What to Do with Leftover Chicken
5 quick dinner options with tons of new flavor.
“Leftovers? Again?!” We can all relate to the same painful kvetching that erupts when leftovers are for dinner. Today I’m sharing some favorite ways to “refresh” leftover chicken and easily create an entirely new delicious and international dish. Here are 5 options for a quick dinner, with minimal additional costs and tons of new flavor! I use leftover grilled chicken, schnitzel, turkey or even meat in each of these recipes.
Easy Asian Fried Rice with Chicken and Broccoli
This is a full balanced meal in one skillet. I use either leftover grilled chicken or schnitzel or you can use fresh, raw chicken cut into thin strips. It can be made in the morning or right before serving. I also use white rice, brown rice or leftover quinoa. It’s important that the grain has been refrigerated for a few hours before using, meaning leftover is best in this dish.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
- 1 pound chicken cutlets, cut into 1/2" slices (or use raw chicken, cut into ½ inch strips)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups cooked white rice (preferably day-old, long-or medium-grain), or brown rice
- 2 cups broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, or broccolini (about 8 ounces)
- 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
- 1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas
- 1/2 cup frozen edamame
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (from about 1/2 orange)
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add scallions to oil and cook, tossing occasionally, about 1 minute. Stir in garlic and ginger, then add broccoli and toss until incorporated. Cover and cook until broccoli is tender, 2-3 minutes more. Add leftover chicken and pepper, and heat until incorporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
In same skillet, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil over high heat. Add rice and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, toss to coat, then press rice into a single layer, and cook, undisturbed, until crisped on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Move rice to one-half of skillet and add eggs to other half. Cook, stirring gently to form curds, until soft set and just cooked through, about 1 minute, then fold into rice.
Fold in snow peas, edamame, soy sauce, and orange juice. Cook, tossing, until warmed through, about 1 minute. Add chicken mixture and toss to combine.
All the Rage Mediterranean Grain Bowls with Chicken, Spiced Chickpeas and Avocado
I’ve always been a “bowl” kinda eater, long before poke bowls, grain bowls, etc. became the rage. I love the warm grains and protein, mixed with the cool crisp greens and a nice dressing tossed on top. This one has a mediterranean flair, but feel free to experiment and make up your own versions too.
For the chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the dressing
- 1 1/2 cups parsley leaves
- 3/4 cup mint leaves
- 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Additional assembly ingredients
- 4 cups cooked quinoa, farro, barley, or brown rice
- 4 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken (use grilled chicken, schnitzel or rotisserie chicken)
- 2 mini seedless cucumbers, halved, sliced
- 2 avocados, halved, pitted, sliced
- 4 cups baby arugula, kale, or romaine
- ¼ cup sliced red onion
- 4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Make the chickpeas:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chickpeas, cumin, and cayenne, shaking to coat, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, shaking occasionally, until chickpeas are golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and season immediately with salt.
Make the dressing:
In an immersion blender or food processor, pulse parsley and mint until finely chopped. Add oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt and blend to combine.
Assemble the bowls:
Toss quinoa with 1/2 cup dressing in a large bowl. Divide among serving bowls. Toss chicken with 1/4 cup dressing in same large bowl. Arrange chicken, cucumbers, avocados, and arugula over quinoa. Top with chickpeas, red onion, and sesame seeds. Serve remaining dressing on side for drizzling.
Indian Inspired Curry with Chicken, Bell Peppers and Sugar Snap Peas
I love the bold flavors of Indian food and think it transforms a simple grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken into something fantastic and totally new. This is not overpowering just flavorful.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or canola oil
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- 1 medium onion, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock
- 4 cups 1/2-inch cubed cooked chicken (use grilled chicken, schnitzel, or rotisserie chicken)
- 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1/4 cup basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Cooked rice or egg noodles for serving
Heat oil in a medium sized pot or dutch oven, over medium high heat. Add curry powder, ginger, and lime zest, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Add onion, pepper, and salt and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until pepper is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add chicken, snap peas, and coconut milk and cook, (do not to boil), until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil and lime juice. Serve with rice or egg noodles.
Good Ole American BBQ Chicken Sliders
Move over pulled beef sliders, your cousin BBQ chicken sliders are going to give you a little competition. These are sweet and savory and a bit more nutritious than the beef version. My kids love these and they are a great addition to a Sunday night BBQ even while the fresh grilling is going on.
- 1 cup barbeque sauce
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons minced dried onion
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¾ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (make sure you buy the NON-fish variety – which is available with good hashgafa by national rands)
- 4 cup chopped or shredded leftover chicken (Use grilled chicken, schnitzel, or rotisserie chicken)
- 12 slider buns
In a medium saucepan, combine barbeque sauce, water, onion, garlic powder, chili powder, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Stir chicken into saucepan and heat through, about 4 more minutes.
Toast slider buns and divide chicken on to buns and serve. I like this with any type of coleslaw.
Super Simple Mexican Chili
I make this with leftover chicken and sometimes just make it pareve. It keeps for days and freezes well too. Feel free to add corn, jalapenos or zucchini to this recipe.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 cup water
- 2 (14½-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
- 3 cups chopped or shredded chicken (use grilled, rotisserie or fried chicken)
Topping: tortilla chips, Tofutti sour cream, and avocado
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat until hot. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add water, stewed tomatoes, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Add chicken and cook until heated through, about 5 more minutes. Ladle into individual soup bowls, top with tortilla chips, Tofutti sour cream and/or avocado.