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10 Uses for a deli rotisserie chicken

Shredded meat from a deli rotisserie chicken can star in many different easy meals.
Shredded meat from a deli rotisserie chicken can star in many different easy meals.

A rotisserie chicken from the grocery store deli is one of the most versatile foods on the planet. Publix makes a great one, available in a range of marinades, including lemon pepper, mojo, and barbecue. Unlike many convenience foods, the rotisserie chicken is also an economical choice. A family of two or three can easily squeeze three meals out of one chicken if they play their cards right. Here are ten rotisserie chicken uses to keep on the go-to list for a quick and easy meal:

10. Cut it up and eat it. One rotisserie chicken will break down into eight small pieces, or four nicely-sized quarters. While this probably isn't the most thrifty option, since it will use most of the meat in one sitting, it certainly is convenient to pick up a chicken, add a salad and some bread, and sit down to dinner in five minutes or less.

9. Shred the meat and save the bones and skin to make stock. Take all of that nicely-cooked meat, pull it off the bones, shred it, and use the bones and skin to make stock. Stock is a slow process that requires four to six hours minimum--not a good choice for a Monday night. Spend the time making stock on laundry day, though, and it will be there the next time chicken noodle soup is needed in a flash. For more information on making stock, click here.

8. Make a salad. Chop up a head of lettuce, some tomatoes, carrots, or whatever else is readily available. Toss some shredded chicken and cheese throughout, and grab a fork.

7. Quesadillas, burritos, tacos, enchiladas....All of these dishes gladly accept shredded chicken as their protien source. Add half of one shredded chicken breast to some cooked rice, salsa, and shredded cheese, wrap up in a large flour tortilla, top with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole, and enjoy a great burrito in under 10 minutes.

6. Make a chicken, egg, and cheese sandwich. Sometimes breakfast for dinner is the best answer, and using the incredible and inexpensive egg as the main protien source can drastically cut the price of a meal. Scramble the eggs, and throw some shredded or chopped chicken in at the end. Pile on crusty bread or a roll and melt cheese over it. Serve with a salad or some carrot and celery sticks for a balanced meal.

5. Think Asian. The versatility of chicken means it lends itself to many cuisines. One of my favorite Asian-style dishes to make at home is a simple noodle bowl with peanut sauce. Cook some spaghetti or rice noodles and drain. In a medium-high skillet, heat some olive oil with just a touch of sesame oil. Add minced garlic, ginger, and some red pepper flakes to taste, and sautee until they start to release their aromas. Melt in 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter, (crunchy will just add more texture), and some soy sauce. Season with a dash of salt. Toss shredded chicken and noodles in sauce and serve in a deep bowl.

4. Make chili. Here is a recipe for a white chicken chili made in the slow cooker, so it's ready whenever you are.

3. Make a casserole or pot pie. Mixing meat with vegetables and bread is a great way to stretch a little meat over several meals. Try this classic pot pie with biscuit topping.

2. Put it on pizza. Who needs pepperoni with some moist shredded chicken on hand? Try my recipe for pizza with chicken and arugula here.

1. Have a super snack. Mix some drained canned black beans, drained tomatoes and green chiles, and shredded cheese with 2 cups of shredded chicken. Arrange a bed of tortilla chips on a broiler-safe vessel, top with chicken mixture plus tons more cheese, and broil until cheese is melted, bubbling, and slightly brown. Garnish with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

Breaking down a rotisserie chicken for dinner is a great way to save time and money. Use a little creative thinking to invent your own chicken dishes, or visit this site for 58 more great recipes.


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