Leftovers: Great or Gross?

Leftovers…everyone has them. Some people plan them, others despise them, and some view them as a happy consequence of making too much of a good thing.

I happen to like leftovers most of the time. There are some foods that do very well giving an encore performance and others that are opening-night stars but flame out. The thing is, this definition changes with the eater. What I consider to be a bang-up leftover meal might make you reach for the phone and a takeout menu.

I decided to make a list of the items I find myself looking forward to as leftovers and the ones I usually suffer through (because I feel too guilty to just throw them out). These are just preferences on my part. You may (probably will) disagree. In which case I’d love to hear your picks.

Leftover All-Stars

  1. Lasagna/manicotti/stuffed shells. YES. If I make lasagna for dinner one night, I wake up in a good mood the next day just thinking about leftovers. 
  2. Pulled pork. Just gets better, especially if it’s sauced. 
  3. Spiral ham. Cook for a couple of hours, eat for a week.
  4. Meatloaf. I prefer this the next day–pan-warmed slices of meatloaf on a roll with a little mayo and mustard are heaven. Heaven, I tell you.
  5. Chili. My idea of the ideal make-ahead meal. Even resurrected from the freezer, it’s delicious.

Leftover Fails

  1. Pizza. Hot or cold. Pizza is one of my very favorite foods. But I’ve never been a fan of reheated pizza; never eaten cold pizza for breakfast. I don’t even fully understand that concept. 
  2. Pot pie. So delicious on day 1, so mushy ever after. 
  3. Pasta Alfredo/macaroni and cheese. As many times as I’ve tried to, I’ve never been able to resurrect a cheese sauce successfully. I’m usually left with pasta clumped with cheese and swimming in butter. Which might have it’s charms, but it’s just not the same.
  4. Cream soups. Just, nope. 
  5. Ribs. So sad, but no. The meat gets stringy and greasy. I’ve found a work-around, though. If we happen to have any leftover ribs, I cut the meat from the bone and reheat it that way, with a little BBQ sauce. 

Now it’s your turn. Which leftovers do you look forward to from the minute you snap down the lid on your Rubbermaid containers? Which ones do you avert your eyes from as they languish on the fridge shelf?