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Give next-day chips, queso, wings and more Super Bowl snacks a second life 

Jenn Rice
February 02, 2018

Super Bowl Sunday is quickly approaching, and whether you’re a football fan or not, feasting is in order. Chicken wings, nachos, endless dips, veggie platters and BBQ are basically obligatory, so if you’re hosting, your refrigerator will be stuffed with leftovers for days.

Chef Erik Niel, of Easy Bistro & Bar in Chattanooga, has a rule of thumb: “Eat everything that night, cause you can.” But if that’s an impossible task, and before you swear off wings, nachos and dips forever, check out these innovative chef tips on how to repurpose your leftovers the next day. From ultimate breakfast meals to soups and beyond, they’ll give you life on Monday night when you're still hungover. 

Chicken wings

“When I’m faced with leftover chicken wings, which honestly rarely happens, I pick the meat and turn it into a quick salad. I like to use peeled and shaved celery, fennel and apples mixed with any soft herbs (parsley, mint, tarragon, chives) and add some crunchy crushed peanuts. For the dressing, you can use lemon juice and olive oil for a lighter version, or I prefer to use the leftover blue cheese dip thinned with a bit of buttermilk. This is also good as a sandwich or wrap.” – Chef Chris McDade of Popina (Brooklyn)

“What I do with my leftover chicken wings is eat them! I also make a buffalo chicken dip – I pull the meat from the bones and fold it together with some cream cheese, bleu cheese and wing sauce and bake it in the oven, and use the leftover tortilla chips for the dip. – Chef Kevin Spencer of Austin Taco Project (Austin)

“We always end up with leftover chicken wings, which are magic. My favorite way to use them is the old Southern cold fried chicken way–A big bowl of Alabama white sauce to dip the cold wings in and another bowl of chow-chow to re-dip them in. Double dipping at its finest.” – Chef Erik Niel of Easy Bistro & Bar (Chattanooga)

“What better way to warm up in the winter than with a fresh cup of chicken wing soup. Instead of re-warming your day-old chicken wings, prepare a pot of a chicken wings. Start with a cream of chicken base, hot sauce to taste and blue cheese crumbles (not too many crumbles as it can become overpowering). Clean the chicken off the bone and dice the meat into small pieces, add celery and onion and let simmer until the veggies are soft.” – Chef Ivano Toscani of  Frank and Teressa’s Anchor Bar (Buffalo, New York)

“These two are pretty obvious, but with leftover chicken fingers I’ve made buffalo chicken wraps or Caesar salad wraps. –Chef Shane McBride of Maysville (New York City)

"I love to make a stew with wings. I add leftover veggies, chicken wings, any kind of stock (even water!) with some gochujang; it turns into a lovely stew that I love to eat with rice." – Chef Esther Choi of Mokbar (New York City) 

© Danny Hooks / Getty Images

Nachos and tortilla chips

“I use any leftover nachos to make chilaquiles the next morning. I like to use tomatillos, garlic, cilantro and jalapeño, but you can thin out a tomato-based salsa or sauce and cook all together then add whatever else is left on hand–cheese, onion, sour cream, etc. and a fried egg!” – Chef TJ Steele of Claro (Brooklyn)

“Those tortilla chips you bought too much of can become a killer tortilla lasagna. Add nacho cheese, shredded cheese, salsa and pieces of leftover BBQ meat in between the layers.” – Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins of El Jardín in (San Diego; opening spring 2018)

"My favorite leftover creation is chilaquiles, and I make sure to have the right leftovers around to make such of a dish. The Mexican wet tortilla casserole is better with day-old components anyway." – Chef Laurence Edelman of Left Bank (New York City)

“It’s obvious—prepare the hangover breakfast! Wake up from a late night of drinking and snacking with friends, head to the kitchen and whip up killer Chilaquiles. Take the leftover tortilla chips, mix it up with some leftover salsa verde, bake and top with a fried egg, leftover guacamole, scallion or raw onion, and pickled jalapeño for a bit of a kick. It’s the works! Not to forget to grate some leftover cheese on top.” – Chef Michael Oliver of The Osprey (Brooklyn)

"Morning after chips and dip, turn into chilaquiles! With leftover chicken wings, or pulled pork. I always add a sunny up egg, too, and call it a day!" – Chef Nick Korbee of Egg Shop (New York City) 

Crudités

“I like to find ways to use up leftover crudités since that’s almost always in abundance after a party. Creating a giardiniera with it is very Chicago and super easy. Mac and cheese is an easy base to use leftover cheeses too. Just add pasta and the giardiniera crudités. You could also top with leftover game day meats like chicken or pulled pork to make it a heartier dish.” –Chef James Lintlemann of Baptiste & Bottle (Chicago)

“Depending on what the crudité items are, I’ll repurpose them into an omelet or a frittata the next morning.” – Spencer

“Leftover crudité is great for making a mirepoix—sauté the diced veggies with leftover grilled onions and throw in leftover BBQ chicken or tri-tip and add some red wine for a pot roast-esque rendition. – Zepeda-Wilkins

“I’d make a soup out of leftover veggies from a veggie platter, starting with sweating them out to create a flavorful stock and adding in shredded chicken from any leftover wings.” – Chef Brian Redzikowski of Kettner Exchange and The Grass Skirt (San Diego)

Victoria Kent

BBQ

“If I happened to smoke a brisket for Super Bowl the next day I'll heat it up, caramelize some onions and use leftover queso to make a cheesesteak-esque sandwich.” – Spencer

“Leftover pulled pork, BBQ brisket or BBQ chicken makes a killer topping for baked potato night. A little cheese, green onion, BBQ and some Pig Beach BBQ sauce and you’ve got a meal.” – McBride

Queso

“Leftover queso could also make a great fondue dip, especially if there are a few different cheeses used. I’d add togarashi, one of my favorite Japanese spices, to the queso to really elevate the flavor.” – Redzikowski

Multiple leftovers in one epic feast

"Pull the meat from the leftover chicken wings and ribs. Grab the leftover chili and mix with the pulled meat. Add a bit of dark beer if available. Crumble the leftover tortilla chips and spread them over the top. To finish spread a nice layer of cheese and bake till golden brown and delicious.” – Chef David Shim of Cote (New York City)

“Queso and barbecue were always big when I was growing up in Texas. The queso usually involved a lot of spice and peppers, and barbecue is always good, so it was fun to turn the queso into a ridiculous plate of nachos. Reheat the barbecue (this is good with burnt ends), top with re-warmed queso and pour all over the leftover tortilla chips. It’s like stupid nachos—there were usually a few odds and ends, like pickled jalapeños and grilled smoked sausages that could top this monstrosity.” – Niel

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"I like to make what I call Monday morning nachos. I'll pull the chicken from the wings and shred it. Toss it with tortilla chips which there always seems to be an abundance of, and some chili that I've purposely put aside on game day especially for these. Add some sharp shredded cheese on top (or even leftover cheese slices from those deli platters) and bake until melting. I’ll top it with ranch dressing that I’ve mixed with finely diced leftover crudités.” – Chef Michael Fiorelli of Love & Salt (Manhattan Beach, California)

"In our expert taco-biased opinion, anything that can be thrown into a taco afterward is the way to go. You might want to avoid wings in tacos ... unless they're boneless – then, game on." – Otto Cedeno of Otto's Tacos (New York City)