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12 Easy 15-Minute Leftover Chicken Recipes Ideas
Got pre-cooked or leftover chicken in your refrigerator? If so, then you’ve got the makings of a super quick meal idea that you can get on the table in less than 15 minutes with these quick and easy leftover chicken recipe ideas.
Like you, as a busy mom, anytime I can hit that easy button and get dinner on the table fast, I’m all in.
In fact, now that I have this arsenal of 15-minute meals in my toolbelt, every time I make roasted chicken for dinner, I make it a point to buy a bird twice the size as I need to feed my family just so I have leftovers.
This doesn’t necessarily mean we eat chicken every day of the week (although I totally could).
Instead, I’ll keep just enough in my refrigerator to use within the next few days for lunches and dinners based on my weekly meal plan.
Then if I have extra that I know I won’t use up, I’ll package it up in appropriate portions using my food vacuum sealer and toss it into my freezer to use whenever I need some.
As an added benefit, chicken is great if you’re meal planning on a tight budget since it’s one of the cheapest foods you can buy in the meat department. Delicious, easy, and cheap… What could be better!!!
If getting meals on the table quickly is a high priority as a busy mom, freezer cooking is one of the best ways to spend less time cooking while still feeding your family delicious healthy meals.
Grab The Ultimate Freezer Cooking Quick Start Guide to learn my best tips and tricks to get food on the table fast so you have time for more important things.
15 Minute Meal Ideas Using Leftover or Pre-cooked Chicken
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Chicken Bacon Ranch Subs
Chicken bacon ranch subs are one of my favorite quick chicken meal ideas because they are so easy to make in just a few minutes.
The best part about making those sub sandwiches is that you can easily make them to order for everybody’s taste, just like at any restaurant.
All you need is some leftover chicken, bacon, veggies, and ranch dressing, or any other dressing you choose, then toss them in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes and you’ve got a quick meal idea in less than 15 minutes.
To make these even quicker, I always have some pre-cooked bacon in my freezer so I can just grab as many slices as I need and pop them into the microwave for 30 seconds.
Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Alfredo
Chicken Alfredo is one of my go-to family favorite meals when I need a super easy meal and have leftover chicken in my refrigerator or freezer.
It’s not only really quick to get on the table but everyone loves it so there’s never any complaint when asked what’s for dinner.
Plus, if you’re looking to save money on groceries, this recipe is one of the cheapest meals you can make since all ingredients are on my list of cheapest foods to buy on a tight budget and it’s so easy to make.
All you need to do is cook your pasta, and steam some broccoli, then combine with your leftover chicken and a jar of alfredo and you’ve got dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes.
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Add a twist to pizza night with this easy BBQ chicken pizza that the whole family is sure to love! All you need is BBQ sauce, shredded cheese, pre-made pizza dough, and leftover chicken you’ve got a quick meal idea.
Of course, you can go crazy and add any other topping you’d like such as onions or peppers to your pizza to suit your families taste.
Who doesn’t love taco night? If you have pre-cooked or leftover chicken in your fridge or freezer then you can make chicken tacos pretty quickly.
Simply simmer your chicken with taco seasoning according to the directions on the package. Then chop some veggies, add shredded cheese, and you’ve got a quick 15-minute meal that your whole family will love.
What’s even better is that chicken tacos are healthier than the traditional ground beef version and you don’t have to deal with the greasy splatter from browning your beef.
Chicken Rice Soup
Looking for comfort food? This chicken rice soup is not only super easy to make (with just a few time-saving hacks) it’s also perfect for workweek lunchbox ideas
You can serve this quick meal up with some dinner rolls, breadsticks, or biscuits and you’ve got a hearty meal that will even satisfy the largest appetites.
To make this chicken rice soup super quick, you can use minute rice (or even leftover rice if you have some), and instead of boiling your veggies, use canned veggies.
Add your leftover chicken and some broth to a large pot and you’ve got a quick chicken recipe.
Chicken Fajita Wraps
These chicken fajita wraps are another great Mexican food meal idea that you can make in minutes with the leftover chicken sitting in your fridge.
You can make this meal idea even faster by meal prepping the homemade fajita seasoning and cilantro-lime sauce ahead of time (click here for recipes).
Cranberry Chicken Salad Sandwiches
This cranberry chicken salad sandwich with cranberries, pecans, grapes, onions, and celery is a delicious way to use up leftover chicken.
What’s great about this quick meal idea is that you can use whatever ingredients you already have on hand. If you don’t have pecans, substitute them with any other nuts you have available… no grapes in the fridge, use apple chunks.
Have young children who aren’t fond of mayo? No problem, you can use Greek yogurt instead and they’ll love it!
These yummy sandwiches are also a great meal idea after Thanksgiving using leftover turkey so you can take a break from cooking for a day.
Chicken Caesar Salad
If you’re looking for healthy meal options, then you might want to make it a point to have pre-cooked chicken on hand to make this chicken Caesar salad which definitely fits the bill.
Whether you’re looking for a light meal or watching your weight, this salad is perfect for a quick dinner or lunch idea. All you need to do is chop up some lettuce, tomatoes, and any other veggies you like.
Then add some sliced boiled eggs, croutons, and crumbled bacon (another good reason to batch cook and freeze bacon) and you’ve got a healthy and quick meal idea.
Chicken Stir Fry
I love making chicken stir fry when I have leftover chicken because it’s an opportunity for me to use any leftover vegetables and rice that I might have in the fridge avoiding food waste.
Of course, if you don’t have any leftovers besides chicken, you can simply use a bag of frozen mixed veggies that you can steam in just a few minutes in the microwave and some minute rice and still get this chicken meal idea on the table in less than 15 minutes.
Hot Chicken Sandwiches
Hot chicken sandwiches and mashed potatoes with gravy were a regular meal in our home when growing up and for good reason. It’s a really cheap meal idea that utilizes pantry staples that almost everybody has on hand and it’s really simple and quick to make.
Well, at least the hot chicken sandwich is, mashed potatoes, not so much unless you have pre-cooked mashed potatoes in your freezer as I do (yeah, simplifying dinner is kind of my jam).
But if not you can easily substitute them with instant potatoes or some “baked” potatoes that you steam in the microwave.
These chicken quesadillas are yet another awesome meal idea that you can easily make in less than 15 minutes with ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry and refrigerator.
All you need is some flour tortillas, pre-cooked or leftover chicken, shredded and cream cheese, and you can even add some extras like corn, tomatoes, peppers or any other ingredient you want.
These chicken quesadillas are also a great make ahead freezer meal idea. I acutally make a big batch when I have the time and freeze them in portions to bring to work or pack in my kid’s lunch boxes.
Raspberry Chicken Salad
If you are looking for an easy meal to serve for lunch on a hot summer’s day so you don’t have to turn on your oven, then this easy raspberry chicken salad fits the bill.
What’s great about this chicken recipe is that it’s elegant enough to serve to guests for a luncheon or to a group of youngsters who will gobble it up since it has yummy fruit.
Leftover Chicken Recipe Meal Ideas Conclusion
As you can see, there are many quick meal ideas you can make with pre-cooked or leftover chicken that you can make in less than 15 minutes.
These recipes are perfect for when you are crunched for time but still want to get a healthy meal on the table fast. Give a few of these meal ideas a try the next time you have some leftover chicken sitting in your fridge.
And if you like the idea of getting food on the table quick, you might want to try your hand at freezer cooking which saves me tons of time making dinner during the week. You can grab my FREE freezer cooking quick start guide below to get started.
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