That lovely, roasty aroma hits you when you walk into the grocery on your way home from work and you spy a display case of rotisserie chickens near the checkout aisle. Of all the convenience foods on the store shelves, this one’s a good choice—a simple roast chicken, a good tossed salad and a loaf of whole-grain bread can make a satisfying, healthful and easy dinner.
A store-bought roast chicken can easily feed a family of four—and there’s more you can do with it than simply slicing and serving. Shredded or diced roast chicken can star in all kinds of easy meals.
For these meal ideas, start with a store-bought chicken, or try this slow cooker version.
Peanut Noodles With Shredded Chicken And VegetablesAt just 226 calories per serving, this Asian-inspired dish stars shredded chicken, a peanutty-gingery sauce and whole-wheat spaghetti. Use shredded rotisserie chicken to make things even easier.
Healthy Chicken and Vegetable CasseroleChef Meg’s inexpensive and good-for-you casserole calls for cooked chicken; store-bought rotisserie chicken would add a great roasted flavor. Prep the vegetables ahead of time to make quick work of this easy meal.
Mexican ChilaquilesThis south-of-the-border comfort food couldn’t be easier: A can of diced tomatoes, some spices and shredded chicken come together quickly in a pan. Served over a sensible portion of crushed tortilla chips or brown rice and topped with non-fat Greek yogurt, it’s a delicious and healthful.
Classic Chicken-Noodle SoupAhhh, doesn’t this make you happy? Chef Meg’s recipe for a heart- and belly-warming chicken soup starts with homemade stock, but you could save time by swapping low-sodium organic chicken broth (Swanson’s is recommended) and diced rotisserie chicken.
Thai Chicken Coconut SoupThis better-for-you version of the Asian restaurant favorite is sweet, spicy and warming. Chef Meg’s recipe is less expensive and lower in sodium, too! Skip the step of poaching the chicken and use shredded roast chicken instead.
White Chicken ChiliInstead of cooking boneless chicken breast at the beginning of Chef Meg’s recipe, use diced rotisserie chicken.
Brown Rice Salad with Shredded ChickenPacked with veggies and brightened up with a zing of lime juice, this hearty salad makes a great evening meal, and leftovers can be easily packed up for lunch the next day.
Roast your own chicken.Love the store-bought rotisserie chicken? Roasting a chicken at home is almost as easy as picking up a prepared one. (Almost.) Here’s a great recipe to try.
Freeze the leftovers.Once you realize how versatile roast chicken is, you’ll want to have it on hand all the time. Separate any leftover meat from the chicken, dice or shred it, and transfer 1-cup portions to small zip-top plastic bags. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Make chicken stock.Stop! Don’t throw away the bones and skin. Set them aside in a plastic bag until you have an hour or two to make homemade stock. Simply toss the bones into a big pot, add a few vegetables, cover with water and simmer. Here’s an easy recipe for homemade chicken stock.
Quick Chicken CurryIndian food fans, don't miss this recipe! Four ingredients, 10 minutes. Dinner is ready!
Quick Chicken PaprikaAn old family favorite ready in half the time, with all the creaminess you crave.
What is your favorite use for roast chicken? Do you prefer to cook it yourself or buy it?
Bryn Mooth is extending her 20-year career in publishing as an independent journalist and copywriter. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.
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