Buy, bring home, then what?
They’re everywhere. Those domed plastic boxes cradling whole, store-cooked rotisserie chickens sitting under heat lamps. Not too appetizing on first glance.
But with a little imagination and not a lot of time, there’s a whole lot that can be done to transform those odd birds into something delicious.
Elizabeth Williams, who owns Cheesecakes by Elizabeth and regularly feeds any mix of her blended family of six children and a husband, not to mention friends stopping by all the time, loves a rotisserie chicken.
“They make dinner so easy,” she says. “Remove the meat and shred it with a fork. I like to use it in chicken enchiladas, chop it up to make chicken salad, or I’ll mix it with onion and cheese to make quesadillas. Also, there’s a salad at Costco that’s a super weeknight dinner. It’s an Asian chopped salad. You take the chicken off the bone and put that on top. So easy. Or, if you don’t use the nut and wonton package [that comes with the salad], just take the cabbage and carrots and whatever comes in the salad and put it in bone broth. It literally takes five minutes and makes a great Asian soup.”
Elizabeth’s bone broth also starts with rotisserie chickens. Often, she’ll freeze the meatless carcasses until she’s saved three or four, enough to make soup. “Put carrots, onions and celery in a crock pot, just like chicken soup. Use just the bones of the chicken, though, no meat. Then add some apple cider vinegar to bring out the collagen and nutrients from the bones. I add turmeric because that’s super healthy, too. Then put it on low and cook it for like nine hours. If you don’t use a crock pot, just keep it at a super-low simmer on the stove. When it’s done, I’ll drink it from a cup, or I’ll use it as a base for other soups. However you use it, you’ll get health benefits.” Some of those benefits, according to bone-broth devotees, include improved digestive health, better skin, increased immune function and detoxification.
“Costco, for sure, has the best rotisserie chicken,” Elizabeth says. “It’s like a 3-pound chicken, which is bigger than all the grocery stores sell. I don’t think it’s organic [it’s not], but it’s always perfectly cooked and tastes great.” Another perk – Costco birds are $4.99, while the grocery store-variety, while smaller, can cost almost twice that. If you’re lucky, you’ll hit the store on a day when they’re selling the chicken already off the bone. One less step.
Leslie Margolis, mother of two middle-schoolers, says that people love her rotisserie chicken green chile stew. “It’s probably why some people like me, if you want to know the truth,” she says. “I’ve made a lot of friends with this recipe, especially during football season.
“You start with one jar of HEB’s Green Chile Stew. Just dump it in the pot, and then shred up the whole [rotisserie] chicken and add it. I buy onions and celery already chopped up, but do it however fits you best. I sauté them with a little olive oil in a separate pan and then dump them into the stew. Then I add one can of white cannellini beans, some cumin powder, and a whole thing of tomatillos. They’re in a large can, which is not easy to find. You’ll have to look on the bottom shelf at the grocery store. I cut the big tomatillos up, take the little stem out of the middles, and then throw them all in. If it needs to be thinned out, you can add some chicken broth. Or, pour in the chicken juice from the bottom of the rotisserie chicken. Then, I just heat it up until it comes to a boil, then let it simmer for a while and all cook together.”
Leslie is notably organized in all things, so it’s fitting that she has an entire menu planned around her friend-making green chile stew. “I serve cornbread with it,” she says, offering another easy, “doctored-up” recipe. “Use the Marie Callender’s cornbread mix; then add half a can of [Del Monte] Summer Crisp Corn to that recipe. I also add one cup of sharp cheddar cheese. That makes 12 muffins.
“And then there’s a salad we put with it: Mix a bag of spring mix [lettuce], slivered almonds – they have to be toasted – thinly sliced red onion, supremed grapefruit [fruit with the membrane and pith removed], and add your favorite dressing.”
The best part? Once it’s a component of a great recipe, nobody will ever be the wiser that you didn’t roast that chicken yourself.
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