be used to make a quick, nutritious, and inexpensive meal.

    (And that roast chicken? Enchiladas!)

  • Chris

    Again with the roasted chicken…I will make some butternut squash soup in my pressure cooker, usually with star anise and or 5 spice powder to have on day 1. You can use the shredded chicken on day two along with the soup, peas, carrots and puff pastry to make chicken pot pies. Its really simple and really good.

  • Jacques Gauvin

    A mise en place cookbook would be a great tool. Thinking about your example of a roast chicken becoming three different meals, and creating a book outlining “how to put food on the table”, one thing that would be useful is how to plan meals for a week. Most people feel they don’t have time to cook every day, but I think most folks can find the time to cook once a week, and with proper planning, and, yes, Mise en Place, it is pretty easy to cook multiple meals at once and then refrigerate or freeze portions for later. I do this with Meatballs and Red sauce, making about 40 meatballs, and then portioning them into 2-portion containers and freezing them. They thaw quickly, and can be used on a whim. I think it would be great to see other menu ideas in a similar vein, with the idea of cooking once a week and planning ahead.

    • Jim Demotses

      I agree wholeheartedly with Jacques. The greatest challenge I find is shopping and planning meals for the week. Also wish that cookbooks would include weight measurements for all ingredients.

  • Trudy

    I love the idea of bringing home economics back in the form of a cookbook! We had classes at school, our mothers and grandmothers to teach us how to cook, before life became very busy. Many families don’t have the time or energy when it comes to the fundamentals of meal prep, shopping lists, planning, nutrition, etc. Those things were fun for me as a mom of six. Crazy, but fun! I had my Laurel’s Kitchen open at all times and read it until it fell apart! Being in the kitchen with my family has provided some great memories. Do it Michael. Bring back the basics of good food!

  • Kimberly Heggen


    With the advent of first the freezer and then the microwave oven, not to mention ghastly frozen not-meals, our society has forgotten the skills of menu planning and household management. There was a reason for the old traditions such as a roasted cut of meat on Sunday… other dishes were made from it throughout the week. The British version is roast beef for Sunday dinner, made later into shepherd’s pie or cottage pie, then lastly into hash and finally soup.

    I like vintage cookbooks for this sort of thing. Yes, some of the actual recipes are dated and may not agree with our modern tastes, but details can be adapted. Isabella Beeton’s Book of Household Management is a great example.

    I make homemade French bread almost every week. We eat it warm out of the oven and drenched with butter. Then for the next few days my husband munches on it with cheese for lunch. Finally when it gets more stale, it might end up as a croque-monsieur or similar. The last 1/3 or so ends up in the freezer, and might go into bread stuffing, or French toast, or bread pudding, or a cheese strata. Some gets processed into crumbs and used for coatings or recipes such as my bread-crumb pancakes.

    This all takes time, and planning, but it’s doable. I’m a physician who works many hours a week but manage to put home-cooked food on the table almost every meal. It might be leftover cold homemade pizza, but it’s never something out of a box.

  • Kimberly Heggen

    Slow-cooked pork, in slow-cooker or on the grill over indirect heat… first just by itself or as barbecue pork sammiches, then Cuban sandwiches cooked on the panini grill, then as a pizza topping or in an omelettel

  • Mike Tremoulet

    One approach is to start with more “intact” ingredients and break it down. Pork shoulder has been mentioned here – you can take a Boston butt, carve off a chunk and roast it, braise and shred some of it, and grind the rest. One ingredient, a bit of prep work on a Sunday afternoon, and you have different meals for days. (Same idea with a whole chicken – poached breasts one night, chunk the legs/thighs for a stir fry, and make a soup from the carcass.)

    Another approach is to extend leftovers. Imagine that you have leftover meat of any sort – some Easter ham, some of Sunday’s pot roast, a couple of extra breakfast sausage patties you meant to eat this morning, whatever. Extend it with cannellini beans – finely dice some mirepoix, sweat it in generous olive oil, add a drained can of cannellini beans to warm through, then add the meat. Dress with a mustard vinaigrette if it goes with the meat. That’s a lot faster to do than to type out. Other types of beans as well as rice are great extenders like this.

    Both of these find ways to reuse the main ingredient. Flip it around: Another thought is to reuse the other components. Make double the diced mirepoix you need for a recipe, and stash the rest in the fridge. Use it one day to start a soup, the next day to flavor a meatloaf, the third day to stuff a chicken leg. It’s like the prep kitchen – all the background work is done, you’re just assembling a meal from prepared/par-cooked components.

    More as I think of it…

  • Jen

    Yesterday’s grilled, steamed, or sautéed vegetables get chopped up and stirred into rice, made into a frittata, or thrown into a pasta sauce. Or they get mixed with other leftovers for a “stir-fry.”

    My favorite repurposing is after St Patrick’s Day when corned beef and potatoes get turned into hash. The best!

  • Gregory Berg

    My wife and I have been empty nesters for a couple of years. Cooking for 2 has been interesting and made me become more efficient in the kitchen and more cost effective. Many recipes are written to serve 4-6 portions and some may be for 8 or more. I have two approaches when I do meal planning for the week. One, I will cook extra portions and then portion out excess servings and use a food saver to seal and freeze the food. I then re-heat in simmering water (or microwave) the second approach is to cook a protein (chicken) and use for at least three meals in different styles. A couple of examples of food I store using the FoodSaver is Braised Short Ribs or Pulled Pork. Both reheat splendidly in simmering water with no loss of flavor of moisture. Yesterday I braised 4 chicken breasts (on the bone) in southwest tomato sauce (onion, tomato, garlic, chicken broth, New Mexico chili powder and burnt tortilla). I shredded the chicken and mixed with some of the sauce and made stacked enchiladas, tonight I will use some of the chicken as part of a chicken salad and tomorrow I will make chicken tacos. In either case very little food goes to waste and dinner is on the table very efficiently with no loss of flavor or freshness.

  • Debbye

    I’m mom to a sixteen-month-old, and I run a small business. (Talk about two full-time jobs…) I’m also on a pretty tight budget.
    Pork shoulders are often on sale and can be made into so many meals. (If I have a free day I prefer to cook the roast in the oven. If not, I pull out my trusty slow cooker.) I will use the meat in tacos or burritos, over rice or salad, stirred into chili, etc. My daughter’s favorite meal from this is pulled pork/pineapple quesadillas.
    I also use beef chuck roasts, whole chickens, and turkeys to stretch my budget. I adapt my menu to what’s on sale that week.
    I only get to spend about 2 waking hours every weekday with my daughter, so cooking is not how I want to spend my time. For now the slow cooker is my go-to appliance in the kitchen. I don’t always get the desired results as far as texture and taste, but I can still put a home cooked meal on the table for my family without spending too much of my time in the kitchen. When my daughter gets a little older I hope to spend much more time in the kitchen with her. I need to be her home ec teacher starting now.

  • KimL

    I make a big batch of meatballs with Italian seasonings. The first night I’ll make spaghetti with meatballs and marinara sauce. Then later in the week, I’ll warm up the meatballs with barbecue sauce (homemade or store-bought) and serve them with buttered, parslied egg noodles.

    Also, I bake meatballs at 400F for 20 minutes instead of cooking them in a pan; no need to flip. It’s much easier, less messy and they get great caramelization on the bottoms.

  • matt liggett

    I have always been a fan of interesting cross utilizations. I must say though, kids in the kitchen, from start to finish might be the most important piece of information missing from the home economics world. I’m not just speaking on cooking food either, but the history, the processes, proper sanitation, storage, why it is we actually must do things a certain way. The fast food, and boxed food world has completely taken over American food culture. We should all be trained to be chefs, but we should all know why we are doing, what we are doing.

  • Deanna

    My most recent meal success was roasting a lamb forequarter (not a cut I ever saw in the US, but it’s really common in New Zealand), then using it as a gyro filling at lunch the next day, and in a hash for breakfast.

  • Leah Weiss Caruso

    One pot chili, 3 meals. Especially economical if you forgo the meat. 1) served up in bowls with cornbread, 2) over potato hash with a fried or poached egg on top, and 3) nachos. Right when my kids are sick of chili, I pull out the nachos and suddenly no one minds that it’s the third time in 7 days we’re having chili.

  • Josh

    TOTALLY dig this!! Yes, we need home every for the new millenium! Not how to follow a recipe, but how to run a home kitchen so it delivers regular meals.

    My go-to repurposeable meal is roast pork shoulder, which can then become a shepherd’s pie or carnitas or enchiladas or any number or things.

  • Peter

    A long time ago (in 2003), The Washington Post ran a short series of what they called “Trifecta” recipes. Basically, a large entree was prepared the first night, and then leftovers were repurposed and supplemented with side dishes for the second and third nights. Unfortunately, only two or three of these trifectas were published. I generally only have time to do major cooking a couple of times a week, so a way to plan ahead and save time for the “off” nights would be great.

  • Andy

    When we grill burgers we always make two too many to make “burger pasta.” Use the smoky burgers (with cheese if you melted cheeseburgers) in a tomato sauce with plenty of green pepper. Make enough for two pasta dinners (freeze some if you don’t want beef 3 days in a row). Three meals from 1 1/14 good ground beef for two.

  • Kelly

    “Planned Overs” is a big aspect of cooking at my house! One cycle that works in my two person household starts with a trip to the butcher to get their spiraled sausages that are stuffed with aged provolone and parsley and a little chile; I buy twice as much as we would need for one dinner.
    On the first night those are grilled or roasted and served with some grilled broccoli rabe, or some roasted romanesco, etc. The leftover sausages are reserved.
    Night two sees garlic and kale and other “braising greens” hit a hot pan with lots of olive oil. The “planned over” sausage is sliced thinly and tossed with the greens and tangled together with pasta. Again, the quantity of this dish is also more than what we would eat in a night. A shower of reggiano over the top – it’s a very quick meal.
    On the next night the “planned over” pasta with sausage and greens is now transformed into a pasta frittata. Some more reggiano, a mess of eggs, maybe some sautéed zucchini or peppers gets added – whatever’s about that is harmonious. (And finally, leftover frittata packs beautifully in a lunch box!)

  • Kelly

    Another item in rotation is to have extra proteins (and sometimes veg), be tossed into migas the next day. It extends and expands a little leftover roasted chicken, braised pork, etc. into a different and satisfying dinner or hearty breakfast.

  • Laura

    From almost any meat based main dish a soup can be concocted the next day. That’s 2 dishes. Turning the leftover soup into an interesting risotto comes next. Cold leftover risotto gets an egg a bit more cheese and a thick coating of panko. Bake until hot and panko is brown and crispy. 4 meals out of one.
    Yes people need to learn to cook this way. Each of the 4 meals must have different tastes and textures though or it’s not working in my opinion. Sure I can eat beans out of the crock pot for 4 days but I’ll be bored by sameness stretching food that way.

  • Jon

    I was really hoping for preservation, sort of a non-meat version of Charcuterie where you expand on pickling, canning, etc.

    Not to knock this idea, but it sounds a lot like the Think chapter in Twenty. But I’ll probably read it either way.

  • Jon in Albany

    Hard to believe that it’s already been 8 years, but when Chef Pardus put the Chicken Butchering 101 videos on YouTube, I learned how to cut up a chicken.

    One common route I take during the week is to get a chicken and break it down. Legs, thighs, and wings get coated in a rub and grilled for dinner one night. Then the breasts can be used in a number of ways – chicken marsala, seasoned for tacos or nachos (kids love tacos and nachos), chicken/broccoli with pasta, chicken parm, sometimes I just salt them and grill with the other meat. Bones get used for pressure cooker stock. Schmaltz is also an option….

    Here’s a link to the first of a series of 3 videos

  • Cynthia

    Vegetarian ideas besides legumes!! (which are great). It’s CSA season so we have been working with a lot of greens. I just dealt with a scary amount of different types of bok choy. I cleaned, cooked off, cooled and chopped it all. It tastes surprisingly like arugula in non Asian applications. Quiche. Soup. Lasagne. Pot stickers. Bok-choy-kopita. And I feel virtuous for making stock w a carcass, making risotto w Kuri squash and my stock and …. bok choy! and making arancini to freeze w the leftovers, which will be 3 easy meals. I feel like I have go tos like veggie pancakes, something-kopita, calzone, etc. but it would be delightful to get interesting ideas for repurposing leftovers. I have a very major allergy so we virtually never eat out, so I’m cooking every meal no matter what’s going on. I also want to put in a plug for a dinner concept that can be repurposed into a few different lunch ideas for the week. Thanks!

  • Chris

    Spaghetti and meatballs. Leftovers, meatballs subs for lunch (making homemade rolls as well) or for breakfast use the marina for poached eggs (shakshuka or u’ova all’inforno).

  • Lindsay

    Slow-cooked lean beef roast – serve as a roast one night, sandwiches w, soup or salad, and then use what’s left to make a hash. As long as you have an onion, the just add any leftover veggies are in the refrigerator, Roasted carrots, potatoes, or beets; sauté peppers with the onions, add leftover green peas or beans, even shred and toss in some grains. Hash is one of the best ways to use up leftovers ever.

  • Andrew

    Thought it worth mentioning that An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler is an excellent work on this very subject. She gives tons of great examples of how to make your efforts in the kitchen extend further into more meals. It’s a great way to think and to plan your meals for the week. I can’t imagine cooking any other way without wasting tons of food, and after all the cost and effort in sourcing, purchasing, and preparing it, that is simply not an option.

  • Rachel

    Braised beef!

    There is a Gourmet recipe for a three ingredient pot roast (chuck roast, tomatoes, garlic) that can last days around here:

    Sliced, in sauce with veggies on the side
    Under melted cheese with onions on a soft white bun
    Tossed with pasta
    Dregs spread in a wide pan as a base for baked eggs.

  • jj13

    Chili, make a big batch on Sunday with cornbread and all the garnishes – cheese, onions, jalapeno, sour cream, guac, etc.

    Next meal – add rice & beans and make burritos

    Next – add to scrambled eggs or omelette

    Next – add broth to stretch into soup, or some tomato paste and red wine, reduce and top pasta

  • Armymum

    sometimes when I make beef stew, carne guisada, or beef burgundy I’ll have left over “juice”/liquid…. which I repurpose into a base for another soup…. leftover steak (is there such a thing?!?) I usually turn into hash; chicken paillards to chicken parm / marsala or piccata; taco components to chili….

  • Chuck McLean

    There won’t be much of this left unless you aren’t an empty-nester, but we are. Saute a chopped onion, chopped red bell pepper, a couple of minced cloves of garlic. When that it is ready, add a can of refried beans, a can of black beans rinsed, a can of green chilis, and a cup of your favorite salsa or picante sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes or so. We use it first night in burritoes, one night as the base of a salad (think tomatoes, avocado, your favorite salad greens, etc.). The night we really feel like we don’t have time to make dinner, we put whatever is left in Tostitoes Scoops, sprinkle with a little cheese, and bake on a half sheet pan for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

  • Victoria

    There are two of us for dinner. Whenever I roast a whole chicken, we eat the dark meat (our favorite) – one leg, one thigh, one wing each for dinner (always served with lingonberries). Then I use the breast meat for another meal or, often, two, which could be (depending on what we feel like) classic chicken salad, coronation chicken, chicken tetrazzini, chicken curry, and use the chicken in place of duck in the Duck and Pear Salad with Mango Chutney Dressing from The Silver Palate Cookbook.

  • Glenn Shanks

    I too like roast chicken, for the at least 3 meals gift. The first, roast chicken; the second (the fun one) tacos, enchiladas, burritos, curried in mayo for a salad or sandwiches, and on, and on and on… And then the stock for rice dishes, soups, and sauces. Yes, we are a 2/3 Hispanic flamily.

  • Jason Carter

    Lobster. I buy 3 or 4 4 pounders for a large group. Steam them and serve the meat with accompaniments day one. That evening I use the carcasses and shells to make a concentrated stock. I also spend the evening harvesting the knuckle meat and reserving the leftovers. The next day, some of the leftovers mix with butter and some of the concentrate and tarragon for lobster rolls. The following day, the rest of the concentrate and meat goes into bisque.

  • Darcie

    I second the idea of exploring vegetarian make-ahead/multi-meal options. I like the idea of getting entirely different textures out of a make-it-once and get three meals plan – partly because I hate eating leftovers (first world problem to be sure). Legumes have been mentioned and that works perfectly: whole beans for one meal, pureed/refried beans for another, add the puree to a soup for thickening as the third meal (adding crunch in various ways for contrast with each recipe). I’m stymied for now about how to do the same with vegetables (other than baked potatoes which can be used in a billion ways). But maybe the theme of roast, puree/mash, soup is a good way to approach it.

  • Ryan

    In keeping with Ruhlman’s scholarly style, I think a home-ec for the modern menu and kitchen would be great. I’d buy it.

  • lisa anderl

    At least once a month in the colder months we roast or rotisserie a whole duck, and it’s amazing how far a duck can go! Eat the legs/thighs the first night with whatever sides you want. Reserve the duck fat. The second night slice 1/2 of the breast into a cream sauce with chanterelles to put on pasta. The third night take the rest of the leftover meat and put it into a homemade fried rice – use some of the duck fat to fry it. Use the rest of the duck fat to fry potatoes any time. If you still have duck meat left after this, make a quesadilla. Finally, make a duck stock from the carcass (add a chicken carcass if you want) – freeze the stock and use it to make a delicious risotto any time you want.

    • Erik

      I was going to write pretty much the exact same thing. Until I saw you already did!

      We also use the Duck stock to make soups with and it’s incredible. Occasionally, we will also make duck confit with the thighs and legs.

      When rendering skin for fat you can also make duck crackling……

  • David Somerville

    A great multi-meal option is a classic salt cured country ham.

    1. Initial meal
    2. Sandwiches later
    3. Use the hardened outer bits, some of the fat and various trimmings off of the country ham and make an INCREDIBLE ham salad.
    4. Use the ham bone to season a pot of pinto beans.

  • sharon saulnier

    Home Ec for sure!! People don’t cook because they don’t know how! I am so lucky to have grown up with parents that loved food and knew what to do with ingredients. My dad taught my Mom how to cook,his parents were from Calabria and grew all of their own food. They kept rabbits and chickens and their cellar was full of jars of food to eat in the winter. My grandmother cooked her tomatoes over an open fire pit in the back yard for canning. They had fruit trees as well as vegetables. All of this in North Jersey!!!

  • lynn

    Potpies are best made with leftovers. Proteins, veggies, sauce topped off with any number of carb based options.

  • Pat O'Grady

    There are just two of us. One favorite (these are usually on sunday) is multiple chicken leg quarters on the charcoal grill. Leftovers go into chinese chicken w vegetables. The smoky grilled flavor is killer.

    An easy variation is pork loin end roast. Juicier and more forgiving than loin.

    If i have the time, i do a mass of grilled vegs: zuchhini, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, cerignola olives, tomatoes. Big pieces, no skewers except for the mushrooms.

    Finally, when the weather turns bad, i make a bunch of
    veal/lamb meatballs: panko, egg, parsley, garlic, shredded mozzarella. 2 inch scoop. Skip browning. Just put into 9 x 13 pan w good quality jar sauce–tomato basil, roasted red pepper, or your favorite and bake. Add artichokes and olives last half hour.

    I have gone on too long. Hungry. Chicken almost done

  • Matt

    A classic English one is making roast lamb, then the next day making shepherds pie with the leftovers. E.g. chop meat finely, braise with onions carrots, stock, seasonings, then top with mashed potato and bake in the oven.

  • Nadine

    One time saving and economical thing to do is to make a large amount of a side disk for various iterations. Quick cook proteins are easy for toppers. Mashed potatoes plain, as cakes, as stuffing for instance. Cooked rice keeps a few days (esp. in the freezer) and goes into stir-fry, as a base for stew or as a base for a salad. Giant Salad with protein of choice freshly added for lunch for a few days or gazpacho later. Ditto for steamed vegetables — with protein for dinner, in or as salad for lunch, in omlette for breakfast. In our house, adding protein is the easy part and takes less time than the “sides.”

  • Anthony

    YES. Help me feed my family well in a home with young children where both parents work full time. I will buy every book you write in the series.

  • Ron

    It seems logical that all three areas could be combined, cooking for one or two, sous vide and planning.

    Here’s three meals from short ribs for more than two: short ribs, ribs hash and eggs for breakfast and short rib quesadillas (one or two, a second can be refrigerated for a reheat without any loss of flavor at all . . .)


  1.  E-Twenty | Michael Ruhlman
  2.  In Short Measures Is Out! | Michael Ruhlman
  3.  French Onion Soup! | Michael Ruhlman
  4.  Sweet Bell Pepper Soup | Michael Ruhlman