It’s always roast chicken at the Reiser’s! We have roast chicken almost every week, and with just two of us, there’s a lot of leftover roast chicken! I’m not the biggest fan of leftovers, if I’m being honest. First, I ate a lot of them growing up. Second, it’s just never the same the next day (with few exceptions like spaghetti, which is better). And third, who want’s to eat the same meal 2, 3, even 4 days in a row? Not me! But, with food waste such a problem these days, my solution is simple: leftover makeovers!
The concept of a leftover makeover is simple: use something you already made (the leftover part), but transform it into a totally new dish (the makeover)! It can seem daunting, but simple ingredients like roast chicken are the perfect fridge-friend for a leftover makeover. And, by the time you’ve transformed the dish, it’s no longer leftovers.
Here are my top choices for leftover chicken makeovers:
- Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans (recipe below)
- Chicken Soup
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Chicken Pot Pie
Some leftovers are obviously easier to makeover than others (much easier to make roast chicken into a new dish than to makeover coq au vin), but get creative! If you have kids, or other family members that don’t like leftovers, it can be a fun challenge to makeover leftovers. I once served a dinner party after the holidays and transformed all my leftovers into appetizers – my guests had no idea I served the entire party as leftovers!
Today I’m sharing my leftover makeover recipe for Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans. It’s similar to a Waldorf Chicken Salad, though I don’t add the apples – but you certainly could. What I love about Chicken Salad is how quick you can whip it up, and it’s a great snack on its own, or serve it with or on a bagel or some toasted bread, it makes a great lunch or an easy dinner. What I also love about this makeover is you still get all the great flavor of however you seasoned your chicken – thyme, lemon, garlic etc. It adds a great depth of flavor you don’t typically get with chicken salad. And, tt lasts for 3-4 days in the fridge, but the onion flavor will intensify the longer you leave it. Bon appetit!
1-2 cups shredded, leftover roast chicken, bones and skin removed
3 scallions, sliced (white and green parts)
2 large stalks celery, small diced
1/4 – 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 cup halved red grapes
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
Salt & pepper
Place the chicken, scallions and celery into a large bowl and toss together. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mayonnaise, starting with about 1/4 cup and adding 1-2 tbsp at a time until you reach a consistency you like. You can make it as wet or dry as you like, I prefer it to be coated with mayo, but not dripping. Add the grapes and pecans and toss gently. Check for seasoning and enjoy!