Looking for an easy dinner idea? It doesn't get much simpler than the rotisserie chicken you can find at the market. They're perfect served on their own but also work well in many familiar dishes. Best of all? You can get dinner on the table in about an hour or less, and without a lot of stress.
I wrote an article for our Saturday section in which I shared 25 ways to incorporate rotisserie chicken in simple dinner dishes. No matter your cooking level, there's something here for everyone. These aren't formal recipes but rough methods to walk you through the paces of some favorite and classic dishes. Here are just a few ideas:
Chicken tortilla soup: Sauté chopped onion and bell pepper until lightly golden, then add a container of fresh salsa and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add several fresh corn tortillas torn into pieces, then use an immersion blender to purée everything in the pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and add chopped or shredded chicken, more diced onion and pepper. Serve with crumbled fresh cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips and diced onion and cilantro.
Lettuce cups: Chop the chicken and toss with a little cornstarch (2 tablespoons for each whole chicken). Sauté chopped garlic and ginger over high heat until golden brown with a slightly nutty aroma. Add chopped shiitake mushrooms and chopped water chestnuts. Drizzle over soy sauce, rice vinegar and a touch of sugar, scraping any flavoring from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken and cook until the sauce is thickened. Drizzle over more soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil as desired and serve in lettuce cups topped with chopped roasted peanuts and green onion.
Barbecue chicken pizza: Sauté a sliced onion until softened and golden brown. When cool enough to handle, spread over store-bought or prepared pizza dough. Top with a mixture of half barbecue sauce and half marinara sauce, add chopped chicken, drizzle over more sauce and top with mozzarella cheese and sliced red onion. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the baked pizza before serving.
I've also heard from a number of readers sharing their own great ideas. Lela emailed me to share these suggestions:
"First, with the chicken still warm I make chicken sandwiches on toast with whole berry cranberry sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and a little mayonnaise.
"Second, the Chinese Chicken salad (Costco's Far Eastern sesame dressing is perfect for it)
"Third, I make a "Denver Omelet": scrambled eggs with chicken breast, onions, red pepper pieces, and a little baby kale for color; serve with tomato ketchup.
Check out the article for the rest of the ideas. And please comment below to share some of your ideas with me and other readers.
Want one more idea? Here's a salad recipe I fix often when I've had a long day and can't think of anything else to get on the way home. Follow the recipe, or riff on it, substituting your favorite cheese, nuts, greens or store-bought dressing. In any case, I think I'll be fixing this salad myself tonight.
MIXED GREENS WITH CHICKEN, GOAT CHEESE AND PECANS
Total time: 25 minutes | Serves 8
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 prepared rotisserie chicken, warm or at room temperature
16 to 18 cups mixed greens (such as spinach, baby greens, romaine, etc.)
1/2 red onion, sliced lengthwise into very thin strips
1 cup brined olives, such as nicoise or kalamata
1/3 cup capers
1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the pecans with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 10 to 14 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
2. While the nuts are toasting, prepare the dressing: In a medium bowl, place the remaining one-half cup oil. Whisk in the sherry vinegar, then the mustard. Whisk in the thyme, oregano, one-half teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Taste and adjust as desired. This makes about 1 cup vinaigrette.
3. Remove the legs and breasts from the chicken. Chop the chicken into coarse cubes and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, arugula and dandelion greens. Toss in the red onion, olives and capers, then dress with one-half cup of dressing. Toss the salad, adding additional dressing as desired. Toss in the cubed chicken.
5. Divide the salad among individual plates. Crumble the goat cheese in large chunks over the salads, then sprinkle over the pecans. Serve immediately.
Each of 8 servings: 469 calories; 30 grams protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 37 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 81 mg. cholesterol; 697 mg. sodium.