When it's hot, or you don't feel like cooking for any reason, one of my biggest helpers in the kitchen has been rotisserie chicken. I've learned to stretch 2 rotisserie chickens to make 5+ meals for my family of 6, and it not only saves a lot of time in the kitchen, it saves energy and money, too!
I'm not kidding – get 1 (or 2) rotisserie chickens, and you can make a whole bunch of meals! If you have a family of big eaters, you can also use any of these ideas and make just a few of the meals, or make as many as you can until the chicken runs out.
When we started eating healthy with the Trim Healthy Mama diet, I started searching for easy, inexpensive meals, and these have become my favorites.
I usually buy my rotisserie chicken at Costco (you can check out my THM Costco Shopping List here, if you need one), because it's gluten-free and MSG-free, according to their label. The trick to making 5 + meals out of one chicken is to pad each meal with extra ingredients. If you have big eaters, add extra beans, rice, quinoa, and lettuce where appropriate in the meals below.
Quick tip: If you don't love the taste of store-bought rotisserie chicken, a quick squeeze of lemon juice will brighten up the flavors and makes a big difference in the taste. You can also season each of the following dishes to taste.
Here's how I stretch 1 rotisserie chicken through 5 meals:
Day 1 (the day we buy the chicken) –
Dinner: Shred 1 chicken breast from the store-bought chicken and serve with a big pot of quinoa, seasoned with salt and pepper. My kids dump parmesan cheese and butter on theirs, but I skip those (or carefully add just as sprinkle of parmesan to keep it under 5 grams of fat) to keep mine a THM E. I usually add sliced veggies (like cucumbers, bell peppers, and tomatoes) or a side salad to fill me up.
Day 2 –
Lunch: I shred the other chicken breast on the chicken and serve it with 2 cans of black beans or 2 cans of refried beans and cooked brown rice (I make this really quickly with my Instant Pot). To cook the beans, I just dump the beans in a pot to heat them up (it takes about 5 minutes). I don't add anything to the refried beans, but I'll add cumin, salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste to the black beans as they're heating. This fills my kids (and me) up pretty well and is a THM E.
Dinner: I shred all of the dark meat, re-heat it, and make Pioneer Woman's Alfredo Sauce. Before my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease, we would eat this with Dreamfields pasta, but now we use cooked spaghetti squash (also made in the Instant Pot – I think I may need an intervention on my Instant Pot usage). This is a THM S.
After dinner, I pick all of the remaining chicken off of the bones (there isn't much, but I can usually get about 2/3 of a cup) and refrigerate it before using the chicken carcass to make bone broth. You can use an Instant Pot to save time, and get the broth done before bed time, or you can just follow the recipe linked above to make it more slowly. When the broth is done, you can make soup with it or freeze it and use it for any recipe that calls for chicken broth.
Day 3 –
Lunch: I use the little bit of chicken I pulled off of the chicken the night before and throw it on a garden salad. Since there is both light and dark meat, I use it in a big THM S salad – lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, boiled eggs, cheddar cheese cubes, the chicken, and ranch dressing. Or, if I only get white meat when I pull the remaining meat off of the bones, I'll make a green salad and toss with quinoa and light dressing for an E salad. Both are really filling!
I'll often buy a second chicken, pull all of the meat off, and freeze it in packs of white and dark meat to use with these meal options for a quick meal later in the month. It saves so much time, and it all tastes great!
I have a full printable worksheet with a BUNCH of rotisserie chicken meal ideas that you can get for free by signing up below!
What are your favorite things to do with a rotisserie chicken?