When your workday is over and you need to get dinner on the table quickly, it’s time to play chicken.
In the kitchen.
So you, like millions of others, stop at the grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken. About 450 million are sold each year in grocery and warehouse across the U.S., according to the National Chicken Council. Costco, for example, says it sold more than 68 million rotisserie chickens worldwide last fiscal year. With retail prices ranging from $5 to $8, it’s easy to see why.
And while your chicken, with its crisp, golden brown skin, will be delicious any way you slice it, you can — and should — take that bird a bit further.
Fast and easy chicken recipe options abound, from soups and salads to pizzas and pot pies. And don’t forget to make broth with the leftovers.
Today, we offer six ways to serve up that rotisserie chicken to the delight of all those at your dinner table.
1 1/2 cups picante sauce or salsa, divided
4 cups chopped or shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon favorite chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
10 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican-style or favorite cheddar cheese
Nonstick cooking spray or canola oil
Guacamole, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomato
In a saucepan combine 1 cup picante sauce, chicken, onion, cumin, chili powder and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet.
Spoon cup mixture below center of each tortilla; top with about 2 tablespoons cheese.
Fold in 2 sides of tortillas to enclose filling. Fold over top and bottom edges of tortillas, making rectangles. Secure with wooden picks, if needed. Place, folded-side down, on greased baking sheets. Coat chimichangas with cooking spray or brush lightly with canola oil.
Bake for 8 minutes; turn and bake 5 more minutes. Remove picks if you used them. Serve chimichangas with remaining picante sauce and desired toppings.
Nutrition information per serving: 258 calories (20 percent from fat), 6 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 29 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 439 mg sodium, 48 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.
SWEET AND SOUR ROAST CHICKEN
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons less-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons or to taste chili garlic sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, divided
1 warm fully cooked rotisserie chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces
1 1/2 cups sliced seedless cucumbers
1/2 cup sliced red onion strips
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 small head frisee, torn into bite-size pieces
1 fresh red or green chile, sliced, optional
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, water and chili garlic sauce until combined. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of the lime juice.
Brush half of the sweet-and-sour sauce over the flesh and skin sides of chicken pieces.
In a medium bowl, toss cucumbers and red onion with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. On a platter, arrange the frisee, cucumbers and onions and place chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle sliced chile, if desired. Spoon remaining sauce over chicken or serve on the side.
Nutrition information per serving: 762 calories (38 percent from fat), 31 grams fat (9 grams sat. fat), 35 grams carbohydrates, 82 grams protein, 1,211 mg sodium, 246 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.
ROTISSERIE CHICKEN SOUP WITH RICE 1 tablespoon canola oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1 cup chopped onion
3 mini red bell peppers, sliced into thin rounds
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes with chipotle
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups cooked brown rice
Shredded cheese, sliced green onion, cilantro leaves
In a large pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the onion and red pepper slices and saute about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with brown sugar, stirring to melt the sugar. Add in the tomatoes with their juice, chili powder and cumin. Stir in the chicken and broth. Bring to just a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes to meld all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper if needed, keeping in mind you may not need to because of the tomatoes and broth. Stir in the cooked rice just before serving.
Top with tortilla chips, cheese, green onion and cilantro if desired.
Nutrition information per serving: 235 calories (19 percent from fat), 5 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 20 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 582 mg sodium, 60 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.
CHICKEN POT PIE
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup 1 percent milk
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
2 cups cubed or shredded seasoned rotisserie chicken
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Morton Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 6 individual ramekins (6- to 8-ounce size) on a baking sheet. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until it is just turning golden. Sprinkle in the 2 tablespoons of flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the broth and milk. Cook on medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture has thickened. Add the peas and carrots, chicken, thyme, seasoning blend, salt and black pepper to taste. Cook about 5 minutes. If mixture is too thin, scoop out some of the liquid into a small bowl and mix in the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir the flour mixture back into the saucepan and heat a few more minutes to thicken.
Divide the mixture into the ramekins. Cut out puff pastry rounds to just fit over the filling. Brush the top with egg wash.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry round is puffed and golden brown, and the filling is bubbly.
Remove from oven and serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 415 calories (48 percent from fat), 22 grams fat (6 grams sat. fat), 32 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 464 mg sodium, 52 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.
HERBED CHICKEN PIZZA WITH ROASTED RED PEPPERS AND ARTICHOKES
11/2 cups thinly sliced or cubed seasoned rotisserie chicken
1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes or favorite canned tomatoes, well drained
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 prepared pizza crust (12-inch)
1 small jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, well drained and patted dry
1 jarred roasted red pepper, patted dry and thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted black olives, cut in half
1/4 pound fontina cheese, shredded or sliced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl mix the chicken, tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper; set aside.
Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and a few pinches of kosher salt on the pizza crust. Place crust on pizza pan or baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top crust with the chicken mixture, artichokes, red pepper, black olives and cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Remove from oven and slice.
Nutrition information per serving: 382 calories (35 percent from fat), 15 grams fat (5 grams sat. fat), 48 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams protein, 1,001 mg sodium, 22 mg cholesterol, 4 grams fiber.Makes: 10 / Preparation time: 35 minutes Total time: 50 minutes Source: Adapted from myrecipes.com. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Serves: 4 / Preparation time: 20 minutes Total time: 35 minutes Source: Adapted from delish.com. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 20 minutes Total time: 1 hour Source: From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Makes: 6 individual pot pies / Preparation time: 25 minutes Total time: 50 minutes Source: From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 20 minutes Total time: 45 minutes Adapted from “150 Things to Make with Roast Chicken and 50 Ways to Roast It” by Tony Rosenfeld (The Taunton Press, $14.95). Source: Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
25 IDEAS FOR DINNER FROM ONE ROTISSERIE CHICKEN
After a long day, who hasn’t stumbled into the grocery store without the faintest idea of what to put on the table, when suddenly the tempting whiff of a freshly roasted chicken puts everything into perspective?
And although a rotisserie chicken is great served on its own, it lends itself to so many dinner options. Casseroles, pizza, salads ...
Here are 25 easy dinner ideas incorporating rotisserie chicken. These aren’t formal recipes but rough outlines you can tweak to suit your family’s or friends’ tastes. Most involve only a few ingredients, and almost all can be made in an hour or less. No matter your skill level in the kitchen, there’s something here for everyone. And with so many ideas, you’re bound to find something to please even the most picky dinner guest.
1. Quesadillas: Soften chopped onion and bell pepper or mushrooms on the stove, then combine with chopped chicken and cheese in a folded tortilla and toast on a griddle or large skillet until the cheese melts.
2. Chopped salad: Toss chopped chicken, apple, red onion, raisins and almonds in a bowl. Toss with a dressing made of mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt flavored with a touch of wine or cider vinegar, mustard and fresh chopped herbs.
3. Thai pasta with peanut sauce: Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, chopped garlic and a dash of hot sauce in a saucepan with enough coconut milk or water to thin. Warm over the stove, then toss with pasta, chopped chicken, chopped roasted peanuts and fresh cilantro.
4. Lemon chicken pasta with basil: Chop chicken and saute for a few minutes to warm with a little chopped garlic and mushrooms if desired. Drizzle fresh lemon juice over the chicken and toss with pasta, shredded basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
5. Enchiladas: Coat the bottom of a baking dish with red or green enchilada sauce. Roll shredded chicken, cheese, sauteed onion and peppers into tortillas and place in the dish. Ladle over more sauce and add more cheese. Bake until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbly. Serve topped with chopped green onion.
6. Chicken and spinach casserole: Combine chopped chicken with fresh spinach, chopped sauteed onion and garlic, and homemade bechamel (butter and flour cooked to form a roux, with milk added to make a thick sauce) or cream of mushroom soup. Top with breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh herbs and a little melted butter and bake until the filling is bubbly.
7. Sloppy Joes: Sweat finely chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic until translucent, then add chopped chicken to warm. Stir in equal parts marinara and barbecue sauce and spoon onto buns to serve.
8. Macaroni salad: Toss macaroni with chopped chicken, celery and red onion and toss with a dressing of mayonnaise flavored with mustard and a touch of lemon juice.
9. Empanadas: Sweat diced onion, chile or bell peppers, and mushrooms until translucent and then add diced chicken, cheese and a little chili sauce to moisten. Add filling to biscuit or pie dough cut into rounds. Seal and bake until golden brown, then serve with chile sauce on the side or drizzled over.
10. Chicken noodle soup: Sweat onion, carrot and celery, then add chicken broth and simmer with noodles, other vegetables such as peas and potatoes, chopped chicken and fresh herbs.
11. Chicken tortilla soup: Saute chopped onion and bell pepper until lightly golden, then add a container of fresh salsa and one of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add several fresh corn tortillas torn into pieces, and then use an immersion blender to puree everything in the pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and add chopped or shredded chicken, more diced onion and pepper. Serve with crumbled fresh cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips, diced onion and cilantro.
12. Shredded chicken tacos: Sweat sliced onion with chopped chile pepper and tomatoes, then add shredded chicken and enough chicken broth to moisten. Serve in warm tortillas with shredded lettuce or cabbage, salsa and toppings of choice.
13. Burritos: In a large, warmed tortilla, combine shredded chicken with black beans, rice, lettuce, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo. Roll the burrito, top if desired with chile sauce and more cheese before serving.
14. Taquitos: Roll shredded chicken in small tortillas and deep-fry. Serve with sour cream and salsa.
15. Barbecue chicken sandwich: Combine shredded or chopped chicken with barbecue sauce. Serve, topped with coleslaw, in toasted buns.
16. Savory turnovers or hand pies: Sweat chopped onion, carrot and celery in a saute pan. Add peas, potatoes and chopped chicken and enough broth to cover. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, then swirl in goat cheese or bread crumbs to thicken the broth, flavoring with fresh herbs if desired. Spoon into puff pastry or pie dough, seal and bake until golden brown.
17. Chili: Saute onion, bell or chile pepper and garlic. Add chopped chicken, canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and a medley of drained canned beans. Thin to desired consistency with chicken broth and simmer to marry the flavors, checking occasionally for seasoning. Serve with crumbled cheese, green onion and sour cream.
18. Lettuce cups: Chop the chicken and toss with a little cornstarch (2 tablespoons for each whole chicken). Saute chopped garlic and ginger over high heat until golden brown with a slightly nutty aroma. Add chopped shiitake mushrooms and chopped water chestnuts. Drizzle over soy sauce, rice vinegar and a touch of sugar, scraping any flavoring from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken and cook until the sauce is thickened. Drizzle over more soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil as desired and serve in lettuce cups topped with chopped roasted peanuts and green onion.
19. Couscous: To cooked couscous, add diced olives, red onion, sauteed garbanzo beans, chopped chicken, raisins and diced dried apricot and dates. Flavor with fresh cilantro, ground cinnamon, cloves and coriander and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
20. Quinoa: Saute sliced shiitake mushrooms over high heat, then add garlic and drizzle over soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Add diced chicken and heat to warm. Remove from heat and add fresh spinach, tossing until the spinach is wilted. Toss in a bowl with cooked quinoa and garnish with toasted nuts.
21. Pita sandwich: Spread hummus on the bottom inside of a halved pita round and top with shredded chicken. Spoon over plain yogurt flavored with chopped fresh cucumber, cumin, garlic, fresh mint and lime juice.
22. Chinese chicken salad: In a large bowl, combine chopped lettuce and shredded cabbage with drained canned mandarin oranges, sesame seeds, chopped chicken and sesame ginger dressing to coat. Serve garnished with slivered almonds or fried wonton strips, chopped cilantro and green onion.
23. Barbecue chicken pizza: Saute a sliced onion until softened and golden brown. When cool enough to handle, spread over store-bought or prepared pizza dough. Top with a mixture of half barbecue sauce and half marinara sauce, add chopped chicken, drizzle over more sauce and top with mozzarella cheese and sliced red onion. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the baked pizza before serving.
24. Calzone: Use the pizza dough and toppings for the barbecue chicken pizza (No. 23); quarter the pizza dough into four smaller rounds, fill, seal and bake until golden brown.
25. Fettuccine Alfredo: Melt butter in a saucepan and add heavy cream. Simmer gently, whisking in minced garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. Add chopped chicken, then serve with pasta, topped with chopped parsley.
Noelle Carter, Los Angeles Times