ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

101 Things To Do With Leftover Chicken

Updated on April 23, 2016
Source

The Big Pack of Chicken

Everyone knows that you can get better deals when you buy in bulk. And that is why I frequently purchase what my grandfather refers to as the big pack of chicken: 6 pounds of boneless chicken breasts or leg quarters. It always prompts the question "Who's going to eat all that?!" and the answer "I am." My other favorite discount chicken purchase is a whole chicken. Again, a lot of food for one or two people. But it never goes to waste. Because I know 101 things to do with my leftover chicken. OK. You got me. I have never really counted. But I bet its close. And by the time you are finished reading this hub, you will have 101 of your own.

Note: If your chicken is already seasoned, fried, or barbequed that's fine. Simply choose ingredient combinations that compliment those flavors.


BREAKFAST

Yes. Chicken is a perfectly acceptable breakfast food. Ask anyone in the southern US. Or just visit a diner. There is a good chance you will see chicken and waffles on the menu. This is usually chicken tenders or fried chicken paired with Belgian waffles. It used to sound odd to me until I saw it. It looks great, sort of like a breakfast version of chicken and fries.

If you are more adventurous you can try chicken in your omelettes! I have seen a Buffalo Chicken Omellette as the special at my favorite diner. So why not try it at home? And why restrict it ti breakfast. This would be great for lunch or dinner too.

APPETIZERS and LUNCH

These are quick and easy to throw together and most don't even require cooking, aside from the initial chicken that got us started.

Sandwiches

The heading really says it all. Just like you would with the turkey after Thanksgiving, make a sandwich. You can go with the classic club: chicken, lettuce, tomato, bacon, mayo, cheese. The sky is the limit. Add some avocado slices, cucumber, peppers. Whatever you have on hand. I also like to change things up by using flavored mayonnaise. This is easy to make. Take some mayonnaise and add something to it! My favorites are curry powder, tandoori seasoning, dill, or brown mustard. Don't like mayonnaise? Try ranch dressing , hummus, or another spread.

Why stop at a cold club when you can make hot sandwiches too?! Everyone knows about hot turkey and roast beef sandwiches. Why are we neglecting the poor chicken?! Slice up some chicken, heat it in a pan with some chicken gravy, and serve it over bread. Tada! A Hot Chicken Sandwich. For us health conscious folks, you might want to include a side of veggies. If you took some of my previous advice, you should have some kicking around in your freezer.

If grilled sandwiches are more your type you can do that too! A simple favorite of mine is chicken, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and just a touch of barbeque sauce. Just like the cold version, the sky is the limit: tomato sauce and mozzarella, or mushrooms and swiss, or really anything you have kicking around in the back of the fridge! A few tips: you want to keep your layer of chicken fairly thin and use a low/medium heat so that all of the ingredients can warm through without burning your bread. Go easy on the sauces. Too much will make your bread soggy. You can always dip into more!

Chicken Dippers

Speaking of dipping. Try making some chicken dippers.These are so much healthier than chicken nuggets and are less expensive and just as fun. This works best with boneless breasts or tenders. I serve the chicken cold, but I suppose you could heat it up. Cut the chicken into large cubes or strips and serve with a variety of dipping sauces. Salad dressings make great dips (Ranch, Bleu Cheese, Italian, Greek) as do honey and barbeque sauce. Instead of fries, serve carrot sticks. Cucumbers make a great substitute for potato chips. Or what about apple slices and grapes? Mix and match whatever you enjoy.

Soups

There are a million recipes for making chicken stock out of a whole chicken. I am just gonna say it: I am too lazy and unorganized for that. But I do love chicken soup. So I settle for semi-homemade varieties. Dice some chicken and you can add it to any canned soup.Toss in some frozen veggies too while you are at it. This adds a lot of flavor and texture. Even better, it cuts down on the amount to sodium per serving. Have you read those cans? It's like eating a bowl of salt?!

I also keep veggie and chicken broth on hand in the cupboard. Low sodium of course. Those of you that make your own broth, more power to you! Go ahead and use it. This is great to make quick chicken soups. Add some diced chicken and whatever assortment of veggies and starches you like. This also makes good use of leftover rice or potatoes. My favorite is chicken broth, diced chicken, rice, and frozen mixed veggies (usually the peas, corn and carrots or zucchini and spinach) topped with a little grated cheese. If you want to spend more than a few minutes on your creation, cook some fun pastas to add to your soup. The wackier the better. Get some bow ties, or tri-color wheels. Have fun with it. If you want to expand your horizons go with an Asian flare. You can buy packets of miso soup at the grocery store. Add some chicken, green onions, snow peas, and even rice or rice noodles.

Salads

Take a green salad. Add some chicken. Done! It's as easy as that. Of course that can get a little boring. Perhaps you want to change things up every now and then. Restaurants have turned this into an art. When is the last time you have gone to a restaurant of any kind and you did not see some sort of salad with chicken on the menu. Asian chicken, crispy chicken, harvest chicken, Greek chicken, etc. There is no reason you can't replicate that at home. Take a tossed salad and add barbequed chicken, corn, bell peppers, black beans. Tada! Southwestern chicken salad. Wanna go Greek? Roast chicken, feta, black olives, grape tomatoes, yellow pepper rings. You can use whatever bottled dressings you prefer, or you can make your own dressing in two minutes. Chicken is also a great add in to your favorite pasta salad or antipasto.

You can't talk about leftover chicken without talking about homemade chicken salad. The first time I had this was when my friends dad made it for us and I was hooked. It is easy to make. Dice or shred your chicken, add mayo, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, diced carrots and celery (onion is optional). I will occasionally switch up the veggies with frozen peas and corn. I don't see why you can't branch out and try bell peppers, olives. cherry tomatoes, etc. Again, if you are one of those silly people that don't like mayonnaise, Italian or Greek salad dressing works well too.

Spring Rolls

Don't Panic! They are easy. I promise! You can buy rice paper in the Asian section of most supermarkets. It is not as hard to use as it looks. You simply soak the sheet in water, add fillings, and wrap. Just like making a burrito. There are even instructions how to wrap them on the package. If you have never made your own spring rolls, try it! They are great for picnics and parties. No one will even know that you are passing on your leftovers! Some ideas for fillings include green onion, rice, soy sauce, Chinese mushrooms, bamboo shoots. I don't necessarily stick to Asian ingredients either. I have used pulled chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheddar.


DINNER

These ideas are great for dinner. They involve a little cooking, but using leftover chicken really cuts down the cooking time.

Pulled chicken

This is a great alternative to pulled pork. It works best with chicken on the bone. Simply shred your chicken by pulling it apart add to a skillet with your favorite barbeque sauce and cook for at least ten minutes. This is good on its own with a side of veggies or makes a great sandwich.

Tacos

This is just like making tacos with ground beef, but use shredded or finely chopped chicken. You can buy taco seasoning at the store. I add a little salsa in as well if it looks dry. Have fun with the fixings: cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, jalapenos, black olives, sour cream, salsa, rice, re-fried beans. Who says you have to keep it strictly Mexican? I have made chicken tacos with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and American cheese. Or what about my chicken, barbeque sauce, and cheddar cheese taco! To explain myself, aside from having odd food habits, I cannot eat wheat. A corn taco shell makes a pretty good alternative to bread in a pinch.

Chili

This is the same concept as the tacos. Simply substitute shredded or chopped chicken for the ground beef in your favorite chili recipe. But why stop there? Add some canned or fresh mushrooms, carrots, or peppers. Top with diced tomatoes, green onions, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Those of you that want to be a little naughty go ahead and add some bacon too.

Smothered Chicken

This is great for leftover boneless breasts. Top them with whatever you have handy and pop them in the oven or in a pan on medium/low heat. Remember, you aren't cooking the chicken, you are just heating everything through. Here are a few ideas: Pasta sauce and mozzarella; spinach and feta; mushrooms, tomatoes and cheddar; ham and swiss; peppers, onions, and cheese. Whatever you want to top them with go ahead and load it on, but make sure the toppings are pre-cooked because you will not have it in the oven or pan that long.

Pasta Dishes

The easiest pasta dishes are to simply add shredded or cut-up chicken to your favorite cream or tomato sauces. Why not add some veggies too. This is a great idea if you are using a store bought Alfredo sauce. It will cut down on the fat and salt per serving. Just like the canned soup, how on earth do they get all that in there. And why?! Mushrooms, broccoli, and peas make great add ins to cream sauces. Bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and carrots are all good in tomato based sauces. Spinach and zucchini work well in either. It's all about what you like. I usually serve this over pene, but why not have some fun with the pasta? Go for bow ties, spirals, wheels, or anything else that looks good. Tri-colored pastas add a whole other dimension to dishes with cream sauces.

Are we there yet?

Have you been counting? Have I hit 101? Let's see. Take the number of dishes, the number of possible ingredient combinations... whatever. I am lousy at math. Perhaps I should add some desserts. Do you suppse chicken would make a good sundae topping? No. Me either. So I will wrap things up. I know I have left some ideas out. But I think you have enough to get started. And once you do get started, don't stay in your comfort zone. Make some wacky soups. And try those spring rolls!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I eat chicken all the time but only buy small amounts as i have a small fridge with tiny freezer. I usually cook two pieces at once, as you can't buy just one any more, and even two's are disappearing.

      I then eat one as a roast with veg and save the other for a sandwich,

      I like the idea of your flavoured mayonaise and will try a couple of those.

      Cluck, cluck

      Bob

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Yes Bob. It seems it is harder and harder to buy in small quantities these days. And when you do it costs so much more. It's robbery! Definitely try the mayos. They really transform sandwiches and wraps. There are tons of dried spices that work great. It'a all about what you like! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      dana teresa I love this!! Thank you sister. Cooking is not my most favorite thing to do. I am grateful for these creative cooks that help me along the path. Love the pasta, soup, smothered chicken. I am hungry girl. I joined your rank of fans. Love your profile. Look forward to knowing you. Keep on dana. Keep on. linked out voted! bookmarked!!!!!!!!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      sky2day... You are very welcome! It is my firm belief that those that cannot cook or do not like to should not be relegated to a life of takeout and frozen dinners. There are tons of easy ways to have great easy inexpensive meals. You can even cook for a family or party and barely cook at all. So glad to be of help. I was having doubts about this hub. Now that I know you liked it I will be sure to post more!

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      dana teresa keep em coming girl. It seems the hubs we have doubts about turn to be some of the best. Anyway that is my experience too. Great hub. You have helped me loose the apron. Hugs.

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      Thanks for the great ideas. I always make extra chicken and throw it in salads the next day for lunch. Quick and simple.

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      LauraGT - I swear I am not making this up... I had a salad for lunch today with leftover roasted chicken and it reminded me of this hub! Totally weird.

      Thanks for the read. If you haven't tried some of the other ideas, give them a go.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is a whole lot of chicken! Chicken is one of the only meats I still eat, so thank goodness there is so much you can do with it. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      Jeannieinabottle - You are right, there are tons of things you can do with chicken. I am a bid fan of leftovers. I love to cook but I just don't have the time or energy to cook a whole meal from scratch every day... hope I have inspired you to try some new things.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      This hub is superb! I know of many ways to use chicken, but never put them all together! Way to go Dana!!!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      Linda - Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Sometimes I find myself stuck in a rut and cooking foods the same way over and over. Listing a bunch of ideas like this was a great way to keep that from happening.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 4 years ago

      Outstanding Hub! A great way to save money on soup is to make your own homemade chicken stock, as well! Take the leftover bones and meats from the whole chicken, let them simmer in hot (not boiling) water for a few hours, and you have some stock to make soup with! This method can definitely save you some money here and there :)

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      KDuBarry03 - thanks for reading! you are right, leftovers save a ton of money. and they save time - a huge plus for me.... I just recently made awesome chicken soup from leftover chicken. My boyfriend taught me. Silly me though it was diffiult. But as you just pointed out, its easy! I should add it to this hub. Thank you for the reminder - will give you the credit when I do get around to making the edit. :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Ya gotta love the chicken (and the egg!) I know I do! :)

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Whoohoo! I always just tossed out my left over chicken. Kidding. A lot of times, I'll make gumbo the next night and use the left over chicken and throw in some smoked sausage (if I can't find andui). No complaints so far. :)

      Great hub, kid! Voted up and shared.

    • jenbeach21 profile image

      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Very informative and helpful!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      TT - never thpught of gumbo.gonna have to try that. I am still waiting on your suggestions for what to do with the leftover leftovers!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      Jenbeach21 - thank u for visiting my yummy little hub. Hope u got a good idea or two. :)

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      My dearest Dana, I was waiting for YOU to write what to do with leftover leftovers. Or was it RC we're waiting for???

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      That's why I love chicken, it's so versatile. And this hub proves it. Definitely going to keep this in mind!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      One of our favorites is Chicken and Dumplings. That's an old southern favorite comfort food. I wrote a Hub with a good recipe for that.

      I have some left over chicken from last night: you just reminded me to go and make some salad out of it.

      Great Hub. I voted it UP, and will share.

    • jenbeach21 profile image

      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      These are so useful. What a great hub. Voted up and shared!

    • healthwealthmusic profile image

      Ruth R. Martin 4 years ago from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York

      M-m-m-m reading this is making me hungry for some cold, grilled chicken! I am picky when it comes to eating meat - especially chicken. But you've got some great, yummy ideas here - can't wait to try some of them - thanks for sharing! I added it to my Pinterest board of foods.

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      Alecia Murphy - I love chicken for the sam ereason. But I got tired of just reheating it and eating the same thing over again. So now I do all sorts of things. This hub was as much about making myself a list to refer to as it was sharing my ideas. Thanks for checking it out.

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      mary615 - OH! I never thought ofChicken and Dumplings. You are totally right. I will have to add that one. What a great comfort food! Thanks for the awesome comment, votes, and share.

      Funny, responding has me craving chicken ow too :)

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      jenbeach21 - thanks a million for the vote and share. I am glad you found this useful. It's ot so much that there are "original" ideas. But i think it makes a nice reference list. So when you look in the fride at that plate of chicken you don't turn to the same thing over and over. Food is so much beter when there is variety!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      healthwealthmusic - I totally understand "picky meat eaters". I have friends and family that fall into this category. One thing most of them like are chicken tenders. You can buy them on sale and they freeze great unti you need to deforst them. Cook a bunch and then they lend themsalves well to a lot of these ideas... Thank you SO much for the Pinterst share. I'm honored.

      Now that I have chicken on the brain, I just might go out and get some tenders. I need photos for a recipe I want to publish. Thanks for the boost :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Why is this hub so popular? Chicken! Everyone loves chicken and you've listed so many great variations its got to please just about everyone.

      It's hard to duplicate that popularity with say lettuce or a book review...chicken is after all chicken!

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      You listed my favorite way to use leftover chicken: tacos. It is wonderful the next day as the flavor mixes with spices.

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 3 years ago from Ohio

      tillsontitan - thank you for chiming in. yes. chicken is certainly a popular item... I have some ideas for this same concept with a few other ones. let's see if they can catch the chicken. :)

      thanks for the votes! always appreciated

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 3 years ago from Ohio

      teaches12345 - I am so excited to see that someone else likes to make tacos out if lefteovers. I hac=ve gluten intolerance and can't eat bread, so I use taco shells instead. Heck, yesterday I had taco BLTs! I shoulda thought to thro my leftover chicken in there too. yum!

      thanks for stopping by. I always love to see my friends here.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 23 months ago

      Some great uses for chicken here. We like it in wraps and with rice noodles.

    Click to Rate This Article