While I’m not one for a weekly menu plan (I know, shame on me), I do have one thing that it’s a staple in our weekly dinner menu – roast chicken. Sometimes I cook them; often, I pick them up at the local grocery store. (Sometime I’ll share with you all the secret of my roast chicken – it’s easy and amazing!)
And I also love already-cooked store bought roteisserie chicken for less than $10 that will feed the whole fam. Most grocery stores have them – I know all of our local ones do (BJs, Wegmans, Giant & Acme).
I always buy our rotiessiere and roast chickens big so I will have leftovers because there’s so many possibilities with those leftovers. I typically aim for 7 lbs or so to feed my family of four for dinner and then a leftovers meal.
Here are three of my favorite leftover options for dinner the following night. What are yours?
Chicken Noodle Soup. This post was actually inspired by last night’s dinner (pictured). We had picked up a grocery rotessierie chicken for lunch and I picked the leftovers for dinner. We stock up on boxes of chicken broth whenever we’re at BJs for just this purpose. (If you’re really enterprising, the broth can be made out of the bones in the roast chicken!)
Then I generally put whatever vegetables I have stocked in the fridge into the soup. Since I’ve belonged to a local CSA this year, I’ve pretty much always had fresh, organic vegetables on hand. Last night’s soup had just carrots and onions but I often throw in celery or whatever else I have in the fridge when available.
My kids also like our soups hearty so I use a lot of noodles – last night’s were rotini.
I cook the onions, carrots, chicken and broth for up to a few hours on the lowest possible setting, covered- I like letting it stew for awhile. Note that I learned the hard way: boil the soup only in the very end for the pasta. So last night, I boiled, added the rotini for 8 minutes and then took it off the burner. Any longer and the pasta oversaturates and takes up the entire pot of broth.
Serve with fresh bread from the bakery if you plan ahead! A cheap dinner!
Quesadillas – My kids loooooove quesadilla night. And since we always have soft tortillas on hand (I have a quesadilla most days for lunch), I’m able to make these for dinner often. We line bowls up on the counter for them to have a “soft taco” bar — cheese, leftover chicken, guacamole, rice and beans. They love it! We cook it together and it’s very interactive.
Chicken and Vegetable Casserole – My aunt brought a chicken & broccoli casserole when I had first given birth to Nate, almost 8 years ago now. It’s become my go-to staple for meal deliveries and leftovers with the family. I’ve made it so many times I make it all by heart now. You can make this with any vegetable – most of the time I use broccoli but I’ve used asparagus, mushrooms, peppers and more. Get creative!
Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole:
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups of instant white rice (uncooked)
1 cup of milk
About 1/2 stick of butter (melted)
Leftover chicken! I usually put in about 2 cups or so.
Vegetable of choice – 2 cups of fresh chopped broccoli is my veggie of choice
2 cups of shredded cheese. I typically use Mexican – cheddar is great too.
Mix all together, put in a baking dish and cook at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Quick and easy and delish. Takes me 10 minutes tops to whip all the ingredients together.
So those are my constants for leftover chicken – what you do? Inspire me with something new!