20 Ideas for Using Up Roasted Chicken | The Rising Spoon

Saturday, March 22, 2014

20 Ideas for Using Up Roasted Chicken

20 Ideas for Using Up Leftover Roasted Chicken

One of my favorite frugal dishes is roasted chicken. From one whole chicken you get several meals worth of meat, plus leftover bones to make nutrient-dense homemade chicken stock

After the first night's bounty, the leftover chicken can be used in a myriad of other recipes or simply to snack upon.

But, if you roast chicken every week, it's likely you'll end up in a recipe rut! 

It happens to everyone. 

You might be cooking extra roasted chicken on purpose to use for quick meals later on, or maybe you want to have plenty of homemade broth in your freezer. 

Who knows.

There are a bazillion reasons why a pile of leftover cooked chicken might appear in your fridge.

And at that rate, you're bound to be stumped at some point with how to use the leftover chicken so it tastes just as good (or even better) than the first night's dish. Happens to me all the time! 

That's why I've compiled a list of ways to re-mix that surplus of cooked chicken, plus lots of tasty recipes to try out. That way if you're wondering what to do with last night's leftovers, you'll have some inspiration!

20 Ways to Use Leftover Chicken

1. Leafy Salad

Mix fresh greens with your favorite chopped veggies like red onion, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes, then other toppings such as toasted nuts, fruits and cheese, and top with shredded leftover chicken for extra protein. Toss gently with your favorite dressing or serve on the side. Salads are one of the easiest ways to fix a quick lunch or dinner in under 10 minutes!

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

2. Soup & Stock

With homemade or store-bought stock on hand, you can have a quick soup ready in about 30 minutes or less. To ensure you have plenty of stock in your freezer for those times, simmer leftover chicken bones (or other meaty bones) with veggie scraps, a bay leaf, a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar and plenty of purified water for 12-36 hours. 

For specific directions: how to make homemade meat stock and how to make nutrient-dense beef stock.

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

3. Chili

When I get tired of chicken & veggie soup (or other variations), I love to make white chicken chili. Using leftover chicken, plus homemade cooked white beans and homemade stock from the freezer makes this comforting dish come together in a snap. Of course, store-bought rotisserie chicken, canned beans & stock all work in a pinch, they're just not as flavorful. 

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

4. Curry

I have yet to fix my own curry at home, but I know once you have a few basic Indian spices in your pantry, it comes together quickly. If you're new to Indian cooking, I highly recommend Big Apple Curry. This blog is a great resource for beginners and the author is kind and helpful!

Try These Recipes with Chicken

5. Pizza

Whether you're using homemade dough, the store-bought stuff, a pre-made frozen pizza or even flat bread, shredded chicken makes a great topping that will keep you full longer! Try adding it to your favorite toppings or mixing the chicken with homemade barbecue sauce, sauteed red onions and cheese.

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

6. Calzones

I made calzones for the first time several months back using another blogger's recipe and BOY were they delicious. A little bit time consuming? Yes. But, oh so worth it. Even better, you can create a variety of fillings, par-bake them and freeze for later. 

If you're unfamiliar with dough and want to save time, I recommend buying it fresh from your local pizzeria (it's usually inexpensive). This is my go-to pizza dough since I haven't mastered the homemade version yet. 

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

7. Tacos, Burritos & Nachos

I'm so obsessed with tacos that I'm just mentioning burritos to be nice to you folks who like 'em. I live in Dallas, Texas. We like tacos here. Lots of them. End of story. Well, except for chimichangas. Those are pretty much deep fried burritos...but, I digress.

There are lots of ways to dress a taco and these days I prefer the standard "street-style" toppings of chopped cilantro, onion, a sprinkle of sea salt, and fresh squeezed lime juice. Don't forget the much loved red and green sauce. I still haven't figured out how to make it. That's why I keep visiting taquerias. 

My favorite meats for tacos are carnitas (pulled pork) and chorizo, but leftover roasted chicken works well, too. You might want to add a splash or two of chicken stock or extra cooking oil when you're reheating the chicken so it's not as dry. A juicy taco is beautiful taco.

Oh, and don't forget nachos! If you have the basic ingredients like your favorite chips (they don't even have to be tortilla if you're desperate), shredded cheese, leftover protein, and some toppings like sour cream or salsa...you're all set! Here's my favorite chicken nachos recipe that I make at least twice a month.  

Oh, and they're even better with a homemade beans recipe served on the side!

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

8. Enchiladas

A saucier & cheesier casserole-esque cousin to the burrito, enchiladas can either be made with pre-prepared ingredients or all from scratch. The homemade version with fresh enchilada sauce takes more time, but it's so worth it every once in a while. Plus, you can always freeze it for later.

If you're going the homemade route, try these staples: homemade corn tortillas, homemade soaked flour tortillas, Mexican red chile sauce, and spicy enchilada sauce.

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

9. Quesadillas

If you have tortillas and cheese around, these are even quicker than tacos. I used to love chicken quesadillas dipped in full-fat sour cream growing up. It's the simple things in life.

Some people cheat and use the microwave to melt the cheese, but you can easily use a cast-iron skillet, quesadilla maker or wire quesadilla basket for the grill. 

10. Frittatas

When you need to make a meal on the fly and have plenty of eggs on hand, frittatas are a lifesaver. Having a cast-iron skillet comes in handy, too. Simply whip the eggs (I recommend pastured eggs), stir in whatever veggies, meats or herbs need to be used up, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper and bake. Serve thick slices of fluffy frittata with a small side salad at any time of the day. It's a a frugal meal that's deceptively filling. 

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

11. Breakfast Egg Muffins

I routinely put leftover meat & veggies in my scrambled eggs, so it was a no-brainer when I made my first batch of breakfast egg muffins. They're similar to a frittata, but portioned and baked in muffins tins. This makes the egg muffins convenient for grab-and-go breakfasts and snacks all throughout the week.

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

12. Sandwiches & Chicken Salad

The good ol' sandwich. You can dress this up or keep it simple. Lettuce, tomato and mayo are a popular choices. Or you could jazz it up with pan-fried avocado, toasted bread, and crispy bacon. And there's the ever popular chicken salad sandwich, which has never really struck my fancy. I'm more of a spicy mustard and vinegar gal. 

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

13. Lettuce Wraps

For a low-carb and crunchy alternative to sandwiches, stuff leftover roasted chicken, veggies and seasonings into sturdy lettuce leafs. Try romaine, butter or red leaf lettuce, since iceberg has little to no nutritional value.

Beef Lettuce Wraps (Just Sub Shredded Chicken - Super Easy Recipe) 

14. Gyros

These Greek wraps are simple to make if you have a few ingredients on hand. You only need full-fat yogurt, lemon juice, dried or fresh dill, granulated garlic, sea salt and cucumber to make a quick tzatziki sauce. 

There are several variations, but that's how I like to make mine. The two most important ingredients are yogurt and cucumber!

Along with the signature cucumber yogurt sauce, you'll need pita bread, leftover chicken + veggies like sliced cucumber, onion, tomato and lettuce. Once the sauce has infused for a bit, layer everything into half a pita and drizzle liberally with tzatziki sauce. 

Tip: use any leftover sauce on burgers, Greek salads, sandwiches, kebabs or as a dip. 

Try These Homemade Tzatziki Sauces:

15. Stir-Fry

Saute sliced veggies with cooked rice, noodles, or beans, then throw in some seasonings and the leftover chicken and you have a simple stir-fry. The hardest part is chopping all the veggies (using frozen saves time) and the rest comes together quickly. 

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

16. Pot Pie

In the cooler months, this is my favorite way to use up roasted chicken. (Who am I kidding? I love this all year long!) Once you get the creamy sauce right, just top it with pie crust, puff pastry or biscuits. 

My Favorite Chicken Pot Pie Recipes:

17. Dumplings

Whether you're stuffing wonton wrappers with cooked meats & seasonings to make Chinese dumplings or forming seasoned dough balls for chicken & dumplings, you're in for a treat! I haven't made either of these types of dumplings at home yet, but have eaten them countless times at restaurants (especially pan-fried Chinese dumplings) and love them!

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

18. Pasta

Make a batch of your favorite pasta and toss it with tomato sauce, homemade pesto or extra-virgin olive oil. 

Season it well with fresh or dried ingredients and grate in some mozzarella, Parmesan or goat cheese. The possibilities are endless. Simply toss in leftover chicken near the end for extra protein. 

For a low-carb or gluten-free pasta, use a spiralizer tool to make noodles out of squash and other veggies. 

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

19. Casseroles

Good ol' casserole. And easy dish that far too often gets associated with sub-par leftovers. Sometimes when you're too free with ingredients it can turn into a rectangular blob of mushy stuff

Sure, it tastes good, but the texture might turn your family and friends away. 

The key is 1) not to make the same ones too often and 2) to keep it fresh by switching out ingredients and playing around with new flavors.

Note: And if you love to use cans of creamed soup in your casseroles, here are two homemade recipes to try:

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

20. Squash Boats & Bowls

Squash makes an excellent base for low-carb dinners that are lighter on the belly than their wheat counterpart. There are several varieties available depending on the season. 

Zucchini and yellow squash crops are plentiful during the summertime and in the fall and winter acorn spaghetti squash are popular (and usually on sale). Baked or grilled squash is great for using up leftovers since it has a mild flavor and is highly adaptable.

Try These Recipes with Chicken:

I'd like to hear from YOU!

What's your favorite way to use up leftover chicken? Do you have a suggestion that's not on the list? Let us know about it in the comments section! 

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20 Ideas for Leftover Roasted Chicken & 50+ Recipes | www.therisingspoon.com

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Image Source: Roasted Chicken #1 and Roasted Chicken #2 by Clemens V. Vogelsang on Flickr. (Used openly via this creative commons licence. Original image has been slightly edited.)

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