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Five Ways to Use Leftover Chili

Updated on May 6, 2011

Five Creative Ways to Use Leftover Chili

Do you like chili? Do you like saving time and money? Why not combine all of the above by stretching one pot of chili into two healthy and filling meals? Make an extra large pot of chili, refrigerate the leftovers, and then use the recipes below to turn the leftover chili into tomorrow's tasty dinner.

Don't know how to make chili? Check out the "How to Make Chili" module, which includes recipes for chili con carne, white chili, and vegan chili.

Recommended Chili Cookbooks

Did you know that there are hundreds of different types of chili? Check out some of these cookbooks for new and creative ways to reinvent this old dish!

How to Reheat Leftover Chili

How to reheat leftover chili on the stove: Lightly grease the bottom of a saucepan with cooking spray to prevent the chili from sticking to the pan. Cook the leftover chili over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warm, about 5-10 minutes.

How to reheat leftover chili in the microwave: Add the leftover chili to a microwave-safe container, then cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. Stop the microwave and give the chili a stir at the halfway point.

Chili Tacos

Chili Tacos

2 cups thick leftover chili, reheated

8 taco shells or corn tortillas (for soft tacos)

1 cup lettuce, thinly shredded

½ cup sour cream OR grated cheese (preferably Monterey Jack or Cheddar)

2 limes, quartered

½ cup salsa for serving or more to taste

  1. Warm the taco shells by placing them in an oven preheated to 300F for 8-10 minutes. If using corn tortillas, place them on a hot skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, and cook each side for 5-10 seconds until the tortilla starts to blister.
  2. Spoon ¼ cup of reheated chili into each warmed taco shell or tortilla. Top the chili with 2 tablespoons of shredded lettuce and 1 tablespoon of sour cream or cheese.
  3. Serve each taco with a lime wedge and salsa.

Yield: Serves 4

Chili Burritos

Chili Burritos

2 cups leftover chili

1 cup refried beans (canned or leftovers)

¾ cup Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese or a combination of both, grated

4 tbsp onion, diced

4 tbsp jalapeno slices, fresh or pickled

4 flour tortillas (10-12 inches each)

  1. Preheat the broiler or preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. In separate pots, reheat the leftover chili and refried beans over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. You can also reheat the leftover chili and beans in the microwave by placing them in separate microwave-safe bowls and cooking 1-2 minutes.
  3. While the leftover chili and beans are being reheated, warm the tortillas in the oven by wrapping them in aluminum foil, and placing them in the oven for two minutes.
  4. Place a tortilla on flat surface. Spread ¼ cup of refried beans in the center of the tortilla. On the top of the refried beans, place ½ cup of reheated chili, 3 tablespoons of cheese, 1 tablespooon of jalapeno, and 1 tablespoon of onion. Fold into a burrito shape by folding the lower third of the tortilla away from you (it should slightly cover some of the burrito filling). Then fold in both sides of the tortilla so that they overlap. When you are done, the burrito should be open at the top and sealed at the bottom and sides. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  5. Place the burritos on a baking sheet. Warm them in the oven or broiler until lightly browned and the cheese has melted, about 7-8 minutes.

Yield: 4 burritos

Portobello Mushroom Caps with Chili

Portobello Mushroom Caps with Chili

2 cups leftover chili

4 medium portobello mushroom caps, stems removed

4 tbsp (½ stick) butter or more as needed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, sliced into thin rounds

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Place the mushrooms top-side down in the skillet, and sauté until the top is somewhat softened, about 5 minutes. Stir the garlic in and around the mushrooms. Turn the mushrooms over and sauté for a few more minutes until there is no light color showing.
  3. Place each mushroom, gill-side up, on a baking sheet. Place ½ cup of leftover chili in each mushroom cap. Top each cap with cheese.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese bubbles into the leftover chili.
  5. Place the jalapeno slices over each mushroom, and serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 4

Chili Casserole

Chili Casserole

1½ cups leftover chili, thinned to gravy-like consistency with chicken or vegetable broth

12 corn tortillas

1½ cups grated or crumbled white cheese such as Monterey Jack, queso blanco, feta, or mozzarella

1 cup sour cream

2 tbsp onion, finely chopped

butter for greasing the baking dish

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Cut the tortillas into quarters and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake the tortilla quarters until they are crisp, about 12-15 minutes. Set aside and reduce the heat to 350F.
  3. Grease a 2-quart or 8x8-inch baking dish. Place the crisp tortillas on the bottom of the dish so that they are slightly overlapping. Place half of the leftover chili on top of the tortillas. Top the chili with half of the cheese, and place half of the sour cream over the cheese layer. Repeat the layers. Sprinkle the chopped onion over the top layer (sour cream).
  4. Bake the chili casserole until bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes.

Yield: Serves 6-8

Chili Burgers

Chili Burgers

1 cup leftover red chili, reheated

1½ lbs. ground lean choice or prime beef

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese

4 hamburger buns

  1. Preheat a grill to medium high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef with the salt, pepper, and garlic. Form 4 burgers from the meat mixture, each about ¾-inch thick.
  3. Place the burgers on the grill and cook as desired, allowing about 4 minutes per side for medium done.
  4. Transfer the cooked hamburgers on to the buns, and spoon some of the chili, cheese, and onion over each burger. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 burgers

Recommended Cookbooks for People Who Want to Save Money

Are you looking for more ways to stretch your grocery budget? Here are some cookbooks that feature quick, easy, and cheap meals.

Do you have a favorite chili recipe to share? Do you have any creative ways of using leftovers? Post your recipes in the guestbook!


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