Lots of Love for Leftovers

There’s been a lot of talk recently about how no one cooks anymore, more folks depending largely on take-away. I’ve no problem ordering pizza or Chinese now & again. I love the time-saving genius of my microwave. But everyday? The cost aside (my wallet weeps at the thought), sodium content alone gives me pause – it makes my hands feel puffy just thinking about it. But yes, sometimes I don’t want to cook or shop; I’m too tired or busy or broke.So I embrace the leftovers and the basic building blocks found in my kitchen cupboards.

Quick No-Cook Meals from Leftover Chicken and Standby Staples:

grilled chickenChicken looms large in the menus at TransAtlantic Towers. Chicken Pesto Pasta, roast chicken pieces, chicken stews, etc. We always have breast or thigh fillets in the freezer and keep an eye out for particularly good bargains during our regular shop). As a result, we quite often have c0oked chicken in some form left over and while I’m perfectly content to grab a cooked chicken breast and nibble away as is, it’s nice to jazz it up a bit too.

If you have some left over chicken, why not shred it and use it in:

  • Chicken Salad: Combine chicken, diced roasted red peppers, mayonnaise and mustard; spoon your mixture into pita. I prefer whole wheat pitas – to add an extra layer of flavor – but any kind works.
  • Chicken Fajitas: Top tortillas with slices of chicken breast, green bell peppers and red onion; serve with sour cream and salsa. Cannot stress enough how handy it is to keep tortilla around. Useful for wraps, Tex-Mex night, making your own chips and even breadcrumbs.
  • Asian Chicken: Coat chunks or shredded chicken breast with hoisin sauce; toss with water chestnuts and chopped celery. I confess I do not keep water chestnuts around but that’s purely personal preference. If you have a particular passion for Asian food and Chinese take-aways, keeping ingredients like water chestnuts around will help you whip up some faster, cheaper healthier alternatives to the food at the end of the phone.
  • Barbecued Pulled Chicken: Combine shredded, cooked chicken and barbecue sauce; serve on whole-grain bread or sandwich roll. This is equally awesome with leftover pork or brisket

Other Quick No Cook Meals from Common Pantry Supplies: What if I am out of chicken but still need something to keep the tummy rumbles at bay?


  • Moroccan Couscous: Add boiling water to whole-wheat couscous; let stand 5 minutes. Add chopped mixed dried fruit (dried cranberries are a favorite of mine), ground cumin or cinnamon, sliced almonds and a squeeze of lemon juice and one of orange juice. I like using the giant couscous, sometimes called Israeli couscous which is neither couscous or Israeli (not unlike a Jerusalem artichoke).
  • Hummus: Puree together chickpeas, garlic and lemon juice; serve with baked tortilla chips or whole-wheat pita wedges. I have been known to do this with white bean mash as well. I cannot say enough about my love for white bean mash.
  • Spicy Salmon or Tuna: Combine canned salmon or tuna, diced pickled jalapenos, mustard and mayo. Awesome as a wrap filling or even as a topping for pasta salad
  • Mexican Beans: Combine three-bean varieties (black, white, pink), canned tomatoes, diced yellow bell pepper, chopped fresh cilantro and chili powder.
  • Fruit Smoothie – left over fruit salad and yogurt into a blender and voila! Creamy, fruity smoothie.

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