Chicken is a frugal cook’s best friend. It is one of the cheapest and most versatile meats, and when you’re too tired to think (much less slave in a hot kitchen) you can always roast or fry it, and everyone’s happy.
But what do you do with leftovers? A lot, actually! Since the chicken’s cooked, you dramatically cut down on preparation time. You just need to add a few ingredients and you have a completely different and incredibly delicious meal.
Extend your servings
Frugal cooks will actually prepare a chicken hoping that there’s leftovers. Get an extra large chicken and roast it. (Read this article on secrets to a perfectly roasted chicken.) Use day-old bread for stuffing and toss in potatoes and vegetables into the baking dish. Now that’s more than enough to feed your family!
Prepare the leftovers
Take the leftovers and remove them from the bone. Use the bones, cartilage and skin for soup (toss into a plastic bag and store in the freezer, ready to throw into a pot). Chop the leftover meat into large cubes. Now you have several options ahead of you!
Make a chicken pie
Cut carrots and potatoes into small cubes, and add a handful of peas. (Some people also put canned mushrooms.) Combine with chicken cubes and extra gravy, and then pour into individual pie crusts.
Serve a healthy chicken soup
Remember those bones? Boil them for several hours with garlic cloves, onions, celery and spices. Use a low heat, which will help release the gelatinous protein called collagen. This is what adds flavor and body to chicken stock.
Now, add the chicken chunks, macaroni or noodles, and your favorite vegetables. Basic chicken stock can also be used to make other kinds of soup: minestrone, chicken stew, or chicken porridge (use rice instead of noodles).
Make a chicken noodle dish
Boil spaghetti noodles. Then, prepare your favorite pasta sauce like chicken tetrazinni or a summer vegetable and chicken mix (sauté garlic and olive oil, then add chicken cubes, zucchini, carrots and broccoli). You can also try an Asian noodle dish.
Shred chicken then add bottled salsa. Put on tortillas and add grated cheddar cheese, and then cook on a griddle until the cheese melts.
Prepare a hearty salad
Add chicken strips to a salad for a healthy, easy and delicious lunch! Try with thousand island dressing or Caesar dressing. But try it with others, too. It’s good with an Asian mango vinaigrette or a sweet and spicy thai peanut dressing. And of course there are picnic staples like chicken macaroni salad!
Turn it into a sandwich
Just shred chicken and add mayonnaise and diced onion and pickle relish. (Other recipes use capers or garlic—it really depends on your preferences!). This is great for packed lunches, or even as a simple appetizer—just serve on saltine crackers or melba toast instead.
Photo from sidewalkshoes.com