Life is busy for all of us. It seems the more time saving technology we develop, the less time we seem to have for everything! At the end of a hectic work day, it is so tempting to just pull into the nearest drive-thru on the way home and pick up whatever is easy and headache free. While this may be unavoidable occasionally, it’s really not ideal for health and budget reasons (let’s face it, there’s only so many cardboard value meals you can take before you start going for more expensive options!) Store Bought Rotisserie Chicken is every working home-cooks’ secret weapon! A regular sized chicken offers about 5-6 servings (maybe more depending on your portion sizes and how you serve it) and although it might look dull, it can be used in endless ways. As demonstrated in my post on Monday, I often sub Rotisserie chicken in recipes I find as it saves time and energy, making that drive-thru all the more unappealing. Best of all, you can get so many varieties of rotisserie chicken form your local store these days (like Lemon Pepper, and Mesquite BBQ) making it easy to mix and match recipe flavours. When I buy one, I usually plan on using it for two different recipes throughout the work week; this is great because the chicken can last a few days in the fridge (and it also means we don’t have to eat the same back to back chicken dish)!
From my quick lighter Chicken Salad (see below) to an exciting flashy Quesadilla, I have some great suggestions if you find yourself at a loss and are tempted to look for your car keys (or for the delivery number on the fridge!)
Leia’s Lighter Chicken Salad
2 cups of chicken meat (lemon pepper is my go to variety for this)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp of dried tarragon (this is the magic ingredient in chicken salad and totally worth the investment if you don’t already have it in your pantry)
1 diced apple
1/2 cup of mayo (I prefer the olive oil variety for health reasons)
1/2 cup of thick Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp of chopped scallions
1/4 cup of raisins/cranberries (or even chopped grapes)
1/8 cup of toasted pine nuts
1/2 tsp of paprika
dash of cayenne (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Pulse chicken in food processor 3-4 times until chicken is in small pieces. Mix yogurt, mayo, herbs, spices and lemon juice in large bowl until well combined. Add chicken and remaining ingredients. Serve on toasted bun with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and a slice of Cheddar cheese.
Here are some other suggestions for transforming a rotisserie chicken into something great and fun for any weeknight dinner- (some of these are faster than waiting in the drive-thru line!):
Chicken and Humus in a pitta Just line the bottom of a pitta with shredded chicken. Dollop on some store bought humus, add salad leaves, tomatoes, olives (whatever ingredients you like) and voila!
Chicken Pitta and cucumber relish (see Monday’s post)
Chicken Quesadilla– shred the chicken and sprinkle with your favourite seasonings like cumin, paprika, garlic powder and a squeeze of lime. Warm a tortilla in a pan for about 30 seconds on low heat, flip over add chicken, shredded cheese, diced peppers and onions, spinach (again it’s your taste buds- just add your favourite!), fold the tortilla in half and wait for the cheese to melt. You could also do so many varieties like a BBQ Chicken Quesadilla (slather chicken with your favourite sauce and add grilled pineapples and chopped jalapenos all melted together with mozzarella). or a Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla (again just slather chicken with wing sauce, and add cabbage and blue cheese). These same ideas can be applied for Soft Chicken Tacos.
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches – shred the chicken and leave overnight soaking in BBQ sauce. Serve in a toasted bun with coleslaw.
Chicken Pot Pie this is already a great use of leftover roast chicken. Add to your favourite grandma’s recipe!
Baked Chicken Wontons: Put chicken, cream cheese, scallions, corn kernels, tarragon, and grated Parmesan (or other cheese) in a food processor and pulse a few times. Place a tbsp of mixture onto a wonton wrapper, fold up, place on a baking sheet, spray with oil and bake until crispy and golden. (You could do this with crescent rolls too) Serve with salad or veg
Add chicken to any of the following for a protein boost without the added cooking time:
Pizza, Salad, Grilled Cheese, Mac n Cheese (add a dash of wing sauce into the cheese mixture for a new twist on the classic) and in any Casserole. What are some of your favourite recipes using Rotisserie Chicken?