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5 ways to use rotisserie chicken for your next easy dinner

An heirloom tomato salad with chunks of rotisserie chicken
Use rotisserie chicken for an heirloom tomato salad with Banyuls vinaigrette.
(Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
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Temperatures may have dipped a bit below 90 degrees for the weekend, but the dog days of August are looming. Short of camping out in a mall or movie theater, strategies for beating the heat are in high demand. I’m Julie Giuffrida, filling in for Ben Mims this week with recipes to help you keep your cool in the kitchen.

Much as I love to cook, I am unwilling to feel as though I am working inside the oven while trying to get dinner on the table. I’m all about keeping the cooking to a minimum but still prefer to make my meals at home rather than eating out during the work week. My solution is this compromise: rotisserie chicken.

One of my favorite go-tos, rotisserie chicken is a terrific starting point, and one chicken can provide several meals. It is available at most local grocery stores, though quick-service restaurants such as Pollo a la Brasa, California Chicken Cafe and Zankou Chicken often do a better job and offer the convenience of having your bird ready and waiting for you to pick up if you call ahead to order it. Yes, you can also order some side dishes and bring home a full meal, but my fridge is often full of leftovers begging to be part of another meal.

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When I don’t have a lot of leftovers hanging around, there are plenty of staples and pantry items that can quickly come together for a tasty, easy dinner. These are some recipes from our archives that I use either as is or as a jumping-off point for what to do with my pile of shredded chicken.

Spicy Chili Crisp Noodles

If you are willing to tolerate the modicum of heat that may result from boiling water for pasta on the stove-top, try adding rotisserie chicken to Genevieve Ko’s Spicy Chili Crisp Noodles. (You don’t have to make the noodles or the chili crisp from scratch — store-bought will do just fine.) The savory, spicy, tangy sauce will complement the chicken, which gives the meal an extra hit of protein.

Get the recipe.
Cook time: 10 minutes.

Homemade chili crisp atop a bed of homemade noodles.
(Genevieve Ko/Los Angeles Times)

Chicken Quesadillas With Tomatillo Salsa

Another stove-top option is Diane Morgan’s Chicken Quesadillas With Tomatillo Salsa. Shredding some chicken and grating cheese takes almost no time and you can whip together a lively tomatillo salsa using fresh or canned tomatillos. Of course, there are plenty of tasty store-bought salsas if you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own.

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Get the recipe.
Cook time: 30 minutes

A round quesadilla, cut into six pie-shaped pieces, topped with tomatillo salsa, on a green plate.
(Perry C. Riddle / Los Angeles Times)

Chicken Tabbouleh Salad

Mayi Brady’s Chicken Tabbouleh Salad will have you cook the tabbouleh, but for about 15 minutes of stove-top time you get a whole lot of bulgur pilaf to eat in salads, as a side dish or as the base for a bowl, which, of course, you will top with, among other things, some of that rotisserie chicken.

Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes.

Bulgur pilaf tossed with shredded chicken, romaine lettuce and pine nuts.
(Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times)

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The Curious Palate’s Chicken Salad

If you want nothing to do with the oven or the stove, look to the Curious Palate’s Chicken Salad and simply skip over the part about roasting the chicken. Garnished with dried cranberries and roasted, sliced almonds, the salad is bound by a garlicky mayo that gets a punch of flavor from a freshly made basil pesto. (If you don’t want to make your own aioli or pesto, you can buy those premade as well — we don’t judge.)

Get the recipe.
Cook time: 45 minutes.

Chicken salad with almonds, dried cranberries and Rocky Jr. chicken.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Chicken and Heirloom Tomato Salad With Banyuls Vinaigrette

For powerful simplicity, Josiah Citrin’s Chicken and Heirloom Tomato Salad With Banyuls Vinaigrette is just that: chicken (wink, wink — from the one you just brought home, rather than one you’ve roasted at home as the recipe suggests), tomatoes and earthy, almost heady vinaigrette thanks to the Banyuls vinegar.

Get the recipe.
Cook time: 25 minutes.

Chicken and Heirloom Tomato Salad With Banyuls Vinaigrette
(Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
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