Each month, we encourage you to Cook Once, Eat 3x: Start with a special Sunday recipe that yields a bit extra, then two quick and easy recipes to transform those leftovers during the week. This is get ahead cooking at its most inventive: instead of repeats night after night, our strategic recipe trio gives you three completely different dinners and zero food waste. Cook a little extra now, and save time and money later!

This month, start with a big batch of quinoa. The ultra trendy whole grain shows no signs of slowing down, and it’s versatility makes it perfect for get-ahead cooking. Because quinoa is less starchy (it’s actually a seed), it becomes wonderfully creamy when slightly overcooked. They also become crispy when sautéed and fluffy when steamed—perfect for salad toppers or as the bed for a saucy main.

Instead of water, simmer the quinoa in a mixture of stock and a bold chile and soy sauce. Two cups simmer again in coconut milk for a fragrant savory porridge topped with tender poached chicken. More quinoa is tossed with a springy pea, asparagus, and spinach salad. The rest of the batch becomes the base for a saucy, spicy take on a King Ranch casserole. This is quinoa like you’ve never tasted, and most of the work is done before the week begins.

Sunday Night: Poached Chicken Thighs with Ginger-Coconut QuinoaUse 2 cups quinoa tonight; reserve 3 1/2 cups quinoa for weeknight recipes

Weeknight 1: Spring Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with BaconUse 1 3/4 cups of the reserved cooked quinoa.

Weeknight 2: King Ranch Chicken and Quinoa CasseroleUse 1 3/4 cups of the reserved cooked quinoa.Want less? If you want just enough quinoa for tonight, cook 1 cup uncooked quinoa in 1 1/4 cups liquid for a yield of 2 cups (1/2 cup per person).

More Ways with Quinoa: