A few weeks back a good friend of mine came to me about an article she read talking about the convenience of a rotisserie chicken. She gave me the idea to have a ‘mini-series’ of posts with recipes- all made from one pre-cooked bird. This idea was fantastic. I realized myself that using a rotisserie chicken is such a SAVER- both on cost and time. I mean- helllllooooo…Who’s going to cook a whole chicken, cool it down, pull the meat off the bone and shred it into little pieces just to get started? Weeellllll- I admit, I would–but that is me. More often than not, though, I use one vs. cooking a raw 4 pound chicken at home. Rotisserie chickens are a simple, readily available solution. From carryout shops and casual dining establishments to small grocery stores and huge food warehouses, most of us don’t have to travel far to find a roast chicken. For about $4-$6, depending where you shop, it makes for an affordable lean protein. Just take one home, invest about five minutes to pull the meat away from the skin and bones, and then the sky’s the limit! You’re already halfway to a bunch of healthy and quick dishes.
Before you get started on any of my deliciously simple chicken recipes here are some tips and tricks for buying and cooking with rotisserie or roasted chickens.
Know what you’re getting. One rotisserie chicken will give you about 4 cups of shredded chicken, both white and dark meat. Make sure to remove the skin-your dishes with turn from healthy and low fat to a Big Mac with wings. No offense, Ronald. The typical chicken translates into about 12 ounces of light meat (My FAV!) and 8 ounces of dark meat (no skin), which gives you a total of:
34 g fat
166 g protein
0 g fiber
451 mg sodium
Remove the chicken from the bones and shred (or chop). Store the shredded chicken immediately in a covered container in the refrigerator until needed. There used to be (and may still be..) a stigma about letting food cool before putting it in the fridge because the other food stored in there may get warm too..blah..blah..blah- DO NOT wait for food to cool, DO put it away quickly after cooking. You can buy your rotisserie chicken on the weekend, then shred and freeze it for use later in the week. Just pop the container of frozen shredded chicken into your refrigerator (not on the counter) in the morning when you leave for work. It should be mostly thawed by the time you get home.
The possibilties are endless..I was in such a complex this week when I was trying to decide what I was going to make. It works as filling for soft tacos, enchiladas, or quesadillas. It can also be a featured ingredient in a pasta or rice dish, a casserole, or in a dinner salad, soup, or sandwich. Earlier in the week, another friend of mine sent me a recipe for soup- so, I chose soup as my first recipe. Yummy, yummy soup.
Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1.5 teaspoons bottled minced garlic (I LOVE this stuff. I’m a lazy garlic chopper.)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) can Stewed Tomatoes, undrained (Mexican Style, if available)
2 1/4 cups Reduced Sodium Chicken broth
1 cup whole corn frozen
1 can Ranch Style beans
1 (10.5 ounce) can Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed with water
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1.5 cups Rotisserie Chicken, shredded
1 cup crushed tortilla chips (I used blue corn)
1 sliced avocado (optional)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic, onion and chicken; sauté 2 minutes. Add chile powder and cumin; stir well. Add broth, beans, chilies, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Top with tortilla chips and and serve with light/fat-free sour cream, avocado, and cheese.
Nutritional Information: Makes 6 servings
Stayed tuned for the next recipe I make with the same rotissiere chicken.