25 Ways To Recycle Chicken


Coming up with dinner every day can be a pain in the neck, especially if you are a single cook. Just thinking about going to the store is discouraging enough, much less having to cook after a day's work.

Many of us take the easy way out and throw something together from the leftover dishes in the refrigerator. and more often than not, that leftover is chicken. Not that there's anything wrong with chicken. It's quick, easy and economical. It tastes good and it's good for you. But chicken is boring if you always make the same old thing in the same old way.

Depending on the size of your cooking audience, and with a little imagination, you can keep a roasted chicken going for a day or a week.

Start with a whole roasted or rotisserie-broiled chicken from the supermarket or a take-out restaurant. After your first meal, the rest of the bird looms as leftovers.

Here are 25 ways to recycle leftover chicken without actually cooking. With most of them, you could round out the meal by serving a salad, a good piece of bread or a hard roll, a piece of fresh fruit and a couple of cookies. Most of the suggestions are quickie versions of more
complicated dishes. Assemble here, heat up there.

So who's telling? Dip It

1. International "Ketchup": Heat up a hefty portion of leftover chicken and serve with an international dipping sauce, found in the ethnic sections of supermarkets. Try Thai dipping sauce, Szechuan dipping sauce, Indian chutney, and a smoky cowboy barbecue sauce.
Do it with Eggs

2. Chicken Deviled Eggs: Mash six hard cooked egg yolks with mayonnaise, grated onion, mustard and salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce to taste. Stir in about a half-cup of finely chopped cooked chicken.

3. Omelet or Scrambled Eggs: Combine small cubes of chicken, cubes of cream cheese and some chopped herbs (parsley, chives and tarragon make a good combination). Toss into an omelet or scrambled eggs and let heat through until the chicken is warm and the cream cheese is oozy.
Match it with Breads

4. Pita Sandwich: Spread pita pocket bread (whole wheat or sesame) with mayonnaise to which you've added a pinch of curry and a few drops of fresh lemon juice. Add slices of cooked chicken. Stuff in a few slices of mango or avocado for a surprise and finish with a good spray of watercress or crisp lettuce. If you have some chopped nuts handy, toss them in.

5. Another Pita Sandwich: Spread pita pocket bread with mayonnaise. Stuff it with slices of leftover chicken, sweet cabbage relish, and a slice of tomato.
Sprinkle generously with pepper. The crisp-sweet relish is the flavor secret here.

6. Cheese Melt: Spread a split and partly toasted English muffin with pesto or mayonnaise, top with slices of leftover chicken and grated or sliced cheese.
Heat under the broiler until brown and bubbly.

7. White Pizza: Brush a small round of focaccia bread or Boboli with olive
oil and sprinkle with garlic powder. Scatter with pieces of leftover
chicken, chopped fresh herbs and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Run
under the broiler to brown.

8. Red Pizza: Slice a piece of French bread in half lengthwise. Brush it
with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder. Spoon on a little canned
pizza sauce and scatter shreds of leftover chicken over all. Add chopped
fresh basil and oregano if you have some. Top with shredded mozzarella
cheese. Run under the broiler to brown.

9. Mexican Pizza: Scatter shredded leftover chicken on a flour tortilla to
within a half inch of the edge. Generously shake mild or hot pepper sauce
onto the chicken. Top with some shredded mozzarella or jack cheese. Run
under the broiler until the cheese melts and browns and the edges of the
tortilla turn up like a saucer. Reach for additional hot pepper sauce.

10. Rancher Pizza: Scatter shredded leftover chicken on a flour tortilla.
Douse with smoked barbecue sauce. Top with grated cheddar cheese if you
like. Run under the broiler until cheese melts and browns and the edges of
the tortilla turn up like a saucer. Wrap it up

11. Peking Chicken: Steam a flour tortilla to warm and soften it. Spread the
tortilla with a teaspoon of hoisin sauce, or more to taste (you can boost
the flavor with a drop of sesame oil), add thin shreds of leftover chicken
and small chopped pieces of chicken skin. The skin won't be very crisp, but
it adds a ton of flavor. Snip a scallion into rings and scatter them over
the chicken. Wrap up into a package. As an alternative, spread the hoisin
sauce in a pita pocket and stuff with chicken, chicken skin and scallions.

12. Fajitas: Saute a little sliced onion and green pepper in olive oil.
Place on a warm flour tortilla. Add strips of warm cooked leftover chicken.
Spritz with lime juice. Top with a dollop of sour cream, shredded lettuce
and a spoonful of salsa. Roll up into a package. Warm it up

13. Stir Fry: You don't need a wok. A skillet will work just as well. Toss
sliced onion, garlic, red pepper, yellow squash and zucchini, broccoli buds
and bean sprouts with olive oil until soft. Toss in cubes of leftover cooked
chicken to heat. Douse with stir-fry sauce and heat through.

14. Fried Rice: Saute onion and garlic. Add a portion of leftover rice. Add
chopped scrambled egg, minced leftover vegetables and diced leftover
chicken. If there's a little piece of ham or shrimp in the fridge, chop it
and add. Season with soy sauce, heat and serve.

15. Kebabs: Alternate cubes of leftover chicken, pineapple and red pepper on
a skewer. Brush with melted butter or spritz with olive oil cooking spray
and heat briefly under the broiler to brown.

16. Soup Helper: Reinforce any canned vegetable or chicken soup with real
pieces of chicken.

Salads

17. Variations on a theme: Toss leftover chicken pieces with almost
anything: apples, olives, mandarin oranges, avocado, ham, pesto. Add celery
or nuts for crunch, onions or shallots for bite and lemon juice for zest.
Bind with mayonnaise, a little yogurt or sour cream. Serve on lettuce or in
a sandwich.

18. Chicken Caesar Salad: Toss pieces of romaine lettuce in a bowl. Add
chopped anchovies, chopped hard cooked egg and croutons. Toss with bottled Caesar salad dressing. Top with strips of grilled chicken and grated
Parmesan cheese.

19. Cobb Salad: Top salad greens with strips of julienne of leftover
chicken, ham and cheese. Make other strips of red onion, crumbled bacon,
bleu cheese and diced tomatoes. Add avocado and hard cooked eggs if you
like.

20. Pasta Salad: Bolster almost any homemade or store-bought pasta salad
with chunks of chicken.

21. Oriental Chicken Salad: Mix diced or shredded leftover chicken, sliced
water chestnuts, diced celery and a sliced scallion. Toss with mayonnaise to
which you've added a pinch each of ginger and mustard and a tablespoon or so of chopped candied ginger. Scatter sliced toasted almonds over the top. Pick it off the Carcass

22. Chicken Log: Soften a small package of cream cheese, and add
Worcestershire sauce and mild or hot pepper sauce to taste. Add a chopped
stalk of celery and about a cup and a half of minced leftover chicken. Mix
well and dump onto a piece of waxed paper. Form into a log and chill. Unwrap
and roll in chopped nuts and parsley. Serve with crackers.

23. Chicken Hash: Mince up leftover chicken and leftover potatoes. Add a
beaten egg, a sliced scallion and season heavily. Melt butter in a no-stick
pan, add the mixture to the pan and heat until a crust forms. Flip and cook
on other side.

24. Mix it up: Toss scraps and shreds of leftover chicken into pancake mix,
into waffle mix, into griddle fritters.

25. Chicken Pecan Spread: Blend a large package of cream cheese and 1/3 cup mayonnaise. Stir in 3/4 cup of pecans, 2 tablespoons chutney (chopped if necessary), 1 -1/2 teaspoons curry powder and a tablespoon of chopped
parsley. Add 1 cup chopped leftover chicken and stir well. Turn into a
serving dish. Serve with crackers or as a spread for pear or apple slices.

26. Time to buy another chicken.