Yesterday, I did a half marathon, leading to the inevitable questions about my sanity. These remain unanswered. Still, I finished with my best time ever. Sure, it was a mere thirty seconds faster than my previous best time ever, but it’s the little victories, right? After the race, I gorged on french fries and a burger (sans bun, but I was all about the meat anyway). Today…
My muscles are a bit tired, my left hip is suggesting a trip to the spa, and my mind is saying it’s time to resume healthy eating. Last week’s carbo loading may have started a bit early, if you know what I mean.
I’m also feeling lazy, so dinner will rely on one of my standbys: rotisserie chicken. I’m thinking either a chicken and dumpling soup (carbs, man, I just can’t quit you) or a lighter, less salty spin on chicken pho (Gatorade plus fries plus GF soy sauce = don’t need a lot of salt today). FYI, here is the dumpling recipe, from Spunky Coconut, that I’m considering.
All of this has me thinking about how I love to use rotisserie chicken as a shortcut to meals. I like to pull all the chicken off the bones so it’s ready to go during the week. Here are some of favorite ways to use rotisserie chicken; they also work for any leftover chicken.
- Baked Potatoes: Yes, baked potatoes are perfect by themselves. But a plain baked potato feels too much like a side dish. Adding some shredded chicken, some chopped broccoli, and a light cheese sauce turns a baked potato into a meal.
- Casseroles: Instead of using cream of chicken soup in a casserole, use a gluten-free bechamel (or white) sauce, add some additional flavor with garlic or mushrooms, and mix in your chicken.
- Chicken Caesar Salad: Making real Caesar dressing takes just minutes (here’s my recipe). Cutting Romaine lettuce takes just minutes. Tossing the two with shredded rotisserie chicken and topping with (optional) blue cheese takes another minute. If you want to add crunch but don’t have gluten-free croutons, switch out the blue cheese for easy (and quick) parmesan crisps. Toss them in the oven while you’re making the dressing. Of course, this idea can be converted for any other type of salad that strikes your fancy!
- Chicken Enchiladas: Another fast and easy recipes. I saute shredded chicken in a sauce, either red or green, place on a softened corn tortilla, roll, and bake. So easy, so fast, so versatile.
- Corn Tortilla Flautas: Roll seasoned chicken into a warmed corn tortilla. Secure with a toothpick. Heat oil in a skillet (not too much or you’ll have a soggy flauta) and fry the flautas until crispy and golden, turning every minute or so.
- Lettuce Cups: Shredded or finely chopped chicken lettuce cups make a perfect low carb, gluten-free lunch. For an Asian take, use lime juice, a bit of fish sauce (or gluten-free soy sauce), a bit of chile paste, and some chopped water chestnuts. Pile into a leaf of butter lettuce. If you want to take your salad in another direction, mix a bit of mayo, some lemon juice, chopped nuts, and raisins or other fruit.
- Sandwiches: If you have gluten-free bread, make fun chicken sandwiches. Rotisserie chicken is perfect for a play on pulled pork: toss chicken in a tangy sauce, top with cole slaw, and enjoy. Or make a chicken salad with mayo, lemon or vinegar, and other seasonings. Or maybe a chicken melt with Swiss cheese and avocado. All are fast, easy, and delicious.
- Soup: As mentioned, I’m going to use rotisserie chicken as the basis for soup. In addition to the dumpling soup and basic chicken noodle soup I noted above, rotisserie chicken is perfect for soups like chicken and wild rice, chicken and veggies, cream soups, chicken chowder, and more. You can even use it for a quick gumbo; just pare back this recipe.
- Stir Fries: Toss shredded rotisserie chicken into a wok with veggies and sauce for a quick meal. Serve over rice or rice noodles.
- Tacos: Nothing can be easier (or more satisfying) than homemade tacos. And, I should say, nothing is more versatile. Heat shredded chicken, adding more flavor with salsa, cumin, lime juice, or whatever strikes your fancy, pile the chicken into a heated corn tortilla. Top with shredded lettuce or cabbage. Add a bit of cheese. Devour. Repeat.
Obviously, I love the versatility of rotisserie chicken, and, between you and me, I probably purchase a chicken a week to supplement other meals. What is your favorite quick and easy recipe for cooked chicken? Share your ideas!
Tip of the Week
I go through a lot of chicken stock and if I bought it pre-made, it would be very expensive. Now, I just make my own from the carcasses of leftover rotisserie and other chicken. I save the bones in a gallon bag in my freezer, pulling them out when it’s time to make stock. Less than thirty minutes of work saves me a lot of money.
Menu of the Week
I am a confirmed pho addict, so this soup appeals to me on all levels: the broth, the chicken, the hint of lime and basil, and, of course, the rice noodles. Because I’m looking for less salt, I use a basic chicken stock, seasoned to match my mood.
The spring rolls are a household favorite, and, once you’ve mastered the trick of rolling them, are easy and fun. Lightly dampen the rice paper wrapper — it will soften up more while you’re working with it — and don’t overstuff your spring roll.
- Chicken and Rice Noodle Soup
- Shrimp Spring Rolls