If you only have a few minutes to put together dinner, a rotisserie chicken is a life-saver. These humble birds might not appear very exciting at first, but I will show all you mother hens out there how you can make a quick, healthy meal faster than you can shake a tail feather. Plus, depending on your family size, you will most likely have leftovers to use for more time-saving meals.
You might be asking, “How much can I really make with one of these birds?” Well, the possibilities are endless. Think of a rotisserie chicken as a blank slate, just waiting for your own flair to be added.
You might also be wondering where you can find this fabulous fowl. Any grocery store usually has a selection in the prepared foods area. If possible, start with an unseasoned naked bird (only found at Whole Foods so far) or one that is only flavored by salt and pepper . This is the best way to avoid some of the more questionable ingredients like modified food starch and maltodextrin that are often thrown in. However, don’t stress too much if you can’t find the simply seasoned bird. After all, this is about convenience.
A fully cooked rotisserie chicken is also one of the biggest bargains around. The most expensive one I have seen is at Whole Foods for about $9. They are typically $5-6 at other grocery chains. It’s sad that you can’t buy a raw whole chicken for that price, but I’ll take it! Plus, you will see that there is no waste once I’m finished with it. I like to use everything but the crow.
Did I mention that rotisserie chickens are perfect for vacation? Well, it’s true. When I don’t have a full kitchen to cook in or I just want to relax after a fun day of sightseeing, the fully cooked bird provides my family with a healthy, filling meal. You just need to add a couple of sides and done. It will even fit in a mini frig if necessary.
So what do you do with a rotisserie chicken once you have it? The first thing is to take all of the meat off of the bones. Don’t be afraid to get up and personal with the bird. Then you can shred the chicken or slice it for the following uses.
Rotisserie chicken ideas
- Eat it as is- Of course.
- Shred the meat and mix with salsa for chicken tacos- Top with your favorite toppings (cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, jalapenos, etc.) and wrap in a taco shell.
- Whip up a quick chicken salad- Like this more traditional salad or, if you’re feeling adventurous, this pesto chicken salad, yum!
- Here is another delicious chicken salad- Asian almond chicken salad.
- Add your favorite barbecue sauce for barbecue chicken sandwiches.
- I was inspired by my CSA delivery to make stuffed poblano peppers– It’s a fun, spicy dish full of bold flavors.
- Make white chicken chili– Sometimes it’s more interesting than the old standby.
- For homemade Chinese takeout, make sweet and sour chicken or orange chicken (just make the sauces and bathe the chicken in them) and serve over rice.
- Make soup- chicken tortilla, chicken noodle (can sub gluten free noodles or zoodles if you’re gluten free like me), spicy chicken, or just throw some broth in a pot with some sautéed veggies and the shredded chicken and call it done.
- Speaking of broth, you can make your own with the leftover bones- What, you don’t keep the bones like I do? Well start now! Broth is basically hands off, super easy to make and a powerhouse of nutrients for your body, like gelatin, glycine and minerals. Here is a simple stove-top recipe, although I use my slow cooker for truly hands free broth. For even quicker broth, I now use my Instant Pot like this. If I’m not ready to make bone broth, I just freeze the chicken bones in a Ziploc bag for future use. Plus, I keep all vegetable scraps from cooking (carrot tops, onion ends, trimmings from greens, etc.) to throw into the pot for my broth. It’s basically free broth!
- Make chicken chips- Don’t even think about throwing out the skin of the chicken. Of course, no one wants to eat the slimy, rubbery skin that comes directly off of the meat (except maybe the family dog). However, I will share with you a great secret that will forever change the way you look at chicken skin: chicken chips! Simply crisp up the skin in a medium-low skillet and it transforms into delicious, golden, crispy “chips” that rival those made from potatoes. I’m not kidding. They are seriously addictive and I have to stop myself from eating the whole batch at once. Plus, they look cool as a garnish, as shown in the picture above. Give it a try!
As long as you have a rotisserie chicken within reach, there’s no need to ruffle your feathers. You will always have a quick meal at hand. I can’t sing the praises enough of this versatile bird. I hope you are inspired to make your own quick chicken creation. If you have other ideas and recipes, please leave them in the comments below (along with any other chicken puns!).