Everyone has done it – grilled too many chicken breasts, bought a rotisserie chicken with no use in mind, ordered a whole roast chicken at a restaurant and had to resort to a doggie bag. Often the already cooked chickens at the grocery store are actually cheaper than buying a raw one so I get one thinking it was a deal but it’s not if you end up throwing good food away. No more! One of my 2016 resolutions was to waste less food and I realized the leftover chicken theory meant all this perfectly good food was going into the trash.
Total mistake – having leftover chicken means you are about 3/4 of the way to dinner. I started going through my recipes and realized I already had a great collection of ways to use up chicken. If the recipe calls for roasted breasts and all you have are grilled cutlets or leftover thighs, don’t worry – every dish listed here would be great with whatever chicken you have on hand to fold in. These dishes are perfect for crazy weeknights when you don’t have a ton of time but really want to make something delicious and filling. So next time you are at the store grab one of those chickens with no fear of running out of things to do with it.
This is one of my biggest go to meals since it has veggies, carbs and protein all in one. Just the other day I realized I not only had leftover chicken but also some swiss chard meant to go into a soup that never got used and was starting to go limp in the fridge. I whipped this dish up, poured myself a glass of wine and had dinner on the patio (pictured above). Totally elegant and no one would ever think it was leftovers.
This dish goes next level on using up leftovers because it freezes so well. Often I have leftovers and then have plans the next several nights. Make these enchiladas, throw them in the freezer and you have a full meal just sitting and waiting for you.
Probably the most obvious ways to use leftover chicken but I had include it because this version of chicken salad is so good. Pair it with some chips and maybe a green salad and you can totally call it dinner.
What to do with an over ripe avocado and leftover chicken? THIS. So delicious and a great use up meal after taco night. The chips, avocado, cheese, chicken – they all get used.
Make a big batch for dinner and then you can stretch that chicken even further by bringing in the rest for lunch the next day – it’s delicious cold or room temp.
And remember, whenever you are done with that chicken, if it’s on the bone, you make sure to save those in the freezer for the next time you want to make homemade chicken stock. Waste not want not!