Our team has written before about nextovers, which are best described as leveled up leftovers in which elements from today’s meal become a new dish tomorrow. For home chefs, this meal prep method allows one day’s efforts to serve another. Let’s explore how to apply this to summer meals so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside enjoying the season.
Intentionally make extra
Making more today will ultimately save you time and reduce waste when extra food from today can be used for tomorrow’s meal.
Anything goes if it works for you
Nextovers are about creativity, working less, and saving time. If a dish checks these boxes for you then it’s a nextover win.
Keep helpful food on hand
When in doubt, nextovers work well with versatile foods like pizza, paninis, quesadillas, wraps, salads, and grains. Keep these freezer and pantry staples on hand for easy nextover dishes.
Spices, sauces, and more
Reinventing a dish often means adding new flavors. With an array of sauces, spices, and fresh herbs on hand you’ll be able to make effortless meals with new tastes.
Nutritious and convenient
Pick up an assortment of Guiding Stars earning microwaveable or quick cooking grain pouches, frozen vegetables, and low-sodium canned goods that help you bring dishes together quickly.
Label and freeze
A few frozen cubes of leftover sauce or a handful of diced veggies and sliced meats may not look like much, but when used in combination with other ingredients they could become your nextover meal. Label and date items, then store them in an accessible place in your freezer to ensure they’re used!
Meal suggestions and strategies
Two simple summer foods, corn and chicken, can be enjoyed as Grilled Corn with Lime Butter, then Grilled Chicken with Corn Salsa, and finally a tasty Chicken Tostada. Reinvent corn into a salsa and turn chicken into a tostada that’s easy for a weeknight meal or a casual evening with friends.
For something different on the grill, prepare Grilled Pork Loin with Rainbow Root Kebabs today and use leftover potatoes for Lemony Grilled Potato Salad tomorrow to enjoy along with Chipotle Pork Wraps.
Nextovers can also be simple. Take time to prepare Grilled Summer Vegetables to accompany any meal, chopping extra vegetables while you’re at it. Use the extras for a grilled eggplant appetizer, to top a pizza or flatbread, for a unique salad or grilled sandwich, or to create a simple side.
When your meal leaves you with a limited assortment of ingredients (such as herbs), along with some extra starch and protein from your meal, consider how you can create dishes out of these deconstructed ingredients. For example, it takes just a bit of extra thinly sliced veggies and protein to fill a spring roll or to make a unique pasta dish using what you have on hand.
If your job as the home chef has you a bit burnt out, then nextovers are your new BFF. With small changes, your limited leftovers become a whole new meal that’s ready quickly with little effort. For more on how to take advantage of this time saving method, check out this helpful post.