My family of six includes four kids who are growing every day, along with their appetites. That’s why making a big batch of something delicious, something that can be served again and maybe even repurposed too, hits all the high notes at my house. Here’s to cooking smarter, without sacrificing a single bite of flavor. 

Simplified Pot Roast

You know the idea, a big juicy beef roast gently bubbling in the oven along with earthy veggies like potatoes and carrots. Except this one goes faster and it’s easier. Plus you get ideas for repurposing leftovers including vegetable beef soup and the hash my kids ask for every time.

2. Veggie Rice Bowls

All you need is two sheet pans full of vegetables—sweet potatoes, onions, Brussels sprouts, beets, whatever your family enjoys—and you’ll have dinner for days. Start with rice bowls topped with crispy bacon and crumbled feta cheese. Next, you’ll have the fixings for a vegetarian crustless quiche. And wrap up the week with a roasted vegetable pizza

Tacos, and Then Some

Start with a slow cooker full of taco meat and on the first night, enjoy tacos straight up. Then save those leftovers! You’ve got taco casserole, taco soup and even taco pop tarts in your near future.

Mac & Cheese w/ Sweet Potatoes

Always double the batch of this magical mac and cheese—with pureed sweet potatoes and cauliflower mixed right into the silky cheese sauce—so you can reheat in the oven with slices of juicy tomatoes on top. Or repurpose into mac & cheese cups for lunches too.

Roasted Chicken

Does anything smell cozier than a golden chicken roasting in the oven? Add a bed of onions underneath and a couple of lemons inside and yes. Yes, you’ve made a classic even more amazing. Don’t waste a single morsel because you’ll use leftovers in a brand new way, transformed into coconut curry chicken noodle soup

Beef & Mushroom Mini Meatloaves

The benefits of these half and half meatloaves are so many! Mushrooms help fill out the meatloaves while using less meat (and adding nutrition!) Making them individually sized makes them cook faster, and of course, adorable. Plus these minis are easier to slice for meatloaf sandwiches later in the week. Want a third option? Cube your cooked meatloaves (or reserve part of the uncooked mixture) for Italian Wedding Soup.

Pesto Meatballs

I have only one rule when it comes to these turkey pesto meatballs: always make a double batch. I freeze the second half, which has come in handy every single time. Serve these beauties over a bed of pasta or spaghetti squash, then use the rest inside pizza dough. Instant calzones

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

What’s more versatile than pulled pork? Use it in tacos, enchiladas or change the flavors by adding a lip-smacking layer of barbeque sauce inside a pork quesadilla with cheese.


Once you start making this shortcut version of Marcella Hazan’s bolognese sauce, you’ll never go back. Especially when you can serve it over pasta, inside a shortcut skillet lasagna or even make it the base of irresistible pizza pockets for lunchboxes.