Tuesday, December 29, 2009

“Homemade” with Help
It’s 5 o’clock and you need to figure out what’s for dinner…fast. Skip the drive-thru and head to your local grocery store. Go straight to the rotisserie chicken. What next? With just a few extra ingredients (hey, you still want to “legally” go though the express lane), you can give the ready-to-eat bird an easy upgrade. After all, it’s used to a few twists and turns.

1. Chili chicken. Combine pieces of the chicken with red chili beans (drain them first), canned diced tomatoes with chili peppers, chicken broth, and barbecue sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Top with shredded cheese, if you like.

2. Chicken fried rice. Sauté garlic and scallions in oil, add shreds of chicken and veggies such as broccoli, mushrooms, and zucchini. Mix in rice and some soy sauce, then add a beaten egg, stirring until cooked.

3. Gyro. For a Greek-style sandwich, fill a whole-wheat pita with shredded chicken, hummus, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

4. Salad topper. Slice or shred pieces of chicken to put on top of salads—anything from Caesar to Mexican.

5. Mac and cheese and chicken. Macaroni and cheese can be more than just a side dish when you mix in some shredded rotisserie chicken.

6. Ravioli. Chop the chicken and stir into ricotta, basil, and Parmesan. Fold teaspoons of the mixture into wonton wrappers to make homemade raviolis.

7. Easy tamales. Mix chicken and salsa, then place between two slices of polenta in a ramekin. Microwave a minute to make it gooey and, presto, you have a great-tasting Mexican dish.

8. Super tortilla soup. Heat chicken broth with corn, scallions, and baby spinach. When it boils, toss in bite-sized pieces of chicken, a heaping spoonful of salsa, lime juice, and a handful of tortilla chips.

9. Thanksgiving sandwich. Combine prepared stuffing mix, chicken broth, onions, and celery to make a spread, then mix in slices of rotisserie chicken. Don’t forget the sliver of cranberry sauce!

10. Potpies. Grab a few premade miniature piecrusts at the store. Shred the rotisserie chicken and combine with a can of chicken broth and vegetables, such as carrots, celery, and peas. Add dashes of flour to make the mixture more firm. Scoop into the crusts, heat per crust instructions, and serve.

11. Pizza. Add shredded chicken to the top of frozen cheese pizzas or to homemade pizzas as a healthy alternative to pepperoni and sausage.

Hey, why did the chicken cross the road? To be your dinner!

Why would you want to ever cook chicken again?

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