Medically reviewed by Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
Want recipes for using leftover chicken and other cook once, eat twice ingredients? Get healthy leftover chicken recipes and learn how to save time in the kitchen!
How to save time in the kitchen? The answer: Cook once, eat twice! Yup, cut down prep time by using meals with leftovers, like these 2 for 1 meals!
Love meal-prep shortcuts? So do I! Add these time-saving recipes to your weeknight rotation.
When it comes to time wasters in the kitchen, not using leftovers efficiently is a big one. So you have one important task: Use these easy chicken, meat, and vegetarian recipe ideas to save a hefty amount of time in the kitchen. You can make a lot of easy dinners with leftover cooked chicken!
Thanks to the folks at the CanolaInfo for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions, as always, are my own.
I don’t know about you, but I love time-saving kitchen tips any time of year—especially recipes that allow me to repurpose ingredients I already have on hand.
Whether you have kids just back in school and are scrambling to get a healthy, hearty meal on the dinner table or you’re just plain busy (isn’t that all of us?!), the recipe ideas I’m about to share will rock your culinary world. You'll especially love these leftover vegetable recipes and meals with leftover chicken!
Want to save time in the kitchen? Before I get to those recipes and tips for cutting meal prep time, let me share a bit about the star ingredient, canola oil.
Is Canola Oil Healthy?
Is canola oil good for you? Yup! I like to keep my kitchen stocked with canola oil because it’s so versatile: It can be used in so many different types of dishes (more on that in just a sec!) and with a variety of cooking methods—including grilling, roasting, and sautéing.
This is all due to the oil’s high smoke point, 468° F. In case you didn’t know, a smoke point is the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke—also indicating that its nutrients are starting break down, which may cause a off flavor.
A high-heat oil can be used for no-heat cooking (i.e., salad dressing), low- or medium-heat preparations (i.e., sautéing), as well as high-heat preparation methods (i.e., searing)—all without compromising nutrition or taste. The best part? Canola oil has a neutral flavor, allowing the flavors of other ingredients you’re cooking with to really shine through.
As for the health benefits of cooking with canola oil, here’s a biggie: It’s low in saturated fat; in fact, it has the smallest amount of any common cooking oil. It also has the biggest offering of plant-based omega-3s!
Now, onto those recipes I promised! Why not whip up a recipe tonight and make extra, using leftovers in a dish tomorrow? You won’t spend much extra time tonight cooking those additional portions, and you will save time tomorrow.
If you’re a reader of my blog, you likely know that I’m a longtime vegetarian. So I’m going to tell you about some awesome recipes featuring leftovers (including healthy leftover chicken recipes)—plus ideas for making them vegetarian (or flexitarian!) friendly.
Cooking with Leftover Chicken
Cook Once: Mint-Parsley Lemon Chicken
This healthy recipe features boneless, skinless chicken breasts and is marinated with a mixture of canola oil, lemon zest and juice, oregano, and garlic. It’s then grilled in canola oil and served over a mouth-watering mint mixture.
Yum! Consider pairing it with veggie side, such as a Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Chile Vinaigrette.
Make it vegetarian: Substitute extra-firm tofu for the chicken breast. You may need to alter the cooking time slightly—just make sure to get those grill marks on each side! Prior to grilling, slice and press the tofu with paper towels to remove as much water as possible.
More Chicken Recipes
Eat Twice: Chicken and Feta Grain Bowls
How to save time cooking? You can make this meal using leftover chicken breast from the Mint-Parsley Lemon Chicken Recipe. Simply combine the reserved chicken (or tofu, if you chose the vegetarian option) with brown rice, grape tomatoes, almonds, and feta.
Speed up prep time even more by using quick-cook microwave brown rice. I recommend serving it alongside a green salad, such as a Caramelized Corn and Red Pepper Salad with Chives.
More ideas for cooking with leftover chicken:
- Chicken casserole
- Chicken pot pie
- Creamy chicken soup
- Grilled chicken tacos
- Chicken enchilada
- Rotisserie chicken stew
Cooking with Leftover Pork
I love the flavor that grilling adds to any dish, and this one features pork chops and petite bell peppers, using canola oil for the grilling. The sauce of honey, Sriracha, ginger root, and cider vinegar is mouth watering!
Don’t have a grill? You can always use a stovetop grill pan. Pair the recipe with a whole grain, such as brown rice, farro, or quinoa.
Make it vegetarian: Yes, you can grill tempeh! Swap the grain-based meat substitute for the pork chops, steaming it for about 10 minutes, and then cooling it, prior to grilling. The tempeh should be ready in about the same cooking time as you need for the pork chops, although you may find that you prefer adding an extra minute or two to the grill time.
More Pork Recipes
Eat Twice: Pork Long Leaf Lettuce Wraps
I love how veggie-ful this recipe is! You save time in the kitchen by topping lettuce leaves with reserved pork (or tempeh, if you chose to go vegetarian), peppers, and fresh ginger hot sauce from the Pork & Petite Peppers with Fresh Ginger Hot Sauce recipe.
Add coleslaw, pineapple, and cilantro, and this is one delish dish. Indeed, this is one of those really good recipes with leftovers.
Cooking with Vegetarian Leftovers
Want some more ideas for cooking once and eating twice? Here are a couple of vegetarian-friendly ideas that I love:
Cook once: Sauté chickpeas or white beans with canola oil and seasoning of your choice (I love garlic and red pepper flakes). Serve atop a corn tortilla with grilled bell peppers and onions, and top with shredded lettuce. Reserve some of the bean mixture.
Eat twice: Use the reserved bean mixture as a topping for flatbread pizza, along with shredded cheese, tomato slices, and fresh herbs (try some fresh oregano!). Serve alongside a veggie side, such as Grilled Seasonal Vegetables with Nicoise “Aioli.”
Cook once: Marinate seitan chunks in a mixture of canola oil, low-sodium soy sauce, garlic, and seasoning of your choice. Grill, then add to a bowl atop cooked quinoa and roasted broccoli. Reserve some of the seitan and broccoli.
Eat twice: Add reserved grilled seitan and broccoli to a bed of mixed greens, adding avocado slices and additional veggies of choice. Serve with a grain, such as cooked brown rice or sorghum.
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Share your thoughts! What are your go-to cook once, eat twice recipes? What are your top tips on saving time in the kitchen?
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