Photo: ThinkstockBy Lynn Andriani
The Ideal Scoopable Chili
Why it's good the first night: Many renditions of this meat, beans and veggies dinner take hours, but this one is ready in 30 minutes and brings a Friday-night feel to any day of the week.
Why it's even better the next day: The Tex-Mex favorite tends to thicken overnight, making it all the better for scooping up with thick tortilla chips. (Follow the USDA's guidelines and put the food in the fridge within two hours of cooking.)
Get the recipe: Turkey Chili
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Lasagna That Stays Where You Put It
Why it's good the first night: This casserole serves a crowd (at least nine people) and is rich and filling but also happens to be vegetarian.
Why it's even better the next day: Letting the lasagna chill for a day and then reheating it gently (so it's warm but not piping) will make slicing it into neat squares a breeze. One caveat: when you're boiling the pasta, take care not to overcook it; you want it a little bit firm, since it'll become tender during baking and even more so in reheating.
Get the recipe: Vegetarian Lasagna
A Most Mellow Curry
Why it's good the first night: Chicken salad in a zippy curry dressing is so versatile: You can make it part of a larger buffet or serve it as a main lunch or dinner course, scooping it into cups of Bibb lettuce or layering it between slices of toasted flatbread.
Why it's even better the next day: If you make a curry or curried salad and eat it the same night, you'll taste the cumin, the cayenne, the garam masala, the ginger and the turmeric individually. Come back 12 to 24 hours later, though, and the flavors will have melded, resulting in a smooth, savory and robust-tasting dish.
Get the recipe: Curried Chicken Salad
The Reward for Many Hours Over a Hot Stove
Why it's good the first night: Iconic beef bourguignon is one of those meals with a transporting aroma: Are you in your familiar old kitchen, or are you in Julia Child's Paris apartment?
Why it's even better the next day: The combination of crispy-edged cubes of beef, wine and vegetables is irresistible the first night, but peak deliciousness actually occurs after the bay leaf, thyme, garlic, onion and wine have had a day to work their magic on the meat, helping it become even more tender on the inside. Your best bet is to let the stew cool, then cover and refrigerate it in its pot. About 20 minutes before serving, bring the dish to a simmer, cover and let bubble slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
Get the recipe: Boeuf Bourguignon
The Best Lunch of the Week
Why it's good the first night: Meatloaf is the beloved blue-plate special that can go in a thousand directions, whether you make it with onion soup mix or crushed Cheddar Goldfish. It's one of those meals that doesn't take very long to make but tastes as if you've been in the kitchen for hours.
Why it's even better the next day: There are people out there who make meatloaf just so they can put it on a sandwich. Such people deserve our love and admiration. Toasted sourdough and crusty ciabatta can stand up to a thick slice of last night's supper; for toppings, try sour, crunchy pickles; sharp Cheddar; and coleslaw.
Get the recipe: Meatloaf with Ricotta
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