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Busy Weekdays Call for Quick Dishes

Save time by turning tonight's leftovers into tomorrow's lunch.

Meal preparation

Transform dinner leftovers into tomorrow's lunch to save time during the busy week.

(Photo: dima_sidelnikov / Getty Images)

During the school year, the regular rigmarole of a busy parent’s day goes something like this: work, cook dinner, shuffle the kids to basketball practice and ballet class, make sure they do their homework, sleep. Wake up, repeat.

Squeeze making lunches into the list and free time becomes a mere whisper in the wind.

Quick dinners that can easily be turned into lunches may save you time and energy. The following recipes will be a hit at dinner – and an even bigger hit at lunch the next day.

Chili macaroni skillet

Chill Chili

Pasta is a parent’s go-to easy meal, which is why Rachael Ray’s 30-minute recipe for chili mac is the perfect option for families juggling work, school and extracurricular activities. Chili mac combines all of the flavors of a chili with a hearty pasta dish. The meal reheats well and will still pack a spicy punch the next day.

Greek Goodness

What could make a kid happier than leftover pizza? Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s recipe for French bread pizza is quick and easy to make: top with Greek salad ingredients like olives, feta cheese, tomatoes and cucumber, and you’ve got a healthy dinner-turned-lunch.

Diamond Chicken Strips

Executive chef James Hackney of Twenty-Eight Atlantic, the AAA Four Diamond Rated restaurant at Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in East Harwich, Mass., shared his recipe for fried chicken strips. The kid-friendly strips, seasoned with paprika, kosher salt and garlic powder, will be just as tasty tomorrow as lunch.

It’s a Wrap

Executive chef Chris Shea of The Wayfarer, a AAA Three Diamond restaurant in New York City, shared his recipe for chicken paillard salad. The mixture of escarole, herbs, apple slices and almonds is drizzled with a vinaigrette and paired with roasted chicken. For lunch, fill a wrap with the leftover salad and chicken and top with avocado or tomato.

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