Chicken Bowl

Quick meals assembled from leftovers are the best type of lunch when I have less than 10-15 minutes to put together a meal. I had some leftover baked chicken nuggets and quinoa from the earlier meal. Put them together with some lettuce and salad dressing - and I have a quick meal ready in under 15 minutes. There is no recipe here, just some ideas to assemble a meal from leftovers that do not seem like eating the same things over and over again. The trick is to change the accompaniments and add some fresh produce to make it feel new.

Chimichurri Chicken Sandwich

One of my favorite ways to use the cooked chicken from earlier in the week is to make a quick chicken sandwich. Most deli chicken sandwiches are way too bland for my palette. I do like my food seasoned. Chimichurri chicken is already flavored and seasoned substantially and does not need additional condiments to complete the meal. The sandwich comes together quickly while the chicken is heating in the oven.

Chimichurri Chicken

Version 2 of air-fried chicken for the week. Using a storebought sauce as marinade helps cut down on prep time and wastage. Since the sauce has everything mixed in, there is very little prep time for this dish. I make a larger batch to use for the rest of the week in a sandwich or pasta. Chimichurri chicken tastes delicious as it is with a side of rice. 

Chickpea Sandwich

Chickpea sandwiches are a vegetarian/vegan version of egg salad, chicken salad, or tuna salad sandwiches. I am not a vegetarian or vegan, but I mooched this sandwich off someone’s plate at a cafe. It was surprisingly hearty and delicious without the meat. In fact, even carnivores enjoy this sandwich without being under duress. With some assistance, I recreated this at home. If you have leftover chickpeas from a salad or take-out, by all means, use them. There is some benefit of using chickpeas that are seasoned.  Definitely use a good sourdough or ciabatta bread for the sandwich.

Chili Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese and chili are a perfect combination of two of my favorite comfort foods. Anytime I make chili, I make sure there are plenty of leftovers. Day-old chili tastes better and forms a base for several semi-home-made meals. This recipe requires a cup or two of leftover chili and under 30 minutes of cooking time for a delicious one-pot meal. Anytime you can't decide between the two, a mashup is your answer. Add some salad greens as a side and enjoy.

Breakfast Bowl

Breakfast bowls are an easy way to customize the first meal of the day to everyone’s taste. You do not need a recipe for this at all. Use leftover rice, vegetables, salad greens and add an egg (fried, scrambled, omelet, egg whites, sunny side up) or no egg for a balanced and complete breakfast. Use whatever leftover vegetables are in the refrigerator to flavor the rice (or any other grain like quinoa,  millets, or faro). It does not have to be one-size-fits-all. Grilled vegetables from takeout are a great addition to any bowl meal.

Pita Pocket

Leftover chicken is a big help when I am trying to cobble together a quick lunch or snack. I stash away the leftovers to make sandwiches or wraps in a hurry. I used pita pockets here, but any bread works. This is a quickly put-together meal with an assortment of ingredients. My favorite is definitely ketchup, hummus, and sour cream topped with onions and cucumbers. The measurements are just guidelines, feel free to change the ingredients and condiments with whatever is in the refrigerator. Leftover grilled vegetables or tofu provide a vegetarian option as well.


Mexican food has quickly become one of my favorite cuisines, and my go-to place for a quick meal is always chipotle or Qdoba. Even as their tacos are very good, homemade tacos are just as satisfying and are surprisingly simple to make if you have the right ingredients. I like making my tacos with chicken or beef, but this recipe is super customizable and you can make yours with any of your favorite meats or vegetables.