Chicken, Chicken, Chicken!
After I boiled a whole chicken earlier this week to make my chicken noodle soup, I was left with a large amount of cooked chicken to use for other things. You may have read my earlier post regarding my need to use leftovers to create new meals… this post is essentially a sequel to that one, focusing solely on using cooked chicken leftovers.
Since most chicken dishes require the chicken to be cooked in a certain way, or marinated before cooking, I had to think creatively to figure out what I could do with plain old cooked chicken so I didn’t let it go to waste. I had a total of about 5 cups of chicken once it was all chopped up/shredded, so I decided to split my leftovers into 2 different dishes:
1. Chicken Salad
I’ve always loved chicken salad, and you really can’t beat the homemade kind. I kept it simple both because I didn’t have many ingredients that I would have needed to make a more complex recipe (such as this holiday chicken salad from Allrecipes.com which I need to try at some point!) The recipe I used was a simple mix of the following ingredients in a medium bowl:
- 2 cups cooked chicken meat, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
This seems like it will make about 5 sandwiches, so it’s the perfect amount of chicken salad to last for the week. It’s also a healthified version, as I replaced half of the mayonnaise with non-fat Greek yogurt. Replacing only half of the mayo helps to keep the essential flavor there, but make the overall recipe more healthy.
2. Chicken Divan
I didn’t want to get sick of eating chicken for weeks, so I decided to use the remainder of my extra chicken to make something I could freeze and defrost at another time for a quick and easy pre-prepared meal. I remember my mom making Chicken Divan when I was younger, and I always loved it, so I looked up a recipe for this delicious casserole and decided to whip it together. The recipe I found that seemed closest to what I remembered from my past was a Paula Deen recipe on FoodNetwork.com.
Again, I made some additions and substitutions to ingredients in this recipe. The recipe typically calls for cream of mushroom soup, but I used cream of chicken instead because it was what I had on hand. Additionally, I added sliced mushrooms and croutons to the recipe; the mushrooms, to add the flavor I may have missed out on by using cream of chicken instead of cream of mushroom soup, and the croutons, because my mom used to always add these and I loved the different texture that they added to the dish. Finally, I substituted half the mayonnaise again with plain non-fat Greek yogurt to make the recipe a bit healthier.
The recipe I used in the end is as follows:
- 1 10-ounce package frozen broccoli, chopped
- 3 cups shredded chicken, cooked
- 1 small can mushroom stems and pieces
- 1/2 cup seasoned croutons
- 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup soft bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
Microwave broccoli on full power for 2 minutes, until thawed. Drain the broccoli and put into a casserole dish. Add the chicken, mushrooms, and croutons.
In a medium bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, Cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper, to taste, and wine. Whisk together to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and chicken. Mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Place the mixture into a 9-inch square casserole dish or disposable aluminum foil pan that has been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.
Since I made this casserole for a later date, I stopped here, wrapped the casserole dish in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to ensure a tight seal, and placed it in the freezer. When I take it out, I will defrost it and then bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees, as the recipe instructs.
I love when making one dish can turn into 3… and those 3 dishes should equate to over 20 separate meals!! Between the soup that we have been eating, the other half of the soup that I froze, the chicken salad for lunch, and the casserole, which will amount to at least 2 dinners, I feel extremely proud of myself for making the best of what I had!
Do you have a favorite meal to make with already-cooked chicken? Let me know in the comments… I’ll need more ideas for the next time I decide to make my chicken noodle soup!
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