Don’t you just hate having to throw good food away because you don’t know how to make use of the leftovers? My oldest has started having a go at me for throwing food away while elsewhere in the world people are starving. So I decided to step up and be more responsible. That led to me coming up with this list of great meals to make with leftover chili!
Meals to Make with Leftover Chili
Since I found my favorite classic chili recipe, I love to not only eat it but to make it too. And it’s such a versatile part of a meal plan. I mean, sure you can have it with good old-fashioned short white rice if that’s what you like, but to add a little more variety with your meals, there’s nothing quite like changing it up a bit. You can even do what us Midwesterners do and serve it with a cinnamon roll on the side for a bit of sweet and spicy together!
And the best thing about it is that you can concentrate on making a big batch on the weekend, and then storing it in the freezer until you’re ready to pull it out and reheat it in a newly imagined version.
So today I’m going to share with you my favorite homemade chili recipe, and I’m also going to introduce you to some great ways of using the leftovers again in new incarnations.
And if you decide to give this big batch of chili cooking a try, it should not only provide you with a great meal on the weekend but also some great meals for the weekdays too. Perfect when you’re short on time and energy, and you just want to rustle up something quick. Then I’m going to top that off with some tips on freezing your chili and reheating it again.
Want more soup and stew ideas to add to your menu other than chili? Check out my favorites below!
- The Best Ever Cheeseburger Soup Recipe
- Dutch Oven Tortellini Soup with Sausage
- Easy Dutch Oven Cabbage Vegetable Soup
- Copycat Pasta e Fagioli Soup Dutch Oven Recipe
- Comforting Dutch Oven Vegetable Soup Recipe
My Favorite Classic Chili Recipe
What I love about this recipe, besides the taste of the end result, of course, is that it’s super easy to make…
You don’t have to use fresh chilies and mess around trying to de-seed them, you can just use chili powder instead.
And it’s the same with the garlic too. You don’t need to struggle with shredding, grating, mincing, or chopping garlic. Instead, you can just use garlic powder.
And I love the addition of fresh tomatoes to give a nice taste and contrasting texture to the dish. And the addition of kidney beans gives the dish plenty of fiber.
Instead of eating your chili over a bed of rice, why not enjoy it over some lightly seasoned potato wedges?
You just plate up the chili over the cooked wedges and top with your preferred toppings. I’m a sucker for a little chopped red onion and some shredded cheddar - adds even more flavor to the dish.
You can either use frozen store-bought wedges, you can make your own, or make this cottage fries recipe that is super similar, but has bigger pieces. It's my personal favorite!
This idea was inspired by the traditional Italian favorite, spaghetti bolognese.
Spaghetti bolognese uses some similar ingredients to chili, with its ground beef, onions, and garlic. But this version, using chili in place of bolognese, gives it a real kick.
I like this dish with linguine rather than spaghetti because the pasta is thicker. But I guess you could use it with whatever pasta you want, from penne and fusilli to shells and macaroni.
All you need to do is cook the pasta according to the instructions, reheat your leftover chili, and plate it up on top of the pasta together with your desired toppings.
If you’ve never made nachos before, you really should, and here’s your excuse!
Simply follow this recipe, and you won’t go far wrong. Having nachos in the mix gives the dish a real crunchiness that you just wouldn’t get with most other ingredients.
And the sour cream takes the edge off the chili, and brings it an excellent creaminess.
You might have to adjust the proportions of each ingredient to work with the amount of chili you want to use up.
For those of you who love different textures in your dishes, why not try enjoying your leftover chili over a nice fluffy baked potato?
You can cook your jacket potato in your microwave if you’re in a rush to feed hungry tums, but if you have the time to, you can cook them in the oven - the way the British do.
So if you fancy trying out a fluffy chili-loaded baked potato, just follow the recipe here, and add your reheated leftover chili on top once cooked.
Again this is a meal idea inspired by an Italian classic - this time a tasty lasagna.
The only drawback of this recipe is that it takes some time to prepare, even if you're using leftover chili. But it’s very straightforward and doesn’t take much longer than 30 minutes.
You simply layer the chili in an oven dish together with some lasagna sheets. And when you have no more chili left to layer with, you simply place another layer of lasagna sheets on top, before adding a Bechamel-like sauce.
You can buy a store-bought white sauce to save you a little time, or if you prefer you can make your own. In which case we would recommend this recipe.
Tips and Tricks on Freezing and Reheating Your Chili
The good news is that chili freezes really well. You just need to remember to let it cool down to room temperature before freezing, and if possible add a date to the container, so you know when it should be used up by, which is a maxim of three months from the day you made it.
You should always defrost your chili before you reheat it. There are several ways to do this. You can either defrost in room temperature water, defrost in the fridge overnight, which is what I would recommend…
Or you can defrost it in the microwave if you are in a pinch and have forgotten to take it out to defrost the night before. Just use the defrost button on the microwave and keep checking it to see if it’s fully defrosted.
- 3 cups chili
- 8 hot dogs
- 1 8ct crescent roll dough
- ¼ cup white onion, chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375° and spray the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Pour the chili into the baking dish.
- Unroll the crescent roll dough and place one hot dog per roll. Roll the dough over the hot dog.
- Place the hot dog bundles into the chili in a single layer.
- Sprinkle onions over the hot dog bundles.
- Top with the shredded cheese.
- bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the dough is cooked through and cheese has melted.
Serve topped with any favorite chili dog topping.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 461Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 1003mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g