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Sometimes the best meals I’ve eaten were the ones that weren’t planned at all. I’m known to cook too much in my house. I think it’s a trait I inherited from my mother who had to cook for 7 people. Even after my older siblings became adults and were long gone from the house, my mom cooked as if she had an army to feed.

The beauty of leftovers is having something already cooked that can be “repurposed” into another meal. An easy one is chicken. With the weather being iffy in Cincinnati and pop up showers being the norm lately, grilling time might be limited (unless you don’t mind grilling during a thunderstorm).

When we grill chicken, we grill A LOT. That way, I have chicken ready to go for a few meals. If you’re not into grilling (or cooking at all for that matter), a rotissorie chicken is a great option. These are pre-seasoned and reasonably priced. They can be eaten “as is” and paired with potatoes, rice or noodles or shredded up and used in salads or tacos. The sky’s the limit here!

This past week I used grilled chicken that was seasoned with steak seasoning (why not?) that was sliced and added to leftover egg noodles. I added some steamed broccoli and a dash of Parmesan cheese and boom- dinner, DONE!

If you have extra food and don’t think you’ll eat it right away, freeze it! It’s worth investing in some glass Pyrex or other glass containers to freeze leftovers. I have frozen rice, pasta, farro, quinoa, soup, chili, you name it. On days when we’re out of ‘thyme’, I can grab something out of the freezer and repurpose it into a different meal.

Here are 5 quick meal ideas:

  1. Chicken tacos. Keep whole wheat or corn tortillas and salsa on hand. I also love shredded cheese on tacos.
  2. Chicken pot pie. Buy a pre-made pie crust (or make your own) and keep mixed vegetables in your freezer. Make a simple ‘gravy’ with broth, butter and flour to create the filling.
  3. BBQ chicken sandwiches. Shred up chicken and combine it with your favorite BBQ sauce. Serve over whole wheat buns with cole slaw.
  4. Indian one pot. Buy a jar of Indian simmer sauce and add chopped chicken, a can of kidney or garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes and frozen green beans. Serve over rice or couscous.
  5. Chicken vegetable soup. Combine leftover chicken cut into cubes with 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth and a bag of frozen miraproix (chopped onions, celery and carrots). Simmer ingredients for 20 minutes, then add 1 cup uncooked rice or noodles and simmer another 8 to 10 minutes until starch is cooked.

For more ideas and recipes, sign up for my blog or use the search engine on the home page of my site. Peas n tanks!

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