Creative uses for left over chicken

Chicken is lean, healthy, and economical, and left over chicken is just as good the next day. You can enjoy this versatile meat cold in sandwiches, salads or wraps; or hot in a variety of dishes from comfort food such as chicken stew or chicken pie to international fare such as Mexican chicken mole or Indian chicken curry.

Chicken with grapes is an inspired combination for a lunchtime salad, sandwich or wrap. The basic mixture is as follows:

A couple of pieces of left over chicken breast, chopped.

A handful of red or green seedless grapes, cut into halves
Mayonnaise or whipped salad dressing (Regular or light)
A stick of chopped celery
Pepper to taste

For additional flavor, add herbs such as parsley, basil or savory, some chopped white or green onion, or additional fruit such as chopped apple, dried cranberries or raisins. Just experiment and find the balance of flavors that you like the best.

For lunch or dinner comfort food, try chicken and mushroom cream.

Cut left over chicken from the bone and chop the meat into small pieces. Fry a cup of sliced mushrooms and chopped onion in oil.

Now make the cream sauce in your microwave. Put a tablespoon of butter or margarine in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for one minute.

Stir in a tablespoon of flour. Add two cups of milk or cream, salt and pepper to taste, fried mushrooms and chopped chicken. For additional flavor, add half a teaspoon each of garlic powder and Italian seasoning.

Stir everything together and microwave on high for five minutes, then stir again and microwave for another five minutes. If the sauce is not thick enough, stir and repeat. If it is too thick, simply add more milk or cream.

If you wish, you can add frozen peas, green beans or mixed vegetables for extra colour.

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes and vegetables or a salad.

If you are looking for a more adventurous evening meal, serve left over chicken with a French flair by making coq au vin.

Slice 4 or 5 sausages and chop 6 bacon slices into pieces.

Fry the sausages and bacon with chopped onion and 3 or 4 chopped garlic cloves. Add left over whole chicken pieces, a cup of wine, a cup of water, a bay leaf, half a teaspoon of rosemary, half a teaspoon of thyme, and pepper to taste. Simmer for about half an hour. The alcohol will cook away and the flavors of the ingredients will blend together to form a rich sauce.

Serve with a green salad and lots of French bread to soak up the divinely delicious gravy.

And don’t forget the carcass from yesterday’s roast chicken dinner or that barbecued chicken you picked up at the supermarket. If you throw the carcass away, you will miss a surprisingly easy opportunity to make great soup stock. Simply throw the bones into a pot, cover with water, and add a bay leaf and half a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, simmer for an hour, and let cool. Strain out the bones, and take off any pieces of meat that remain on them. Now you have the perfect base for chicken noodle or chicken vegetable soup. You can use it right away, or freeze it to use later.

These are just a few ideas.  The possibilities are endless.