1 Rotisserie Chicken = 5 Healthy Family Meals
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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?
© paul_brighton © Mara Zemgaliete
Hi Jen, thanks for these quick and easy tips :=)
Hi Rhonda, thanks for coming by! 🙂
I use leftover rotisserie to make chkn quesadillas for lunch. Another lunch idea is to use a little chkn for chkn salad and have with crackers. My kids will eat anything on a cracker.
Great ideas, thanks!!!
total drive thru sue, love these ideas!
I love the Ideas and the page. We must be big eaters! I think I would need at least 3 chickens to pull this off. But still is cheaper than 5 of them for 5 meals. That is with 6 people 2 adults and 4 teenagers!
4 teenagers would probably eat more! That makes sense!
I do THM wheatfree too (my journey began with the wheat belly diet.) do you have any ideas for wheat free “drive through Sue” things? I cant even do wasa crackers because of rye. Between no Ezk. Bread, dream field pasta, Joseph’s pita, low carb tortilla options there is not a lot left.
Oh my goodness, you’re in the right place! All of my menus and meal plans here are wheat-free. I have tons of meal ideas here! Plus, I have 215 meal ideas in my free ebook – you can get it by entering your email address at the top of the page. Here’s a link to the menus – https://thewellplannedkitchen.com/category/gluten-free-trim-healthy-mama-meals-and-menus
I am gluten free Paleo/ Whole 30. I love Siete cassava or almond flour tortillas, Simple Mills plain sea salt crackers, glass (sweet potato) noodles, or Konjac/ Miracle Noodles (rice noodle texture but zero carb and almost no calorie just have to prep well. These help me feel normal and use them a few times a week not daily. Oh, Sprouts has a Millet chia bread thats good if you so chia seeds. Or Udis bread is at most stores
For Day 1, how do you make one single chicken breast stretch for 7 people? Is the quinoa the star of the show, and the shredded chicken a topping? How big are the portions for each person, on average? I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around that many people being satisfied sharing just one chicken breast for dinner.
Yes, you’ve got it! I explain how we do it for each day above. The side ingredients, like quinoa, have extra protein so a smaller amount of shredded chicken from those really big Costco chickens for each person is fine. You could always buy 2 chickens and do the same thing – you’d still save time and money and get some meal ideas!
These are simple and tasty ideas! i would have to triple them but thanks for these tips!
Jen, you continue to boggle my mind! You are so inventive and conjure up some of the most wonderful meals and menus. I am in awe of your originality and your incredible ideas. I don’t know how you manage to do all of this day after day, week after week, all while home-schooling your children, running your household, and yet still managing to stick with your Trim Healthy Mama diet. I am totally impressed!
Thank you for wisdom, your innovation, and your sharing with the rest of us. It is much appreciated.
Patricia, that is so very, very kind of you to say! You made my day! Thank you for the encouragement – I’m so thrilled to know I’m helping someone!
I know this is an old post. I came here because of a link on the THM Bloggers FB page. These are some great ideas on stretching one chicken, thank you! I am just wondering though: if a chicken breast is cooked with the skin on, is it truly a THM Fuel Pull? Some of the fat would have cooked into the meat. It certainly is much juicier that way. I would guess that it is an S meat. In that case, it would make some of these recipes Cross-Overs instead of FP or E. Thoughts?
I do not eat the skin with the breast if I’m making an FP or E.
Additional uses you asked for?… Enchiladas – add in onion and whatever else you like heated for a chicken mixture to stretch it. Also chicken curry! We buy the Thai kitchen jar paste. So easy- use half a har of paste with 1 can coconut milk and dissolve then add frozen or canned veggies and chicken. Serve over cauliflower or regular rice. For the last small bit a taco salad could have added stuff to fill you up.