I love rotisserie chicken. I breeze into the grocery store, grab a fully cooked chicken, and enjoy the wonderful smell all the way home.
For busy families, rotisserie chicken is an incredible gift. I buy one every week. It’s a great back-up option for those times when my children don’t like what I made for dinner. It’s also a great nut-free option to send in school lunches. Best of all, a rotisserie chicken saves a lot of time and effort when you use it to make a quick dinner. My weeknights are crazy busy, so I appreciate all the help I can get! I shred my chicken each week when I return from the grocery store so it is ready to go during the week whenever I need it. Here are my favorite ways to use my shredded rotisserie chicken.
To build a quesadilla, lay out a soft tortilla. Sprinkle on some shredded rotisserie chicken, your favorite salsa, and some cheese. I usually keep cheddar on hand but feel free to use whatever cheese is already in your refrigerator. Top everything with a second tortilla. Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat. I usually use about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place the whole tortilla ensemble into the skillet and heat until the bottom begins to brown. Keep an eye on it because it won’t take very long! Carefully flip the whole thing over and brown the other side. The cheese should be nice and melty at this point. Remove the quesadilla to a cutting board and cut it into wedges. I usually serve my quesadillas with salsa and sour cream.
Chicken salad is a great way to use up odds and ends from your refrigerator. I shred my rotisserie chicken into small pieces and mix it with enough mayonnaise to get the consistency I want. I season it with a bit of pepper. At that point, you can experiment with mixing in different fruits and vegetables. Some of my favorite mix-ins are diced radishes, grape halves, diced apple, and diced onion. Chicken salad is the only way I can ever get my children to eat radishes. You can put the chicken salad between slices of bread to make a sandwich or use it to top a salad.
Barbecue Chicken Pizza
While you are at the grocery store picking up a rotisserie chicken, also pick up some pizza dough. I like to spread my pizza dough out on parchment paper, but you can also just grease your pan and spread the dough out on that. Spread some barbecue sauce on the dough and top it with some shredded mozzarella cheese. Put some shredded rotisserie chicken on top of that. You can also add some chopped onion if you want. Bake the pizza according to the directions on the pizza dough packaging.
If you are really in a hurry, add some rotisserie chicken to a salad to turn it into a meal. When I need to pack a lunch, I often just toss some bagged salad with shredded rotisserie chicken, some cheese, and some salad dressing. If you have more time on your hands, you can try something a little fancier, such as a Mandarin chicken salad.
I enjoy making my own soup, but I don’t always have enough time! To speed things up, I always use rotisserie chicken in my soup so I can skip all the steps of chopping and cooking raw chicken. My kids enjoy chicken noodle soup, but there are so many options for chicken soups out there. The rotisserie chicken provides a nice shortcut. I simply skip all the first steps of the recipe that involve slicing and cooking the chicken.
Nachos are a great snack option. Everyone loves them and they are easy to make. Adding rotisserie chicken to nachos takes them up a notch. I like that it’s easy to make only as many nachos as you need. For one person, you can use a small plate and only a few crunchy tortilla chips. For a large crowd, use a platter. I usually make nachos when everyone is hungry NOW, so I go for the quick method. I throw some tortilla chips on a plate and then throw on my toppings, such as rotisserie chicken, cheese, and salsa. Then I just microwave the whole thing until the cheese melts. After that, I usually toss on some sour cream and perhaps some diced tomato or scallions if I am feeling fancy or they haven’t been eaten already.
Chicken burritos are a little more complicated than chicken quesadillas, but you can do it! Burritos are also a great way to use up any leftover rice that is sitting in your refrigerator. Food Network’s recipe is simple but tasty. If I am cooking for picky eaters, I usually just leave out the chipotle chile and substitute a tablespoon of either water or chicken sauce for the adobo sauce. My children enjoy chicken, but they really don’t appreciate spicy food.
Chicken Pot Pie
I love chicken pot pie, but it is definitely somewhat of a complicated, time-consuming effort. However, chicken pot pie becomes much more manageable if you use shortcuts. I shamelessly use all the shortcuts possible. I buy ready-made pie crust and use rotisserie chicken, frozen mixed vegetables, and canned chicken broth. Perhaps it’s not the same as grandma made, but I can make my shortcut version and keep my sanity.
Embrace rotisserie chicken into your kitchen. It’s inexpensive and will save you time and effort. You will feel accomplished after getting dinner on the table and you will have time afterward to enjoy some dessert!