But in order to get the most bang for your chicken buck, you need to use every. last. bit. of that chicken. So what do you do next?
Like I talked about in the first post in this series, if you’re anything like our family (who only has to feed 2.5 people) there is a LOT of chicken leftover after that first dinner. In fact, my husband and I barely eat both breasts on the chicken in one sitting, so we generally end up with a little bit of white meat and an entire chicken’s worth of dark meat to contend with. And if you’re anything like my husband and me, dark meat isn’t really high on the list of things to eat plain. It’s just so… well… dark. And rich. But just because you don’t like it roasted up with some potatoes and carrots, doesn’t mean we can’t do AMAZING things with it.
First and foremost you need to pick that chicken clean. Take EVERY single bit of meat on that chicken that you didn’t eat and put it in a bowl. And don’t forget to flip him over! If you are picking a whole chicken, more than likely you will miss the oysters. They are these tiny little morsels of meat, on the backside of the chicken, right around the thigh. Here… Wikipedia shows it best.
Once you have that guy stripped down to nothing but the bare bones, do NOT throw the bones out. Save those in a bag and put them in the freezer… they will be for The Carnage next week.
Now that you have a pile of chicken, what ARE you going to do with it?
The one thing that I have learned with using leftover chicken to make another meal is that it’s important to do something that isn’t completely based around the chicken. This isn’t the time to make a casserole that ONLY uses chicken as an ingredient, because you are using leftovers and might not even have that much left. You want to use the chicken to make a hearty, protein packed dinner, but it will need to be filled with delicious other things, like vegetables… or puff pastry. Yum.
So some ideas.
You could always make my Chicken Enchilada Casserole. That’s usually our go-to recipe for leftover chicken and has a ton of other delicious ingredients to make it SUPER rich and fulfilling.
Or how about Chicken Pot Pie Casserole?? It’s got tons of veggies in it that also help to make it DELICIOUS! It must be, since it was named to the editor’s picks of top casseroles at allfreechickencasserolerecipes.com !! (phew, that is the LONGEST url ever).
Or if you’re not looking for a casserole, how about a BBQ Chicken Pizza? Get either a pre-baked pizza shell, or pizza dough from Trader Joes. Take your leftover chicken, 1/4 cup of Bbq Sauce and 1/2 Cup of Marinara. Mix them together in a bowl and then spread evenly over the pizza crust. Top with mozzarella cheese and about 1/3 Cup of thinly sliced onion and bake, following the directions for the pizza dough/pre-baked crust.
Or how about Chicken Tacos?? This is the EASIEST thing ever. Throw together the leftover chicken and some Mexican simmering sauce – I found that Frontera makes some AMAZING sauces that are so easy to use. Just throw your chicken into a pot with some of the sauce, whatever flavor you’d like, and let it simmer for a while. I kept it on low for about 10-15 minutes. Your chicken will have amazing flavor!! Serve it up with some soft tortillas, beans, guac, whatever you want to make delicious tacos for that perfect, after-work, FAST dinner.
There are a million and one ways to use up that leftover chicken to make a delicious and easy meal for your family. And if you’re anything like us, you’ll find that the leftovers you make will carry you through a few MORE days in your week, stretching out that whole chicken and making it a completely affordable way to feed your family.