The other night, I made a whole chicken in the InstantPot for dinner. Seriously, this is my absolute new favorite kitchen appliance. It's fix it and forget it, but it doesn't take crockpot long to cook!
The chicken cooked in about 45 minutes, and was perfectly done. I sautéed it a little on the bottom first to get the crispy skin, then sealed it and made my sides. We also ended up with quite a bit of leftovers, so I knew it would be perfect for a leftovers to lunches post, especially in a variety of meals.
So, what are we doing with the leftover chicken? We came up with three great lunches ideas, plus a kettle of chicken soup with the remaining bits of chicken. (Hey, it's rainy in the PNW, soup is necessary!)
In the first bento, I paired the leftover chicken with some leftover pasta. I knew we weren't going to finish a pot of pasta in advance, so we didn't mix in the sauce to make the leftovers more versatile.
I chopped a few pieces of the chicken into small chunks, and mixed it into some pasta. I mixed in chunks of mozzarella cheese, a few cherry tomatoes, banana pepper rings, and some seasoning, then tossed it with a few teaspoons of Italian salad dressing to make the pasta salad. You could easily swap in other veggies too--I thought black olives would look great, but we don't have any right now. To finish out the lunch, I added a sliced boiled eggs and some grapes.
In the second lunch, I made a kid favorite--chicken salad with crackers. I chopped some of the leftover chicken extra fine, using a mini-chopper. I mixed that with mayonnaise to make the chicken salad (no one in my house likes other "stuff" in their chicken salad). I put that in a large silicone cup and placed some crackers and some cheese triangles in the main compartment. To finish that lunch, I added sliced peaches and some granola-almond-cranberry bites.
In the third lunch, I went with a more traditional chicken sandwich. I love using sliced roast chicken on sandwiches. For this one, I used honey-wheat bread, old cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise. We don't like to add lettuce to sandwiches until closer to serving because it does make the sandwiches soggy. For sides, I added carrots, celery, and garlic hummus dip.
All lunches are packed in EasyLunchboxes. This way, they store nicely in the refrigerator and stack on top of each other.
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