Recipes for Leftover Chicken

Honey Chili Chicken,

Chicken Leftovers Go International

Here are 3 great recipes for leftover chicken that prove you can make your family like leftovers and you can serve leftovers to guests:

1. Chicken Biriyani, a one-dish chicken and rice meal sporting all the wonderful flavors of India

2. Honey Chili Chicken, a sweet and spicy sauce over fried chicken, pictured above

3. Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce, a classy, crunchy dish with a great look

Recipes for Leftover Chicken

Chicken Biriyani

This is a special East Indian dish that features an incredible array of spices, some we don't get to use that often, like coriander and cardamom.

Chicken Biriyani,

It's a one-dish meal, divided here into three parts for easy preparation: spiced rice, chicken mixture, and topping.

Spiced Rice:

1 cup basmati (or other long grain) rice
3 cloves garlic
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf

Chicken mixture:

1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon each coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt
1/8 teaspoon each ground cloves, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
3 cups cooked chicken or turkey meat, 1-inch cubed

Choose one of the following:

  • 3/4 cup cooked peas
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cherry tomato halves
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage, steamed, plus 1 cored, chopped green apple

Cook the rice according to package directions, adding the garlic, cinnamon stick and bay leaf to the water. Discard those items, though, when the rice is cooked.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor or blender, lightly process the onion, garlic, ginger, lemon juice and spices for the chicken mixture, 10-15 seconds, making a paste. Transfer the paste to a medium bowl and add the yogurt. Fold in the chicken meat, coating it thoroughly.

To assemble the Biriyani, spread the rice in a shallow casserole dish (1 1/2 quarts) and top with the chicken mixture. Bake until heated through, about 35 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, garnish with your chosen topping, and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Honey Chili Chicken

(Pictured at the top)
This is my husband's favorite dish, spicy yet sweet. It's perfect for leftover fried chicken, if the pieces are small, but you can always start from scratch with raw chicken. I often use halved boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Bone in, bone out, skin on, skin off, you cannot make this dish taste bad.

1/4 cup vegetable oil, for frying
Salt and pepper
3 - 4 pounds small chicken pieces, bone-in, or about 2 pounds, boneless
1/2 cup flour 

2/3 cup water
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons Chinese chili sauce (or hot bean paste to taste, very hot)
4 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup honey
6 green onions, sliced
1 - 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, optional
Cooked rice or noodles

To fry the chicken: In a large skillet, heat the oil to medium-high heat, 375°. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces to taste and dredge them in flour. Fry until cooked through and golden brown, 10 - 12 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels.

If you're using leftover fried chicken jump in here.

Combine the water, lemon juice, cornstarch, chili sauce and soy sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the skillet (or add 2 tablespoons). Add the ginger, then honey, and stir for a minute. Stir the cornstarch mixture and pour it into the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens, just a few minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and heat through, coating the chicken with the sauce.

Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds. Serve over rice or noodles. Makes 4 to 6 servings and lots of sauce.

Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce

Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce

This is one of the better recipes for leftover chicken, my personal favorite. Matchstick chicken and crunchy vegetables in peanut sauce top artfully arranged snow peas. Perfect luncheon or light dinner fare.

1/2 pound fresh snow peas (or 1 6-ounce package frozen)

2 tablespoons peanut butter, any variety
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste

2 cups cooked chicken, cut into 2" matchstick strips
1 cup sliced radishes
1 cup sliced water chestnuts
2 tablespoons sliced green onions

Drop the snow peas in simmering salted water and cook only until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes for large ones. Drain thoroughly and dry, if need be, with paper towels.

  1. Tip: Divide snow peas of various sizes into three groups, 3 minute, 2 minute and 1 minute. Toss them into the pot at the appropriate time and drain them all at once.

In a medium-large bowl, whisk the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar sesame oil, ginger, garlic and cayenne together. Stir in the chicken pieces, radishes and water chestnuts.

On a platter or individual salad plates, arrange the snow peas decoratively. Top with the chicken-vegetable mixture and garnish with green onions. If you like, chill the salad in coffee mugs to mold individual servings; invert over arranged snow peas. Makes 4 servings.

Back to Recipes for Leftovers Homepage

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