6 Recipes That Use Up Leftover Chicken, Beef, and Other Meats

Leftovers can be a drag, but not when you repurpose them into dishes that taste even better than the original meals. Leftover meat is especially handy because you can add it to salads, soups, and stews. If you’re sick of your go-tos, it’s time to shake things up with a new batch of recipes. Trust us, no one will suspect they’re eating leftovers when you turn out these tasty meals.

1. Chicken Enchiladas

verde enchilada with coffee and salsa

Chicken enchiladas are a fantastic way to use up leftovers| iStock.com/Tyler_ONeill

These chicken enchiladas from Allrecipes.com turn your leftovers into your favorite Mexican meal by enlisting the cooked chicken and combining it with cheese, sour cream, and some canned soup.Give this recipe a try and you’ll never hate your leftovers again.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1½ cups cubed cooked chicken breast meat
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 (12-inch) flour tortillas
  • ¼ cup milk

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a large baking dish.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then cook the green onion until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic powder, then stir in the green chiles, cream of mushroom soup, and sour cream. Mix well. Reserve three-quarters of this sauce and set aside. To the remaining ¼ of the sauce in the saucepan, add the chicken and ½ cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Stir together.

Fill each flour tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the reserved ¾ of the sauce with the milk. Spoon this mixture over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining ½ cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

2. Shepherd’s Pie with Leftover Beef Roast and Mashed Potatoes

Shepherd's pie

Shepherd’s pie | iStock.com

If you have leftover beef and potatoes from a Sunday supper, make a shepherd’s pie for the weekday nights ahead. This shepherd’s pie recipe from Food Network‘s Paula Deen yields 8 servings, meaning it can feed you and your family for days. Who knew Sunday night’s dinner could taste so good the second time around?

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1½ pounds leftover pot roast, cubed
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 8 to 10 medium red new potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups instant biscuit mix
  • 1½ cups canned or frozen corn kernels or mixed vegetables, prepared according to package directions

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons butter. Add pot roast and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Add potatoes to a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain potatoes and transfer to a mixing bowl. Whip potatoes with an electric mixer, mixing until moderately smooth. Don’t over beat them; a few lumps are nice. Add ½ cup heated milk, 8 tablespoons butter, and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Whip again until mixed. Adjust thickness by adding more milk, if desired.

Combine biscuit mix and 1½ cups of milk. The mix should be thinner than that of normal biscuit mix but not runny.

Spray a 9-by-9-by 2-inch pan or other baking dish with cooking spray. Layer mashed potatoes halfway up the sides of the dish. Next, spread a layer of corn or mixed vegetables on top of the potatoes. Then add the layer of pot roast and onions with gravy. Pour the biscuit mix over the meat. Melt remaining butter and drizzle over top. Bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

3. Chicken and Rice Casserole

Chicken and rice casserole

Chicken and rice casserole | iStock.com

Paula Deen makes another appearance with her chicken and rice casserole, which relies on both the leftover poultry and grains. Combine them in a casserole dish with onions, green beans, butter, cheddar cheese, and cream of celery soup. This meal is comfort food that can be ready in no time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10.74-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar pimentos
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (6-ounce) box long-grain wild rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 pinch salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat butter or oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients to bowl and mix together until thoroughly combined.

Pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

4. Leftover Steak Salad

Close-up of a juicy steak served with an arugula and tomato salad

Steak salad | iStock.com

Make your dinner into lunch the next day with this steak salad from Food.com. Your lunch will be ready in 25 minutes or less, and it’s both healthy and satisfying. The homemade dressing is super easy, too. This will become a regular.

Ingredients:

Steak

  • 8 ounces leftover skirt steak, sliced
  • 6 cups salad greens
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 potatoes, cooked and cut into cubes
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 sour gherkins, chopped
  • ½ English cucumber, peeled, halved, and sliced
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Dressing

  • ¾ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions: Reheat the leftover steaks in aluminum foil in oven. Meanwhile, place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and mix well until creamy. Pour about half of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Arrange salad in plates and top with warmed steak.

5. Classic Turkey Pot Pie

Turkey pot pie

Turkey pot pie | iStock.com

This turkey pot pie from Betty Crocker will definitely get you more interested in leftovers. This recipe even teaches you how to make your own crust. The filling is made with onions, cooked turkey, mixed vegetables, milk, and broth, which makes for a satisfying combination. This recipe serves 6.

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

Filling

  • ⅓ cup butter or margarine
  • ⅓ cup chopped onion
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1¾ cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2½ cups shredded cooked turkey
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine flour and salt in large bowl; cut in shortening with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumb. Mix in enough cold water with fork until flour is moistened. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a ball; flatten slightly. Wrap 1 ball in plastic food wrap; refrigerate.

Roll out remaining ball of dough on lightly floured surface into 11-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into ungreased 9-inch pie plate; unfold dough, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim crust to ½ inch from edge of pan; set aside.

In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk, cooking and stirring until bubbly and thickened. Stir in chicken and mixed vegetables. Remove from heat. Spoon into crust-lined pie plate.

Roll out refrigerated ball of dough on lightly floured surface into 11-inch circle. Gently fold dough into quarters. Place dough over filling; unfold. Trim, seal and crimp or flute edges.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. During last 15 to 20 minutes of baking, cover edge of crust with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

6. The Quintessential Chicken Salad

Chicken salad sandwich

Chicken salad sandwich | iStock.com

Lastly, you can always use leftover chicken to make the classic chicken salad everyone knows and loves. This formula from MyRecipes even subs in Greek yogurt to cut back on the mayonnaise. Enjoy it on its own, on a sandwich, or over a bed of greens. You’ll love the is healthy take on chicken salad.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup halved red seedless grapes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup roughly chopped almonds, toasted

Directions: Whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard and lemon juice in a large bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients until well blended. Serve with crunchy, buttery crackers or on whole grain bread with lettuce and tomato.

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