What's there to say about leftovers that hasn't already been said? When you take that tupper-plastic-bowl out of the fridge after it has sat in there a good 24 hours, you just know you're in for something special. Unless you had time to slow-cook your entire meal, there is no way you can get maximum incorporation of flavors in some dishes. When we make our "ragu/red sauce" (that's on the menu for TONIGHT! - pics and words on that tomorrow..) we try to let it simmer and get those sausage/garlic/onion/tomato/etc. flavors to mix like singles at open bar on New Year's Eve... but eventually the champagne is popped and the bar closes and it's time to eat!
The flavors in those meals need time. When you put that sauce on hold for a few hours to get to room temp, then into a plastic tub and into the fridge overnight, you are helping that flavor reach it's final delicious destination. Obviously, the molecules are all slowed down (that's how the food is being preserved overnight) but there is still some action going on in there. Much like after midnight on New Year's Eve!
We often make dinners with leftovers in mind. We make "enough for two nights" so that our whole cooking production (and it IS a production) doesn't have to be repeated nightly, and we can get extra pleasure out of the hard work we put into the cooking process. Often we'll have something scheduled for that 2nd night - gym, tennis, run, shopping, late meeting, etc. - and when we get home late, dinner's ready in 10 minutes. Plan ahead!
We enjoyed the leftover fruits of our labor last night - the leftover Braised Chicken and Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Warmed in the microwave on it's wonderful "Dinner Plate Reheat" setting (ours says "Sensing" as if there are magical little microwaves feeling out the size and texture of the food) along with some frozen spinach (heated, also, in the 'wave), we thoroughly enjoyed the remainder of the meal we made two nights ago.
And tonight it's New Year's Eve all over again!
More leftover advice and tips can be found here and here.