Rotisserie Chicken Is the $4 Dinner Hack We All Need

It's the money- and time-saving secret to simpler weeknight meals.

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February 10, 2020
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Photo by: Bloomberg Creative Photos/Getty Images

Bloomberg Creative Photos/Getty Images

Rotisserie chicken has become a staple of weeknight dinners. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, picking up a pre-cooked chicken has many benefits. But there’s more to a rotisserie than just picking it off the bone. Find out why you should pick up a rotisserie tonight and all the ways you can actually use one.

A Quick History of the Rotisserie Chicken

Back in 1985 a fast casual chain called Boston Market (formerly Boston Chicken) specialized in the sale of rotisserie chicken. People would pick up a pre-cooked bird along with several side dishes, and have a family dinner that felt homemade. The concept caught on quickly and 35 years later you can find these pre-cooked birds sold throughout the country in virtually every supermarket. According to the National Chicken Council, 2018 sales of rotisserie chicken were close to 900 million birds with about 700 million rotisserie chickens being bought at the retail level (like in grocery stores and club member stores). No doubt America has embraced these delicious birds, and here are many reasons why they should be in your healthy eating repertoire.

It’s Budget-Friendly

You can pick up a rotisserie chicken for $3.99 to $9.99 per bird. One average rotisserie chicken has about four cups of shredded chicken which serves four people.

It Saves Time

Say goodbye to long prep times, especially during your busy work week. When using a rotisserie chicken, you don’t have to separate the raw from ready-to-eat foods or handle raw chicken and worry about the spread of bacteria like salmonella in your kitchen. You also don’t have to remember to thaw your chicken or worry how long it will take to cook. By using rotisserie chicken, you can save a minimum of 15 minutes and up to an hour, depending on the type of recipe you make.

It's a Recipe Short-Cut

Using a rotisserie chicken helps circumvent more complicated steps in recipes. For example, when making chicken lasagna you would need to cook up your ground chicken before using it in the recipe. Using a pre-cooked bird helps simplify and speed up recipes.

It’s Nutritious

Rotisserie chicken provides a variety of nutrients including protein, numerous B-vitamins, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. You can cut back on calories and saturated fat by removing the skin of the chicken before eating. Because a rotisserie chicken is small, it is tough to divide the dark and white meat — so you'll likely be eating a combo of both. If sodium is of concern, select unflavored rotisserie chicken, which tends to have slightly less salt.

It’s Versatile

Rotisserie chicken is delicious on its own, but it can also be used in a wide variety of recipes. In my latest cookbook The Best Rotisserie Chicken Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes Using A Store-Bought Bird you can find breakfast, salad, sandwich, soup, snack, appetizer and dinner recipes that you can easily whip up using a rotisserie chicken. A few of my favorites include a Chicken, Kale and White Bean Salad, Game Day Dip, Grilled Apple, Gouda, and Chicken Panini, Hawaiian Chicken Pizza, and Mac and Cheese with Chicken. Below you will find the recipe for my Chicken, Kale and White Bean Salad.

Chicken, Kale and White Bean Salad

Makes: 4 servings

Serving size: 2 cups

Ingredients

1⁄4 cup (60 mL) chopped raw walnuts

4 cups (1 L) baby kale

11⁄2 cups (375 mL) chopped rotisserie chicken

14- to 19-oz (398 to 540 mL) can reduced-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1⁄2 cup (120 mL) Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette (recipe below)

For the Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette

1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon zest

Juice of 3 lemons

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp (10 mL) light brown sugar

1 tsp (5 mL) dried parsley

1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1⁄8 tsp (0 .5 mL) freshly ground black pepper

1⁄2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Heat the walnuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until the walnuts are lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, add the kale, chicken, beans and walnuts. Drizzle with the Lemon Herb Vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat.
  3. For the Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, brown sugar, parsley, salt and pepper. While whisking continuously, slowly drizzle in the oil until combined.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 399; Total Fat: 26 grams; Saturated Fat: 3 grams; Total Carbs: 27 grams; Fiber: 7 grams; Sugar: 2 grams; Protein: 19 grams; Sodium: 300 milligrams

Copyright Toby Amidor, The Best Rotisserie Chicken Cookbook, Robert Rose, 2020.

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