Welcome to the next installment of functional meal prep, where we tell you how to actually cook for an entire week by cooking one big thing (things like a big pot of farro) first. Today: roasted chicken.
This easy recipe features fall produce gems (like carrots and turnips), however you can use whatever vegetables you like, or leave them out altogether. And for anyone intimidated by tackling the whole bird... don't be. Roasting your whole thing is actually one of the simplest, most hands off ways to prepare chicken. So while you're at it, honestly, you should just go ahead make two chickens—it's no harder than buying and prepping another bird. And that will guarantee you plenty of succulent protein to work with in the coming days.
Once you have your chicken(s) roasted and have enjoyed some warm from the oven, use the rest throughout the week in these six dishes. As they say, bird's the word.
Tostadas: Layer shredded chicken, salsa, pepper Jack cheese, refried beans, and cubed avocado on crispy, oven-baked corn tortillas. Boom: Dinner is served, too easy.
Enchiladas: Sticking with tortillas (but flour, this time), store-bought enchilada sauce and, of course, leftover chicken help this simple, cheesy dish come together in less than an hour. Trust us, the most difficult part about these enchiladas is waiting for them to bake.
Thai Chicken Soup: For something a bit beyond your typical chicken noodle, add shredded chicken to this herby, lemongrass-infused broth. You can serve this with spicy, sesame-studded wontons, if you like (we think you would).
Pasta: Cube and rewarm chicken, then toss with whatever seasonal vegetables (cooked or uncooked), chopped fresh herbs, a glug of olive oil, and whatever cooked pasta noodles (tortellini works, too) you like and top with grated Parmesan cheese. This recipe does a beautiful job of it with cherry tomatoes and snap peas.
Chicken and Fontina Panini: Layer pesto, chicken, tomato slices, and fontina on ciabatta bread and cook in a panini press (or in a cast iron skillet, using something heavy to weigh the sandwich down) until gooey on the inside and toasty on the outside.
Greek-Style Chicken Salad: This is an especially great option to pack for lunch. Chop chicken and toss with a lemony Greek yogurt-based dressing. Serve on top of a cucumber-tomato salad with lots fresh of parsley and pita chips. Seriously, the pita chips aren't optional.
What are your favorite ways with leftover chicken? Tell us in the comments below.