Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is one of the best dinner hacks of all time. It's inexpensive, convenient, and provides a healthy source of protein for the whole family. Serve it with some roasted or steamed vegetables and it makes a great meal on it's own, but one rotisserie chicken can also be the basis of countless other dishes. Here are 10 family-friendly ideas that are so impressive no one will know you took a shortcut.
Get taco night ready in less than 15 minutes with the help of a rotisserie chicken. Pull the meat off the bones and pair it with other fillings shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, lettuce or cabbage, avocado, tomatoes, or red onion. Don't forget the sour cream, hot sauce, salsa, and some lime wedges for the perfect touch. Add some corn tortillas or taco shells, and then everyone can assemble their own meal according to their personal tastes.
These savory stuffed pastries will “wow" family or guests even though they're incredibly easy to make—the secret is thawed frozen pie crust. Start with some chopped yellow onions and garlic and sauté them in a pan. While those vegetables are cooking, pull all the rotisserie chicken from the bones and place it in a bowl. Then, combine the cooked onions and garlic with the chicken, one small can of drained diced chiles, shredded cheese, a large dash of cumin, and a pinch of salt. Stir all the ingredients together to make the empanada filling.
Now roll out the pie crust and cut it into three-inch rounds using a cookie cutter. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center of each round and fold one side of dough over the other so that it's shaped like a half moon. Seal the edges using a fork and bake on a greased sheet pan following the package directions.
3. Lettuce cups
Here's a quick and easy meal that will please everyone in your life, including those who are gluten-free. Just combine shredded rotisserie chicken with thinly sliced cucumber and red onion. Add one tablespoon each of rice vinegar and soy sauce and then a drizzle of fish sauce. Stir to combine. Serve the chicken salad with large leaves of Boston lettuce, and optional toppings like peanuts, chopped green onions, fresh herbs (think basil, mint, and cilantro), and Sriracha for those spice fiends.
4. Chicken salad
This childhood favorite is a classic for a reason. Combine chopped rotisserie chicken with mayonnaise or plain yogurt and your family's favorite ingredients, like chopped celery, onion, walnuts or pecans, or dried cranberries. Don't be wary to experiment with something new like tarragon, chopped apple or pear, fennel, avocado, radish, pistachios, or smoked almonds. Make it extra special and serve it on toasted rye bread or baguettes.
5. Fried rice
This comforting dish is the ultimate one-pot meal that comes together quickly, and the result is tasty dinner complete with veggies and protein thanks to rotisserie chicken. Start with four cups of leftover rice (day-old rice has had time to dry in the fridge, which will produce a better, crispier texture).
To start, sauté some chopped onions, garlic, and fresh grated ginger in vegetable oil over medium heat. After the onions are soft, turn the heat up to high and add some vegetables like peas, bean sprouts, chopped scallions, carrots, or bell pepper. After cooking for a few minutes, add the leftover rice. Stir constantly until each grain is toasted and coated with oil. Now turn down the heat and add the shredded chicken. Stir until all the ingredients are distributed evenly and the meat is warm and heated through.
6. Chicken curry
Reduce the time standing at the stove by using rotisserie chicken in your next curry. Over medium heat, sauté some chopped onion in two tablespoons of vegetable oil and cook until soft. Next add garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Cook for two minutes and then add one chopped tomato, a cup of water, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes and then add the pulled chicken.Turn off the heat and add some plain yogurt, and then serve it with rice.
7. Chicken and dumplings
There's no easier way to cook up this Southern classic comfort dish than with a rotisserie chicken. First, shred the chicken, but try to keep it in larger pieces. In a cast-iron skillet, sauté chopped onions, celery, carrots, garlic, a pinch of dried thyme, and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat, add the can of cream of chicken soup and rotisserie chicken, and then stir to combine. Top the mixture with canned biscuits and then place the skillet in the oven. Bake according to the package directions.
8. Quick chicken noodle soup
Over medium heat, cook aromatics like chopped onion, celery, carrots, and freshly ground black pepper in a soup pot. After five to 10 minutes, pour in two cans of chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Next pour half a bag of noodles (egg noodles, fusilli, or even orzo) into the bubbling broth and cook them according to the package directions. Finally, add shredded rotisserie chicken to the soup.
This spicy one-pot dish from Louisiana combines rice with tomatoes, onions, and peppers. In a large pot, cook rice with tomatoes, chopped andouille sausage, and several tablespoons of Creole seasoning. After the rice is cooked, add shredded rotisserie chicken and serve.
This family favorite is easier (and cheaper) to make at home with prepared dough from the store. Plus, you can make it just the way you like it and also top it with chicken for some healthy added protein. For a classic BBQ chicken pizza, top the dough with shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced red onion, shredded chicken, and your favorite barbecue sauce. Bake according to the dough package's directions.