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Use Leftover Chicken in These Delicious Recipes

Mary Gormandy White
Sliced chicken breast on cast iron pan

When you have leftover chicken on hand, you're always just a few additional ingredients away from preparing a tasty main course. Try these delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes the next time you have some extra chicken. No one will even know you used leftovers unless you decide to tell.

Chicken Creole

Chicken Creole served with white rice

You don't have to be a Louisiana native to love good Creole cooking! Bring the spicy flavor of the Creole chicken to your kitchen the next time you need to use up extra cooked chicken. Approximately 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 - 3 cups of chopped cooked chicken (preferably baked or sauteed, but grilled will also work)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoons of flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, oat, buckwheat, etc.) or cornstarch
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere's or Zatarain's)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium heat.
  2. When oil is hot, add garlic, onion, bell pepper, and celery. Stir gently.
  3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables. Continue to stir,
  4. Saute for approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Add chicken, water, tomatoes, paprika, Creole seasoning and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
  6. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.
  7. Simmer for 20 - 30 minutes.
  8. Serve with cooked rice.

Variations

  • Leave the celery out if you don't like the taste of celery.
  • If you like spicy food, add hot sauce or a dash of cayenne pepper.
  • Serve with crusty French bread.

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken fajitas made with leftover chicken

Bring a Tex-Mex flair to your kitchen with this simple recipe for chicken fajitas. Approximately 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 - 3 cups of chopped cooked chicken (baked, sauteed or grilled)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper or chile pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 12 flour tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil in groups of 3 or 4.
  3. When oven is hot, place foil-wrapped tortillas in oven and heat for approximately 5 minutes (just so they are soft).
  4. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Place olive oil, garlic, chili powder and cumin in a skillet on the stovetop. Stir to combine and heat on medium.
  6. When olive oil is hot, add onions and peppers, gently stirring until they are crisp tender (approximately 4 minutes).
  7. Add leftover chicken and lime juice, stirring well to combine. Continue cooking over medium heat until heated through.
  8. Remove from heat and serve.
  9. Give each person a portion of the chicken and vegetable mixture and one packet of tortillas.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with condiments like guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, lettuce or spinach shreds, diced tomato, and salsa.
  • If desired, add sliced mushrooms, sliced zucchini, and/or sliced squash to the pan when cooking the vegetables.
  • If you prefer to avoid using the oven, you can heat the tortillas in the microwave. Just wrap them in cellophane instead of foil and heat on high for 10 or 15 seconds per packet.
  • This can be eaten without the tortillas or corn tortillas can be substituted for flour.
  • Create a fajita salad by serving the chicken and vegetable mixture over lettuce or mixed baby greens.

Poppy Seed Chicken

Poppy seed chicken casserole dish

Not your typical casserole for leftover chicken, this elegant dish is just as appropriate for company as a quick weeknight meal. Approximately 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 cups of chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 container of sour cream (16 ounces)
  • 1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup (10.5 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 1 sleeve of buttery crackers (e.g., Townhouse or Ritz), finely crushed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the sour cream and cream of chicken soup in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Add in the poppy seeds, also stirring to combine.
  • Add the cooked chicken, stirring to fold into the sauce mixture.
  • Transfer the chicken and sauce mixture to an oblong casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle the crushed crackers on top of the dish.
  • Pour the melted butter over the crushed crackers.
  • Bake until the dish is bubbly and heated through, approximately 30 minutes.
  • Serve.

Variations

  • Use 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese instead of cracker crumbs, or use a mixture of both cracker crumbs and grated parmesan.
  • Use 1/2 cup of toasted, slivered almonds instead of cracker crumbs.

More Great Ideas for Leftover Chicken

There are plenty of other wonderful dishes you can prepare using leftover chicken. Options to consider include:

Simple chicken pasta dish

Plan Ahead When Cooking Chicken

It's so handy to have leftover chicken around, you just might start deliberately having some around. If that sounds good to you, double the quantity the next time you toss fresh chicken on the grill or bake it in the oven, or follow this shredded chicken recipe. You can even freeze extra chicken so you'll have pre-cooked meat at your fingertips any time you need it!

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Use Leftover Chicken in These Delicious Recipes