One of the biggest struggles of eating kosher food on a budget is that meat and chicken are so expensive! When I make chicken, I try to make it stretch as much as possible, so I try to make leftover chicken recipes to make it last longer.
We always have meat or chicken for Shabbos meals as we consider it an important part of our Shabbos, and we use the leftover cooked chicken all week as one of our Building Blocks of Meal Planning. I like to take the meat and chicken from Shabbos, shred it, cut it and place it into containers to be used all week. That is half the meal prep done already! So easy!
I always encourage others, and try myself, to cut down on meat, chicken and fish and try to eat as many plant-based proteins as possible. These are very often kosher and very easy on the budget.
Leftover Chicken Recipes
The trick is to stretch the meat and chicken as much as possible to that it part of the meal, but you don’t have to use too much to make a filling meal.
You can also make chicken or meat one day and then either eat it as a meal (make sure to serve with a cheap and filling side dish) or shred or cube it for different meals during the week.
I find it hard to cook a full supper every weeknight, so it helps me to have part of the meal already prepped and waiting for me in the fridge. Adding quick items to a already cooked protein takes significantly less time and makes serving supper so much less stressful. Having shredded leftover chicken ready to toss into a dish is such a time saver!
I always try to make frugality easier for myself and you, not harder!
A note on frugality: You may find lots of recipes online using rotisserie chicken. Rotisserie chicken recipes are a fairly common theme among many “easy leftover chicken food” ideas. Rotisserie chicken makes delicious salads and sandwiches, but store-bought rotisserie chicken is not necessarily cheap, especially kosher chicken.
So, if you have leftover rotisserie chicken, then, by all means, use it to make some delicious dishes. But don’t go to the store just to buy a store-bought rotisserie chicken. That would defeat the frugality of it!
You can take a few hours a week to prepare these proteins and serve them for the rest of the week, as well. For example, on Sunday, you can poach, fry or grill some chicken cutlets, or roast or bake some chicken thighs and make a pot of pulled beef. The slow-cooker is your friend for the pulled beef.
You can then divide these up into smaller portions to be used throughout the week. These also freeze nicely so you can prepare for the more stressful points of your life when you may be tempted to get take-out.
Having part of the meal already prepped and ready to go will make it easier to eat at home even when you are tired and want to get take-out or fast food. This is great if you are looking to save money in those areas.
Improvisation is definitely the name of the game! You have to adapt easily to make your leftover chicken recipes frugal for you. Don’t run out and buy expensive ingredients to use; that will defeat the whole purpose.
Remember that the more plant-based proteins that you add to a dish and the more side dishes you add to a meal, the more use you can get out of your leftover chicken or meat. This will make your leftover chicken recipes go so much further.
1. Chicken Sandwich
A nice roll or pieces of bread with all the vegetables and a slice of meat or chicken is a full and filling and healthy meal!
You can use as much protein as you need (less or more depending on your situation). You can bulk up the salad if you need it with some raw or roasted chickpeas or another bean or grain. Yum!
3. One Rice Dish
This is a dish we used to have as kids often. My mother would make chicken soup every Shabbos (like a good Jewish mother), and then on Monday (Sunday was for plain leftovers) would take the chicken from the soup and shred it into small pieces.
Make a pot of rice, add the already cooked chicken, a bag of frozen vegetables and cook! You can serve it with soy sauce or another sauce. I like Trader Joe’s’ Green Dragon Sauce on this. Delicious!
4. Chicken Wraps
Take the chicken and meat and stick into a wrap with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumbers, and anything else you want! A delicious supper or lunch that is easy on the expensive and heavy on the cheap.
If you want or need to be super frugal, then you can make your own wraps. It takes a little bit of time but is significantly cheaper than store-bought wraps- all you need is flour, water and salt.
5. Quick Leftover Chicken or Meat Soup
This is great if you have a good vegetable stock already made. (I hope you are saving your scraps and reducing food waste by turning them into stock!). Add cooked chicken, some raw herbs (parsley, dill, cilantro, even chard all work great with this), and cook for a few minutes.
Since the stock and the chicken is already cooked and flavorful, it takes literally minutes to make a soup, which is great for a cold winter night or afternoon when you didn’t plan in advance.
Add a handful of rice or barley to make it a little more filling. This is also really great if you are a bit under the weather. Nothing like a nice soup to make you feel better!
6. Chicken Pot Pie
This one is not as easy as the other ones, but you can use leftover chicken to make a chicken pot pie! Feel free to leave out or add any of the ingredients that you don’t have on hand.
You don’t need to be constrained to a specific recipe. If you find puff pastry dough too expensive for you- either make it without or use a small amount and create a more latticed cover. Trust me; it will be just as delicious!
7. Pretend Curry
Take the chicken and rice and add some vegetables but instead of just eating it, add as many spices as you want. Curry powder, turmeric, ginger, coriander or chili can all be added to make a curry-tasting dish.
8. Grain Bowls
These are a really yummy and healthy meal that can be elevated by adding some shredded chicken or meat on top. This is really great if you have anyone who refuses to eat vegan foods. We all have people in our family like that!
9. Hummus Plate
These are all the trend in the Middle East. Take a large amount of Hummus (Making your own hummus is easy and super cheap!) and pile some shredded meat or chicken on top.
Sprinkle with some parsley and serve with Israeli salad (cucumbers, tomato and onion). You can toast some pitas or wraps to scoop it up with for a real Mediterranean feel. You can also add some whole chickpeas to make it even more vegan and cheap.
10. Chicken Spaghetti
This is pretty self-explanatory. Take your chicken or meat and throw on top of some spaghetti or any pasta. Add some mushrooms, spinach, or other cheap veggies, and you have a delicious chicken pasta!
11. Shepherd’s Pie with a Twist
Traditional Shepherd’s pie is great, but the following recipes exactly can be time consuming and expensive. Make some form of potatoes (mashed is great but again, do what works for you) and throw some frozen or canned vegetables on top with some chicken or meat.
12. Stir Fry
Grab some chicken and added some carrots, zucchini, onion, bamboo shoots or water chestnuts, and make a quick stir fry. This is so versatile and adaptable to whatever you like and can afford. You can serve on top of rice.
Saving Your Chicken
There are so many leftover chicken recipes that you can make for your family. I try to make things that are cheap and frugal and super easy to make and throw together.
As a full-time working mother of three, I don’t have time for elaborate or timely dishes, and I don’t have money for take-out or fast food (and I love for my family to have healthy food). These easy leftover chicken recipes make it easy for me to make meals quickly.
Image Credit: rez-art / iStock.