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Chickeny Goodness

There are few things more satisfying after a long work or school day than comfort food that is ready-to-eat. A whole rotisserie chicken can be picked up on your way home and then become part of a, delicious, easy meal. What can be more comforting than the juvenile joy of eating with your hands and not being scolded, while noshing on juicy chicken off the bones of a drumstick or wing!

A whole chicken may seem a large purchase for solo dining but it can become a useful addition to the craft and finesse of eating solo.The meat leftover after that satisfying dinner can be utilized in a variety of ways, either for lunch to-go items or upcoming meals at home.

Many full service grocery stores offer rotisserie chickens, found in a warming box, usually near the Prepared Foods Deli or the Meat Counter. Roasting chickens whole is an ideal way to cook them as the meat stays succulent and flavorful as it cooks on the bone. The pieces will easily pull apart since the chicken has become ultra-tender in the slow roasting process. The drumstick, thigh, and breast pieces will easily separate from the central body.

Some evenings, I can devour half the chicken, usually all the dark meat first, the flavorful thighs and drumsticks.  A meal can come together even quicker if you have on hand some pasta, rice or potatoes that you had cooked extra of the night or two before.  A reliable frozen vegetable can be added or you could have picked up a side dish when you picked up the chicken at the Prepared Foods Deli.   

The leftover meat will most effectively be stripped from the bones will it is still fresh and has not yet been refrigerated.  I go through this process twice, first to pull large pieces off.  Then I will do a more detailed picking second time through to make sure there are no smaller bone or connective pieces remaining. Be sure to also pull the meat off the central body section also. Then place the meat on a cutting board and chop into bite size pieces. It should be used within 5 days of purchase.

The leftover chicken could become chicken salad for work lunches. Mix diced chicken with some small diced celery, onion, or bell pepper, mayonnaise, salt and other favorite seasoning blend, like a southwest Blend or Italian blend, then layer between spinach on whole grain bread.

Chicken tacos, chicken curry, sesame chicken or chicken soup can also be options with the remaining chicken. Keep in mind that this chicken is, of course, already cooked so can be added at the end of a skillet preparation like a stir fry or a curry. If the chicken was raw, it would be cooked in the skillet first, then removed from the pan, and added back after sautéing you choice of veggies.

Also, because the chicken is already cooked, it will need some coaxing to add seasoning.  A marinade is effective with raw chicken, because it will soak into the raw meat, but a marinade will not be as effective with already cooked meat.  To use rotisserie chicken for a taco or a curry, make slurry with some of the dry seasoning. For example, put 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning into a medium bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water and whisk with a fork. This is the slurry.  Add the pulled chicken into the bowl and combine with seasoning. Or, you can use a liquid pre-made sauce that you have purchased to season chicken.  A teriyaki sauce, peanut sauce, or cooking salsa would be suitable choices. 

The rotisserie chicken is another example of the rotating list of ingredients, some fresh and some prepared, which can become part of evolving meal plans.