Leftovers into Lunches

Lunch is one of the hardest meals for me as a parent. Being in the middle of the day I don’t want to stop everything to cook a brand new meal (not to mention the dishes involved!) and I never want to spend a lot of money, no matter which meal it is. Here come left-overs to the rescue! Here are five of my favorite lunch time recipes that use last night dinner’s left overs!

Southwest Chicken Salad

Ingredients (feeds 4)

  • 1 cup Shredded chicken (seasoned with taco spices)
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (we prefer the fiesta blend)
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatos
  • 1 sliced avocado (optional)
  • Mild Salsa (optional)
  • Crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Mix all ingredients and serve! This is my family’s absolute favorite leftover lunch, and it’s a SALAD to boot!  It is my own favorite because it doesn’t require any cooking. I use the shredded chicken from chicken tacos or the left over pulled pork barbecue for a different flavor.

Mac and Cheese Bites

Ingredients: (feeds 3-6)

  • 1-2 cup(s) of leftover mac and cheese
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli
  • 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers

Fill a lightly greased muffin tin with leftover macaroni and cheese, top with broccoli and Ritz crackers. Bake at 350 until cheese is bubbling hot and broccoli cooked through. Serve warm.  My husband makes his own bites with tabasco sauce and sausage leftover from breakfast. The great thing about the muffin tins is that each diner can personalize their flavor!

Egg Salad Sandwiches

Ingredients: (feeds 4)

  • 4 hardboiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • salt & pepper

Peel the eggs, and mash them up with the mayo, mustard and seasonings. I keep my recipe very plain but I sometimes add in relish, diced onions or celery. Every time I make scrambled eggs for breakfast I also hard boil a few eggs for future lunches. Hard boiled eggs stay good for a few days in the fridge, so even if I don’t feel like having eggs twice in one day, I have made lunch for the future.

Breaded Chicken Rice Casserole

Ingredients: (feeds 4-6)

  • 1/2 lb breaded baked chicken
  • 1 bag instant rice
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 bag of frozen veggies (I use a seasonal mix)

Cook rice and pour into casserole dish. Add in chopped chicken, cream of chicken soup and frozen veggies. Optional: top with cheese and/or bread crumbs. Bake at 350 until frozen veggies are cooked through. This works with any kind of cooked chicken- but my family seems to prefer it when it’s breaded.


Healthy Smoothies

Ingredients: (feeds 2)

  • various fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries etc.)
  • vanilla yogurt
  • A leafy green vegetable (spinach or kale)
  • several cubes of ice

These aren’t technically dinner leftovers but it is inevitable that I have a just too-brown banana hanging around  and it needs to be eaten before it starts to attract insects.  Throw all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. By adding in the greens it takes this smoothie from snack to meal. It’s a great way to sneak vegetables into a picky eater’s diet too.






Tracy Fisher

Tracy Fisher is Growing Up in the Valley's head designer. She has been a part of the publication since March 2012. She is the proud mother of Charlotte, 6. She also eats too much chocolate.
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