7 Quick and Easy Meals to Make with Leftover Chicken
Is there another ingredient that's versatile enough to go from salad to sandwich to soup to casserole—and even more? We think not.
A Dinner You Won't Have to Make Another Shopping List For
The beauty of chicken salad isn't just that it's a completely different way to enjoy leftover roast chicken after eating it hot the night before—it's also that you can adapt it based on whatever you have on hand. If you don't have peppers or celery, swap in any other veggies, from pieces of lightly cooked asparagus to canned artichoke hearts. Or, skip the walnuts and throw in almonds. Nearly any herb will work, too.
Get the recipe: Chicken Salad
This shortcut for the beloved Mexican casserole is the kind of not-really-a-recipe we love. The directions have you dice the chicken, but don't get hung up on keeping the pieces too uniform: squares, rectangles, trapezoids—all are welcome, since refried beans and cheese will help hold everything together. Salsa and chopped jalapeño are optional; use as much or as little as you like. You spread the meat, along with the beans and cheese, over tortillas; roll them up and place them in a baking dish; then slide it into the oven until everything's hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
Get the recipe: Chicken Enchiladas
Photo: Food & Wine/Stephanie Foley
A Delicious Way to Revive Not-Quite-Juicy Meat
Chicken potpie is beloved for its gorgeous presentation, its delightful contrast of crust and filling and its ability to comfort with nostalgia. But an often overlooked perk to the classic dinner is how brilliantly it reinvents roasted chicken. The meat, which can become dry a day or two after roasting, becomes tender and juicy again when it's baked surrounded by a savory, piping-hot mixture of chicken stock, onion, mushrooms and carrots.
Get the recipe: Skillet Chicken & Mushroom Potpie
A Sandwich That Takes First Prize
"Cordon bleu" translates to "blue ribbon"—a designation this sandwich-ified version of the traditional dish certainly deserves. It includes a half-cup of roast chicken per sandwich, as well as the usual Swiss cheese and ham. What takes the meal to another level is the totally unexpected—and delicious—addition of a broccoli puree, which adds brightness and texture. Plus, a sprinkling of bread crumbs inside the sandwich brings extra crunch.
Get the recipe: Rotisserie Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich
A Skillet Dinner with More Oomph Than You'd Expect
This dish is a kind of American take on fried rice—or, seen another way, a casserole that requires no oven preheating or half hour of baking time. It consists of rice, bacon, cheddar and the star ingredient: shredded roast chicken. The meat helps add heft; and, if you shred it using two forks instead of your fingers, it'll stay fluffy (not chunky) and the entire dish will taste light yet still filling.
Get the recipe: Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner with Bacon
Chicken Soup That Does Not Get Any Simpler
It sounds like we're exaggerating when we say that to make this soup, you just throw all the ingredients in a pot and let them bubble away. Yet, that really is all there is to it (shredding the chicken is the most labor-intensive part, but you can do it while the vegetables are simmering in the stock). Store-bought cheese tortellini go in at the end, along with the shredded chicken, for a tasty and satisfying supper.
Get the recipe: Chicken Tortellini Noodle Soup
The Saturday Night Casserole
Can a casserole ooze charm and elegance? After tasting this dish, you'll be convinced it's possible. The recipe is essentially a dressed-up take on the well-known chicken-and-broccoli casserole, and is perfect for a dinner party since each portion comes wrapped in its own crêpe. The filling is a little out of the ordinary, too, combining the typical ingredients with sharp Gruyère cheese and a dash of spiced curry powder.
Get the recipe: Chicken Divan Crêpes with Gruyère