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Rotisserie Chicken to the Rescue

A rotisserie chicken can help busy moms—like me—get dinner on the table without all the baking and basting.

You know those days when you're running ragged at work or traipsing the kids from place to place and you don’t have a minute to breathe, let alone prepare a nice meal for everyone? If you're like me, you have one of those days at least once a week.

A rotisserie chicken always saves the day for me and often helps out with the next couple of days as well. Chicken lasts in the refrigerator for three to four days, but you can also freeze it for up to three months. Wegmans knows this. Have you noticed that rotisserie chickens wait for us at the cash registers? They know what moms need: dinner—fast!

It’s amazing what you can do with a $5-8 grocery purchase.

Not only can you use the bird as a nice family meal with some rice, potatoes, stuffing or noodles and steamed vegetables, but you can think outside the traditional chicken dinner and create something unique, elegant or fun. Wrap it in tortillas, make enchiladas; top pita bread or French bread with it for pizza; it works great in soup, casseroles and chili. Don’t forget cold chicken sandwiches. They’re the best.

There are so many uses for a rotisserie chicken, there's probably a recipe book out there. If not, someone's probably writing one. Hmm, that’s a good idea, isn’t it?

Here are some of my favorite things to do with a rotisserie chicken:

Chicken Nachos – My family loves Chili’s Chicken Nachos, so for a fun, quick meal, we often try to make our own version. We mix shredded rotisserie chicken with shredded cheese and taco sauce. Then we lightly spray a baking pan or casserole dish with Pam, spread the chips out, layering a bit, and drop the chicken/cheese mixture on top of the chips and add extra cheese on top. Bake until bubbly. You can even use salsa, mixing the chicken in the salsa before you top the chips with it. If sauce or salsas aren’t for you, add vegetables like chopped onions, tomatoes and black beans to the shredded chicken and spread over the chips, cheese them up and bake. Serve with sour cream and salsa on the side. This is so easy to prepare and fun to eat.

Barbecue chicken sandwiches - What’s easier than shredding the chicken, putting into a sauce pan with your favorite barbecue sauce, warming up until its bubbly, and then filling a big crusty roll with your concoction? My husband loves this!

Chicken Salad – Chop the chicken into small pieces, add mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s Light exclusively because it’s the only mayo I like), halved grapes, slivered almonds, chopped onions, chopped celery, a little celery salt, minced onion, salt and pepper. This is delicious, simple to make, and healthy on whole grain bread with some lettuce and a sliced tomato. If you like fancy food, make little tea sandwiches. Your little princesses will love them when they have tea parties. I like chicken salad for lunches too; it beats peanut butter and jelly any day.

Soups - Chicken noodle soup is the most obvious soup you can make with a rotisserie chicken, but feel free to add escarole or rice or lemon, whatever floats your soup bowl. I love chicken tortilla soup, and shredded rotisserie chicken is the perfect ingredient.

(As a bonus, you can use the carcass to make chicken broth for another day. Way to be a smart and savvy shopper!)

Chili – Throw everything in a crock pot or stock pot, including the chopped or shredded rotisserie chicken—an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink mentality works here. We like to use diced tomatoes, chopped onions, green or red peppers, cut carrots, minced garlic, any kind of bean, salsa, soup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, hot sauce—it all works. Slow cook until all flavors blend together.

Casseroles – Shredded chicken, broccoli, cream soup, a dollop of mayonnaise, a little milk and cheddar cheese makes a great chicken and broccoli casserole, topped with a bread crumb and butter mixture. Yum! Tomato sauce, pasta and mozzarella cheese makes a great Italian meal; Stove Top stuffing, frozen mixed vegetables (defrosted) and some chicken broth or cream of chicken soup make a delicious one pan comfort food dish.

My friend Kris uses shredded rotisserie chicken to make buffalo chicken dip. Mix it with some hot sauce and sour cream and cheese, then warm it up and let the dipping begin! She also uses it for her favorite “go-to” soup.

There are tons of recipes online for quick meals using rotisserie chickens. Check out Disney Family—they have a scrumptious-looking chicken tortilla pie I can’t wait to try. Some other sites with rotisserie chicken recipes include Real Simple and Food Network.

Busy moms are always looking for a way to get dinner on the table quickly, inexpensively and deliciously. A rotisserie chicken always comes to the rescue and can turn your day around by making dinner healthy, simple and fast.  

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