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5 delicious (and easy!) recipes for rotisserie chicken leftovers

No one ever has to know how easy these delicious meals are to make

We all love them. Nearly every store has its own version, from Walmart to Costco, and all those smaller grocery chains sprinkled throughout town. They really are just the absolute star of the hurried cook’s kitchen, the rotisserie chicken. And we couldn’t love them more. Grocery store rotisserie chickens, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways. For who among us hasn’t unloaded the groceries from the car, only to stand in the kitchen, picking at one of these deliciously roasted chickens, ignoring the clutter of the other bags that need attention?

We stand, entranced, devouring the juicy tenderness of the meat, the salty sinfulness of the skin. And can’t we admit that not one of us hasn’t been lured by their sultry siren call, coming from the deli section? That savory-sweet smell tangoing its way down the aisles, tempting us with promises of an easy dinner and a satisfied palate. No roasting pan to clean, no oven to preheat, these ready-to-please busty beauties can be yours for around seven bucks. Talk about tempting.

Classic Roast Chicken
Image used with permission by copyright holder

And while these roasted little darlings are beautiful all on their own, there are so many options when it comes to doing them some culinary justice. They stand ready to tag in, to pinch-hit in nearly any recipe that calls for baked or roasted chicken. For that, dear grocery store chickens, we are thankful.

These are a few of our favorite recipes, available to make your rotisserie chicken shine. Whether your chicken is the star of the show, warm from the grocery store, or some third-day leftover scraps you have in the fridge, these recipes will have your mouth watering, and we daresay your skewer spinning.

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry Recipe

bowl of red curry with chicken.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This is the cheater’s version of a slow-cooked, took-all-day, slaved-in-the-kitchen-for-hours kind of curry (but you’d never know it). We realize that curry recipes can be overwhelming with their lengthy ingredient lists, but this is a quick and absolutely delicious version comes together in about 30 minutes, and no one will have any idea. The savory chicken, swimming in that sweet coconut broth, accented with delicious Thai-inspired flavors will have you coming back to this recipe over and over again.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (coconut oil is also nice here if you have it on hand)
  • 14-ounce can coconut milk (it’s important that the milk be full-fat)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. In a large pot, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until just slightly browned, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Add ginger, carrots, and curry paste and cook for about 1 minute, until everything is combined.
  3. Add coconut milk, chicken broth, and chicken. Simmer 6-8 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, and cilantro.
  5. Garnish with bean sprouts and serve over rice, if desired.

Asian Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe

A hand holding a Thai turkey lettuce wrap. 
Photo Credit: Sweet Peas and Saffron Image used with permission by copyright holder

This recipe is ever-so-slightly inspired by P.F. Chang’s famous lettuce wraps. We, however, have added a punch of sweetness by including pineapple. The sweetness of the pineapple blends beautifully with the heat and savory notes of the other ingredients. It really is the perfect combination.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
  • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, toasted
  • 1 head lettuce (iceberg, butter, and romaine all work well)
  • Lime wedges
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add onion. Sauté until onions are sightly browned, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Add garlic, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hot sauce, carrots, and pineapple. Stir to combine.
  3. Stir in chicken and cook until heated through.
  4. Spoon mixture into individual lettuce leaves, topping each serving with toasted peanuts, green onion, and a squeeze of lime.

Lemony Chicken and Orzo Soup Recipe

Jessica and Lon Binder / Flickr

Very few things on this earth are as soul-satisfying and comforting as chicken soup. This recipe is a fresh take on the original, with zesty lemon giving the broth a zippy brightness. Orzo replaces traditional noodles for another fun (and easier to hold on the spoon) twist. Because of its lightness, this soup works well on cold winter days as well as on refreshing spring and summer evenings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, pulled or chopped
  • 6 ounces orzo pasta
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-4 carrots, chopped
  • 2-4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, picked from the stem
  • 6 ounces frozen spinach
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are sightly browned, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Deglaze the pot with wine, scraping the bottom to bring up all of the delicious browned bits.
  3. Cook until the wine has reduced by half
  4. Add broth, thyme, spinach, and red pepper flakes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Add orzo, chicken, and lemon juice. Return heat to a simmer, cover pot and cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until orzo is cooked through.

Chicken Quesadilla Recipe

Kevin/flickr

If it’s a crowd-pleaser you’re after, this recipe is for you. Even the pickiest of eaters (kids included!) will flip over these easy quesadillas. Serve them with a bit of rice and a salad, and you’ve got a fabulous weeknight meal. Pan-fry some up before the game, and bam! You’ve just become the host for all future sporting events.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, chopped or shredded
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn (frozen will work, too; just be sure it’s thawed before using)
  • 1/4 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, diced, and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 2 cups Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 medium flour tortillas
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Avocado slices (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are sightly browned, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Add chicken, corn, tomatoes, and taco seasoning. Cook until warmed through.
  3. Remove chicken mixture from pan, and add about 2 teaspoons of oil to pan. Allow oil to heat before adding one tortilla.
  4. Add some cheese to the top of the tortilla, followed by about a quarter of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with more cheese, before folding in half, and flipping to cook the other side.
  5. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  6. Serve with avocado, lime, and sour cream.

Waldorf Chicken Salad Recipe

https://www.flickr.com/photos/schroederschoembs/

The versatility of this recipe will have you coming back to it over and over. Spread this chicken salad in a croissant, over toast, or enjoy it on its own for a light lunch. It’s even delicious rolled up in a tortilla for a wrap sandwich on the go. This is also a crowd-pleasing and impressive dish for any daytime get-together, such as a luncheon or birthday party.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, chopped or shredded
  • 3 cups salad greens (a mixture is best here)
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 large apple, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup mixture of red and green grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: Chicken, salad greens, apple, celery, grapes, pecans, pistachios, and dried cranberries.
  2. In a separate bowl, make dressing by mixing mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, honey, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the dry ingredients with the dressing, and serve cold.

The beautiful thing is that this is only just the tiniest sampling of what a rotisserie chicken can be transformed into, even when you haven’t the time to roast your own. So the next time you find yourself being seduced by that sultry scent in aisle 5, do yourself a favor, and just give in.

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Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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