What to CookChicken

8 Lunches to Make With Leftover Roast Chicken

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As a defiant response to Sad Desk Lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too.

Today: Roast chicken is an end unto itself -- but it's also a means to your next lunch.

Roast chicken is an end unto itself. In fact, it is many: a nourishing dinner, that crispy skin, and the smell that permeates your house, for starters. Roasting chicken causes marriage proposals and genius breakthroughs.

But it can also be a means -- to homemade stock, to pan sauce, and, perhaps most heroically, to a host of pack-ahead lunches. Here are eight ideas to get you going, but we have a feeling you'll think of more. Yet another reason to pop a chicken in the oven.

1. Bulk up a green salad up with the help of some chicken and roasted fingerling potatoes. Unless you're using a sturdier green, like kale, pack the chicken separately and assemble just before eating.

2. Shred the meat into tacos -- or bring rice and beans separately to burrito-fy your lunch.

3. Make a batch of jambalaya, adding the chicken a few minutes before you finish cooking.

4. Arrange the meat on a sandwich with whatever vegetables, cheeses, and condiments make your heart pitter-patter -- from pesto to romesco to aioli.

5. Make a chicken salad by combining torn-apart chicken with your pick of mayonnaise, herbs, and crisp vegetables. Need inspiration? Try this one. Spread the chicken salad between two pieces of bread or eat with a salad.

6. Soups let the meat and carcass do double-duty: start with a big pot of stock, then turn it into a soup, any soup, or ditch the recipes altogether and try your hand at chicken noodle.

7. With curry paste and coconut milk, you're minutes away from curry. Just don't forget the rice (and pack it separately to keep it from getting mushy).

More: Step up your rice-cooking game.

8. Broaden your horizons from chicken-centric dishes to chicken complements. We're talking grain salads (such as this one). Your best bet is one that has plenty of flavor on its own but longs to find its other half -- in the form of good, chicken-y protein.

Tell us: What are your favorite ways to repurpose roast chicken?

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Leftovers, Lunch, Back to School, Not Sad Desk Lunch