Cook A Meal And Turn It Into 4 Dishes
How to transform leftovers into multiple meals.
We’re spending 10 percent more on our groceries than we did last year thanks to supply-chain issues, labor costs and disrupted harvests. So, we asked Sonali Ruder, a classically trained chef and board-certified ER doctor in Delray Beach, Florida, how to turn one meal’s leftovers into different dishes in order to stretch our budget further without eating the same thing every day. Bonus: You probably have most of the ingredients in your freezer or pantry.
Here is Ruder’s easy way to go from a first meal of slow cooker chicken sandwiches to a second meal of chicken quesadillas to a third of chicken stuffed sweet potatoes to a fourth of chicken nachos. The meals should yield four servings.
Day 1: Slow cooker pulled chicken sandwiches
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
½ cup tomato paste
½ cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 tablespoons molasses
4 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons chili powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 whole wheat hamburger buns
Place everything except the chicken in the bowl of a slow cooker. Add the chicken and turn to coat the pieces with the sauce. Cover and cook on high heat for 3–4 hours or low heat for 6–7 hours. Remove the chicken and shred the meat. Stir in enough sauce to coat the meat. Serve the pulled chicken on the buns and top with anything from coleslaw to pickles.
Day 2: Pulled chicken quesadillas
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large yellow bell pepper
½ medium red onion
4 whole wheat wraps
1 cup reduced fat Mexican-blend shredded cheese
1 medium avocado
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
⅛ tsp kosher salt
Heat the oil in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium high heat, and add the peppers and onions. Season the veggies with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until crisp tender, 3–4 minutes. Place a wrap on a cutting board, sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over half the wrap, and spread ⅓ cup of leftover pulled chicken over the cheese. Top with a quarter portion of the sauteed peppers and onions, and then another 2 tablespoons cheese. Fold the wrap. Spray the skillet with olive oil cooking spray and cook until golden brown. Serve with avocado cream (mash the avocado, yogurt, lime juice, cilantro and salt).
Day 3: Pulled chicken stuffed sweet potatoes
4 medium sweet potatoes
½ cup crispy fried onions
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pierce sweet potatoes with a knife and place them on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until soft. While baking, heat up leftover pulled chicken. Cut a slit lengthwise down the sweet potatoes, mash the flesh with a fork, and spoon the chicken on top. Crush the fried onions and sprinkle them on top of the chicken. Garnish with sliced scallions.
Preheat oven to 400F. Pierce sweet potatoes with a knife, and place them on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until soft. While baking, heat up leftover pulled chicken. Cut a slit lengthwise down the sweet potatoes, mash the flesh with a fork, and spoon the chicken on top. Crush the fried onions and sprinkle them on top of the chicken. Garnish with sliced scallions.
Day 4: Asian pulled chicken nachos
1 (8-ounce) bag tortilla chips
3 ounces shredded Monterey Jack
1 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper
¼ cup Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 English cucumber, sliced
To make the pickled cucumbers, mix the vinegar and honey in a shallow bowl. Add the cucumber slices and let sit for 10–15 minutes. To assemble the nachos, spread the tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Top with cheese and leftover pulled chicken. Turn the broiler on and place the tray under the broiler for 1–2 minutes until the cheese is melted. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and top the nachos with the pickled cucumbers and diced bell pepper. Drizzle the Hoisin sauce on top. Top with optional garnishes like sesame seeds, scallions and cilantro.