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« My Life in Recipes | Main | Peas in a Pod »

A Week of Chicken

By Lori Powell

My go-to find for a quick weeknight dinner is rotisserie chicken. When it first became the rage, all you could purchase was a whole bird that was pre-seasoned. Now you can buy just a breast or half a chicken that is organic and unseasoned.

I usually go for either the half or whole bird and then transform it into many weeknight dinners. When most of the meat is gone from the bones, use the carcass to make chicken soup or a flavorful chicken broth, including some of the meaty leftovers.

So instead of my usual recipe format this week, I thought it would be more useful to give you some ideas for what you can make from a rotisserie chicken for your quick-fix weeknight dinner.

  • Shred the chicken, discarding skin and bones, to make a tarragon chicken salad made with chopped celery and shallots, mayo, sliced almonds and chopped fresh tarragon. Add halved grapes or raisins with toasted walnuts and chopped apples to make it Waldorf style.
  • For a chicken avocado club sandwich, layer between slices of toasted whole wheat bread: sliced avocado, chicken, tomato, lettuce and bacon, with or without mayo.
  • For chicken tacos, toss shredded chicken in some BBQ sauce with a touch of chipotle in adobo. Fill corn tortillas with the BBQ chicken and top with store-bought slaw and pickled peppers or onions and shredded smoked Gouda or Cheddar.
  • For chicken BBQ pizza, use the same ingredients as the taco, except for the tortilla. Top store-bought, rolled-out pizza dough or a cooked flatbread with the chicken mixture and grill or bake until cheese is melted.
  • Toss shredded chicken into cooked pasta with grilled veggies, chopped tomatoes, bocconcini and a balsamic vinaigrette with a hit of fresh basil.
  • Add shredded chicken to sesame peanut noodles from your local Chinese restaurant for a protein boost, with chopped scallions, cucumber and shredded carrots.
  • Stir-fry chicken with cooked brown rice in a skillet with lots of chopped veggies (whatever you have on hand) in some vegetable oil and finish with soy sauce and sesame oil. Add chopped pineapple, nuts and fresh herbs to boost the flavor and nutrients.

For the finale:

  • Add the chicken carcass with water to cover, quartered onion, chopped carrots, bay leaf and thyme, and simmer until reduced, adding water if necessary, for 3 hours. Drain in a colander set over a pot and add leftover cooked chicken, egg noodles and assorted chopped veggies and, eureka, you have homemade chicken noodle soup! Good all year round or for whatever ails you.

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