Our Editor in Chief, Faith, has always said Jamie Oliver's chicken in milk is probably the best chicken recipe of all time. Public opinion may be divided, but I am right there in Camp Jamie's Chicken with her. Never have I been actually excited about making chicken for dinner, but this is pure magic — the juiciest, most tender meat with that sauce (oh, that sauce!). We tend to make it every Sunday — especially in the colder months. The house smells amazing while it's cooking, and I can hardly wait to sit down and eat.
Making Next-Day Dinners Something to Dream About
But there are only two of us, so you know what that means: leftovers. And as much as I love a sit-down chicken dinner on a Sunday evening, I can't get that excited about reheating the same thing on a weeknight. (I learned the hard way that you do not want to make Instant Pot broth with this carcass. I didn't think we'd ever get the smell out of the thing.) Since then, I've been on the prowl for some ways to use the leftover chicken that are almost as fun as the main event. Here's your one-word solution: carbs.
Look, there are a million recipes for salads with chicken. That's fine, but I want a dinner I can look forward to on a Monday night, and salad's not going to cut it. But a creamy risotto? Or ravioli? Or lasagna? Now we're talking. I'm not going for health awards here. It's Monday and the middle of winter — please comfort me with butter.
Rummaging around online for inspiration before bed on Sunday night I idly scrolled past a risotto dish. Then it hit me: What if I used that amazing sauce instead of chicken broth? I couldn't wait for dinner the next night, and because it had been a minute since I'd made risotto I pulled up this recipe and started working out how to do it my way.
Get the recipe: Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk
Leftovers Turn Risotto into a Magical Monday Night Meal
I more or less followed the format, warming up the leftover sauce first (with a little water added to get it to six cups), and skipping straight to toasting the arborio rice. I figure there's plenty of garlic in the sauce and I didn't have an onion on hand. I deglazed with my trusty box wine and then added the warm sauce a ladleful at a time just like you would with broth. Meanwhile I threw the leftover chicken in the oven to reheat. That's it!
The verdict? It won't win any presentation awards — I mean, it's chicken on rice — but it was a decadent and satisfying Monday night dinner, with just enough brightness from the lemon zest in the sauce to steer clear of too-heavy territory. I'm pretty pleased with my sauce hack if I say so myself.
Add a Grocery Store Shortcut
Since that was a success, my mind turned to other pasta options and I plotted to use the package of Trader Joe's Arugula & Parmigiano Reggiano Ravioli languishing in my fridge. This was dead simple and super quick: While the ravioli heated in boiling water, I warmed up the sauce and the chicken, which we'd shredded. Presto! Ladle the sauce (curds and all) over the ravioli, top with chicken and a handful of fresh arugula, and dinner's on the table.
Lasagna and Tacos Will Never Let You Down
But the hands-down favorite for both myself and my husband was the chicken-in-milk take on creamy chicken Alfredo lasagna roll-ups. Alfredo doesn't work its way into our rotation very often (ever, really) so this was veering into total experiment territory. But figuring there wasn't much to lose I just swapped out the leftover sauce for the butter in the recipe (with another spoon or two for good measure because I had a whole jar full of leftovers) and skipped the lemon because the sauce is essentially pre-lemoned.
I tasted a quick spoon while it was on the stove and had to wonder why on earth I don't have Alfredo more often. Despite a mishap with the noodles (don't ask) that caused a bit of delay, this was my favorite Monday night leftovers dinner since the time I had a big bowl of fried potatoes and some Shack sauce left from burger night.
We still tend to have chicken left even after two dinners, so I've also latched onto an easy lunchtime routine to use up the last shreds. It's basically tortilla + some kind of cheese + chicken, heated up in a skillet and consumed at the counter with sides of pico and/or avocado and/or sour cream and/or greens.
I've yet to ever finish up all the sauce leftovers (although I've been wondering about making a gravy for chicken and biscuits!).
What else have you found to do with the leftover chicken and sauce?