Quick, what’s for dinner tonight?
If you’re sitting with a blank look and only have a few minutes to put together dinner, rotisserie chicken meals are your answer.
These humble birds might not appear very exciting at first, but I will show all of 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 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. 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 also 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.
Ideas for rotisserie chicken meals
- Eat it as is– Of course.
- Chicken tacos– Shred the meat and mix with salsa. Then, top with your favorite toppings (cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, jalapenos, etc.) and wrap in a taco shell.
- Chicken salad– Like this more traditional salad or, if you’re feeling adventurous, a pesto chicken salad, yum!
- Barbecue chicken sandwiches– Use your favorite barbecue sauce.
- Stuffed poblano peppers– It’s a fun, spicy dish full of bold flavors.
- White chicken chili– Sometimes it’s more interesting than the old standby.
- 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.
- 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.
- Homemade broth– Make your own with the leftover bones- What, you don’t keep the bones like I do? Well start now! Broth is pretty much hands off, super easy to make and a powerhouse of nutrients for your body, like gelatin, glycine and minerals. You can make it on your stovetop, in your slow cooker, or in your Instant Pot like this. And don’t worry, if you don’t have any carrots and onions handy, you can leave them out and still get amazing broth. Plus, if you’re not ready to make bone broth yet, just freeze the chicken bones in a Ziploc bag for future use. It’s basically a free superfood!
- 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, chicken chips are simply divine! Just 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 photo below. Give it a try!
There you have it. A whole flock of rotisserie chicken meals within reach. Now you have no need to ruffle your feathers about what’s for dinner. You will always have a quick meal at hand.
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!;-).