Welcome to another Leftover Ladies recipe post, where we fight food waste by transforming leftovers! Each post will focus on a leftover that can be transformed into a new meal. Today, my post will highlight the evolution of a meal; sometimes, you begin with one dish in mind, and it just happens to change into another dish because of one reason or another.  I had some leftover chicken breast and an avocado, and we always have ingredients for chili sitting around, so I wanted to make chicken tortilla soup. However, it didn’t turn out how I planned (does that happen to anyone else?), and so I decided to call this Southwest Chicken Stew. It has the consistency of chili and a Mexican food flavor. This is one of these recipes where you can improvise, so if you don’t have the exact ingredients, don’t worry, and just substitute your own!


  • 3 – 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can sweet corn & peppers
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 1 onion – I used white but any color will work
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Southwest spice or other similar spice
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Tajin

1. Shred or cube cooked chicken and set aside. Since mine was already cooked, I just used my kitchen scissors.

2. Dice or thinly slice jalapeno and onion. Set aside your produce waste to compost. I had some of my breakfast waste in the fridge to take out to the composter later since it was raining, so I got that out and added my food waste from this meal.

3. Put a drizzle of olive oil in a medium-high pan, add onion, jalapeno, salt, and pepper to taste then sauté until onion is cooked through.

4. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

5. In Dutch oven or large pot, add tomato sauce, beans, corn, Rotel on medium heat until bubbling, then turn down to a simmer

6. Stir in cooked onion and jalapeno.

7. Stir in chicken.

8. Add 1 cup chicken stock.

9. Add southwest spice & dash of Tajin.

10. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

11. Right before serving, stir in 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar.

12. Cut avocado in half, leave in skin, and score all the way through to the skin but not through it, in a grid pattern to create cubes.

13. Serve stew in a bowl, spoon out as much avocado over the top as you like, and add tortilla chips. I also used a dollop of sour cream, a little more shredded cheese, and another dash of Tajin on top. Enjoy!