Less Waste, More Taste! 6 Genius Ways to Use Leftover Chicken
You know what’s almost as good as cooking up delicious, nutritious, carbon-reduced, Do Good Chicken™ for dinner? Having it again the next day!
That’s right — we’re huge fans of leftovers here. Not only is using leftover chicken super versatile, it’s also a great way to reduce waste! If you’ve been shying away from reheating last night’s grilled chicken breasts or baked chicken thighs, allow us to help you breathe new life into those extras with six yummy recipes that will leave you singing the praises of leftovers.
Add chicken to tacos. One of our favorite ways to eat leftover chicken is to have it on a taco. Simply shred or slice the cooked chicken, place it in a tortilla and finish with your favorite taco toppings.
Think your chicken wouldn’t work on a taco because it has a non-traditional seasoning? Not so — just use a little out-of-box thinking: Top your leftover Thai Chili Chicken Bites with shredded red cabbage, chili oil, cilantro, and scallions for an Asian-inspired taco. Or add chopped kalamata olives, feta, and pickled red onions to leftover Shawarma Kebab chicken.
The possibilities are endless!
Make chicken broth/stock. Don’t pitch the skin and bones leftover from your whole, roasted chicken. Instead, make delicious, nutritious chicken stock. Put the leftover roast chicken into a large pot or Dutch oven. Cover with water. Add in any veggie scraps you may have been saving in your freezer or roughly chop a couple carrots, two stalks of celery, and a medium onion and place it all into the pot.
Season the stock with a bay leaf or two, a pinch of whole peppercorns, and a couple tablespoons of any other dried or fresh herbs you enjoy (we like basil, thyme, parsley, and rosemary).
Bring the stock up to a boil, then turn down to simmer for at least two hours. Allow the broth to cool a bit, then remove the large bones, skin, and vegetable pieces and discard. Run the stock through a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl to remove any remaining solids. Use the stock right away for soups (see below) or put in a container with a tight-fitting lid for later use. Homemade stock can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks or frozen for up to three months.
Top your greens with leftover chicken. No rules apply here! Grab whatever greens you have in your fridge, cut up and add any other favorite veggies, fruits, nuts, cheeses, or whatever else you love in a salad + leftover chicken of course!
Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss or use another dressing you enjoy and dig in! These easy chicken and greens salads are also perfect for make-ahead, on-the-go meals!
Dice chicken for soup. Nothing beats a bowl of homemade soup. Place diced or shredded chicken into homemade or store-bought stock or broth. Go for traditional chicken noodle soup by adding in diced carrots and celery and cooked, wide egg noodles. Or get creative with your soup ingredients. Pinterest is a great resource for chicken soup ideas.
Create a BBQ chicken pizza. Another easy idea for using up leftover chicken is to create a BBQ chicken pizza. Make your own crust or purchase a pre-made crust or flatbread. Swap pizza sauce for BBQ sauce as your base. Toss a couple cups of shredded chicken into additional barbecue sauce to lightly coat and sprinkle evenly over top of the crust. Top with thin-cut red onion, a mixture of cheeses (like cheddar cheese, monterey jack, and mozzarella), and salt and pepper to taste. Cook according to crust directions. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro right after removing the pizza from the oven. Serve warm with extra BBQ sauce or ranch for dipping.
Mix together a chicken pasta salad. Another easy trick for using up leftover chicken is to toss it with cooked pasta. Like tacos, this is a recipe that requires simple ingredients and a little creativity. Craving an Italian-inspired pasta salad? Add in diced onions, black olives, torn basil, sun dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and your favorite Italian dressing.
Looking for something a little spicier? Try a Southwestern version by mixing in black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, and diced red onion. Use a creamy mayonnaise dressing with cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder mixed in. Or, make it even easier by using store bought chipotle ranch dressing.
We hope we convinced you that a little Do Good Chicken goes a long way — both on your plate and for our planet! For more delicious chicken recipes as well as tips for recycling and living more sustainably, visit our website and follow us on Facebook or Instagram.