Nacho night is one of my favorite ways to use up leftovers. It’s a ten minute way to reinvent last nights supper and these Leftover Smoked Chicken Nachos with Mango Salsa are huge hit every single time.
Leftovers are a thing in my house. And reinventing them has become a favorite pastime of mine. I love smoking a chicken on Sundays to pick at all week for easy meals. Plus, it’s an excuse to smoke a chicken, in addition to whatever else it is I am already grilling. Maybe even two if I’m feeling feisty. And this leftover chicken recipe never disappoints. Cuz, Nachos. Amiright?
How to use leftover chicken?
One of my favorite questions I get over and over again is how to use up leftovers. After all, I am one girl, and there is a LOT of meat on the grill. So, when I am not shoving food at friends and family, I am reinventing my main dishes into other weeknight hits.
Having traveled the world and worked in places with major food scarcity, nothing gets wasted in my house. At least, I do as best as I can to not waste a thing. I am pretty passionate about making sure everything is utilized, and thankful for all that I have. OK, off my pulpit now. (But really, thank a farmer today)
Here are some of my favorite ways to use up leftovers (and bonus, these are all QUICK recipes too!)
10 Ways to Use Leftover Chicken
- Quick and easy weeknight chimichangas
- Cheesy campfire grilled paninis
- Chicken quesadillas
- pizza toppings – no really this bbq pizza is a total hit every single time. Just switch the pork for chicken.
- Power bowls (cuz everyones on the keto health kick and extra veggies just make us feel good.
- Chilaquiles – I mean, these are pretty much nachos for breakfast.
- Chicken and Broccoli Stromboli
- Mac and Cheese filler. Works every single time.
- Creamy Pumpkin Alfredo with Chicken – um yes, please.
- Enchiladas. And, life lesson, anyone who doesn’t enjoy your leftover enchiladas doesn’t need to be your friend.
How Long is it Safe to Eat Leftover Chicken
I have a 5 day rule in my house. If it hasn’t been eaten after day 4 on the 5th day it’s trash. This rule only goes only for things that have been cooked and stored properly in the refrigerator.
Also, call me old school, but I am not above a smell test. No matter how short of a time it’s been – I am a firm believer in our basic sense of smell. If it isn’t right to your nose, chances are, it isn’t right for your body.
How to Reheat Chicken Leftovers
If your leftover chicken is thaw, it is incredibly easy to reheat in a skillet over medium heat. I add a bit of fat, oil or butter to the pan, and will toss chopped leftover chicken in. I will also reheat in an oven on 350, covered with a bit of liquid if it is a larger cut, like a full breast or quarter.
Another great way to reheat chicken is in the microwave in short bursts, until heated through.
How to Freeze Leftover Chicken
To freeze leftover chicken, I will remove it from the carcass and store in air tight containers, dated and labeled for up to 2 months.
I also store the bones in another container, separate from the meat, so that I can make quick stocks for soup season.
Want more Leftover Loving inspiration? Try some of my favorite recipes
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Leftover Chicken Nachos
For the Leftover Chicken Nachos
- 13 oz bag tortilla chips
- 2 cups leftover chicken chopped
- ½ cup beans rinsed and drained
- 8 oz cheese shredded (Cheddar and pepper jack are my favorite)
- Jalapeno drained
- ¼ cup cherry tomatoes sliced
- fresh cilantro
- 1 avocado halved and sliced
- 1 lime sliced into wedges
For the Mango Salsa
- 1 mango skin removed, and cut into cubes
- ¼ red onion diced
- ½ red pepper seeded and diced
- ½ lime
For the Spicy Crema
- 1 tablespoon Red Duck Actually Spicy Taco Sauce
- ½ lime
- ½ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
Assemble the Nachos
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
- In a 10 or 12″ skillet, arrange a thin layer of nachos.
- Place a layer of chicken, cheese and beans on top.
- Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese has melted
- Carefully remove from oven and repeat as many layers as you can.
- When out of chips, chicken and beans, allow to cool and sprinkle with mango salsa, diced tomatoes, cilantro, avocado and crema to serve.
Make the Mango Salsa
- In a bowl, combine the sliced mango with the red onion, red pepper, and the juice from the lime.
- Mix to combine.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours before using.
Make the Spicy Crema
- Whisk the Red Duck Actually Spicy Taco Sauce with the juice of ½ lime and the Mexican Crema in a small bowl until smooth.
- Spoon atop the nachos.