Easy Rotisserie Chicken Recipes
Pick up a rotisserie chicken, and you're halfway done with these quick, healthy recipes.
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
Reviewed by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
In summer, the last place you want to be is in the kitchen! But by midseason, you can get pretty tired of sandwich suppers and takeout. So, I'll let you in on a summertime secret of mine: I often buy a rotisserie chicken and use it as a starter for an easy dinner recipe.
You can pick up a whole roasted or rotisserie chicken at supermarkets for around $7 (which is about what it would cost you to buy it raw, by the way). You can get ready-to-go chickens at most supermarket chains, big club stores like Costco, and local BBQ restaurants as well as chains like Boston Market.
Just take one home, invest about five minutes to pull the meat away from the skin and bones, and then the sky's the limit! You're already halfway to a bunch of healthy and quick dishes.
Before you get started on my cool and easy rotisserie chicken recipes (below), here are six rules of thumb for buying and cooking with rotisserie or roasted chickens:1. Know what you're getting. One rotisserie chicken will give you about 4 cups of shredded chicken, both white and dark meat (no skin). The typical chicken translates into about 12 ounces of light meat and 8 ounces of dark meat (no skin), which gives you a total of:
2. Once you find a good source for rotisserie chickens, learn the best time to buy them. You want the chicken to be fresh, not standing under the lamps for a while. And you want to make sure you have plenty to choose from. You don't want get there at 6:15 p.m. only to find out that the last chicken has been snatched up and they stopped making them at 6 p.m.
3. Get it home safely. To make sure chicken juices don't leak out of the container and onto other food in your shopping cart or grocery bag, bag your bird in a plastic bag (or two). If the chicken comes in a plastic carrier, make sure the lid is positioned properly on the base and that it is snapped completely shut.
Once you get your chicken home, if it's too hot to touch, keep the top off the container and give it about 10 minutes to cool down. Then take off your rings, wash your hands well, and shred the chicken from the bones (you can also chop it if you want bigger pieces for your recipe). Store the shredded chicken immediately in a covered container in the refrigerator until needed.
If you don't want to shred it just yet, let your chicken cool uncovered for 10-15 minutes, then cover it and place it in the refrigerator for shredding at a more convenient time.
4. If you aren't going to shred it right away, let the chicken cool, then put it immediately in the refrigerator to avoid keeping it at room temperature too long.
5. You can buy your rotisserie chicken on the weekend, then shred and freeze it for use later in the week. Just pop the container of frozen shredded chicken into your refrigerator in the morning when you leave for work. It should be mostly thawed by the time you get home.
6. You can use shredded rotisserie chicken in all sorts of recipes. It works as filling for soft tacos, enchiladas, or quesadillas. It can also be a featured ingredient in a pasta or rice dish, a casserole, or in a dinner salad, soup, or sandwich.
Cool and Easy Rotisserie Chicken Recipes
Here are recipes for some of my favorite ways to serve chicken in the summer. I've used just the breast to keep the calorie count as low as possible, but you could choose to use the dark meat as well.
Chicken Cobb Salad
9 cups shredded romaine lettuce (or 4 1/2 cups shredded iceberg mixed with 4 1/2 cups shredded romaine lettuce)