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Best thing to do with leftover cooked chicken breast...

Hello everyone,

I recently had a baby and so many of my friends and relatives came by with casseroles, pies, and various foil-wrapped food items for me to keep in the freezer. One such relative brought a few bags of plain grilled chicken breast, which I know is useful for making quick easy meals, but I've never been in the habit of using it.

Does anyone have a favorite recipe that's quick & easy and doesn't involve a can of cream of whatever soup?

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  1. I like using left over chicken breast for:
    -chicken caesar salad
    -club sandwich
    -pad thai
    -tomato sauce and mozz on top with side of aglio olio pasta. BAM....

    1 Reply
    1. re: Evilbanana11

      The question is really what can't you do with grilled chicken breast?

      I like to make huge one-dish meals in the summer that I can nosh on for a few days without heating up the kitchen such as pasta salad with chicken and lots of your favorite chopped vegetables. Great with a Thai-style peanut sauce dressing, or a creamy yogurt-herb dressing, or a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

      Also one of my favorite things to do with leftover chicken, especially if it was marinated, is a simple sandwich on good quality bread with butter on one side and mayo on the other, chicken and lettuce in the middle.

    2. I've been making filling for crepes with it lately. The crepes, I have discovered, are quite easy to make, and can be made ahead of time. You can also make the filling ahead of time, roll it up in the crepes, smear on some of the sauce (minus the chicken) and stick it in the oven when you are ready. Don't know if that sounds too complicated right now - but happy to provide the recipe for the filling.

      1. we'll have chicken enchiladas tonight--using leftovers from sunday dinner. funny to come across this question just now. i asked myself the same thing about 30 minutes ago and settled on red-sauce enchiladas. i think i'll infuse some oil with serranos to make a peppery/limey dressing for a small side salad.

        1. Tacos and fajitas are great but also, a chicken pie is a good way to use up lots of diced chicken breast. You can use phyllo or puff pastry and be creative with the rest of ingredients/sauces.

          Chicken kebabs served with tzatziki and pitta bread or even as a topping for pizza.

          1. my first thoughts were: quasadillas, your own pizzas (with even a white sauce instead of red) and my fav is an asian salad slaw with chicken or turkey. You could even jazz up a couscous salad or quinoa salad (even rice or orzo) with chicken too.

            best of luck with the baby - whatever you do, keep it simple so you have more time for baby. There are NO do-overs with kids. :-)

            4 Replies
            1. re: lexpatti

              Mmmm, yes, I am with you on the pizza idea. My favorite is chicken, spinach leaves, roasted whole garlic cloves, and pieces of bacon, all on top of a cream cheese spread instead of red sauce, and topped with fresh whole milk mazz. cheese. If you need any easy crust, boboli is great, or I saw a tip on Rachael Ray to buy your favorite dough from your favorite local pizza eatery. Yum!

              1. re: DishDelish

                YUM!! do you just use cream cheese as the base or an herbed cream cheese mix?

                1. re: lexpatti

                  Just the base, but I'm sure fresh herbs would make a tasty edition.

                2. re: DishDelish

                  BBQ chicken pizza: thinly slice or shred chicken, liberally douse with BBQ sauce (Stubs at our house) distribute on a prepared and partially baked pizza crust (yours or the market) top with shredded cheddar cheese, bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes. Just till slightly browned and nice and hot. Pickled jalapenos optional. A big hit on Sunday night with coleslaw and beer for football viewing at our house.Super easy. Much beloved.

              2. i like to make chicken salad with it. its best if you shred the chicken as i am not a big fan of chunks of chicken. you can just pull it apart with your hand.

                i add:

                greek yogurt (non-fat)
                golden raisins
                fuji apple
                salt pepper

                it's pretty freakin' delicious

                1 Reply
                1. re: zagoren

                  Wow - this sounds great. Always on the lookout for more brown bag lunch options.

                2. Agreed that chicken salad is the easiest way to use it up. There are tons of variations, and you can just forage in your fridge & pantry, without a separate trip to the grocery, for what to add in.

                  On Sunday, I found one sauteed breast left over in my fridge. After scavenging, my chicken salad consisted of:

                  cubed chicken (I'm not in the shredded school)
                  minced green onions
                  chopped celery
                  dried sweetened cranberries
                  chopped walnuts
                  lemon juice
                  nutmeg, ground coriander, cumin, salt & pepper to taste.

                  1. Recently I've discovered some great Chicken Tikka Masala Sauce and Butter Chicken Sauce made by Tiger Tiger. I've been heating up cubed chicken breasts with peas or potatoes or cauliflower in that sauce, it's great, and takes no time at all.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Felixnot

                      I love that sauce! I was following a chicken tikka masala thread here last week but went with the jar I had bought and we loved it. Obviously we are newbies with Indian food but I was happy to get my husband to try something new and it was a hit. So now I have a jar of Patak's sauce to try. After we get a baseline I'll learn to make my own.

                      1. re: ginnyhw

                        I have a jar of Patak's as well, but haven't gotten to it yet. I've made this sauce from scratch, but this is better, and a lot quicker.

                    2. Oh - I forgot about the wonderful chunks of chicken breast marinated for an hour or so in yogurt, garlic and chives - then you can stick them on the grill on skewers - or under the broiler. If that sounds appealing - I'll find the link to the recipe for you. It's a real favorite of mine, and v. easy.

                      1. Dave Leiberman's Mexican Chicken Stew is my favourite way of using up leftover chicken meat.


                        Delicious and uses mostly pantry ingredients, apart from the chicken.

                        1. Chop it up, throw it in a crockpot with some chopped sauteed onion...and some barbque sauce...cook on high for 1 hour and then turn it down to low for maybe 2 hours (do check on it every 30 mins or so to see if you need more bbq sauce..I did!!!) You'll have some great bbque chicken, as told to me by these very chowhound persons...it worked beautifully for a mess of leftover cooked chicken (albeit...dark and white meat) but still, you should be fine with the cooked breast...I was the QUEEN at work that week!

                          1. The grocery had chicken breast for a ridiculously low price, so I bought a bunch thinking I would eat healthy for a week... I baked them and after one day, that was so boring that I made a White Bean Chicken Chili.

                            So easy, saute garlic, onions and chili peppers in some oil. Add a couple cans chicken broth, chopped tomatillos, dried oregano, dried sage, cumin, salt & pepper. Cook until the tomatillos are soft and falling apart. Add a couple cans drained and rinsed white beans and your chopped chicken breast. Simmer for about 20 mins and viola! dinner is served.

                            Your proportions will vary depending on how much chicken you want to use up.

                            1. I often make Chinese chicken salad with leftover chicken - a bit free-form but shred and dress with 2 tb soy sauce (Kikkoman is OK, prefer Kimlan or other Taiwanese/PRC brand), 2 tsp wine (or Chinese black) vinegar, 1 tsp sesame seed oil, which I put in food processor with a couple of green onions and as much garlic as I feel like - usually a couple of cloves - - until a loose puree - these amounts per 2 half-breasts or equivalent. Also add hot chile paste or sriracha to taste. Sometimes add a bit of sesame paste or peanut butter. Serve over shredded romaine, or watercress, or on a bed of sliced cucumber. Some avocado slices on top are v nontraditional but good.

                              1. Chop it into bite sized pieces, cook rice, while rice is cooking, stir-fry some veggies, add chopped chicken, scramble a couple of eggs on the side, stir in with veggies and rice, add some soy and sirachi sauce, dinner!

                                1. Chicken salad, as already mentioned, but if you are bored, you could try Japanese chicken salad, which is: cubed cooked chicken, a Japanese plum that's been seeded and chopped into paste (approx 10 seconds of work), julienned cucumbers and some mayo (Kewpie mayo if you like).

                                  It's also great in fried rice, and you can fry it with some cooked spaghetti or other pasta and add some broccoli for nutrition.

                                  It's a great topping for salad, too.

                                  And if you are just too pooped to slice and dice, stick it between two slices of bread (maybe with some cheese? and a few pickle slices) and eat it.