How to Turn Leftover Deli Roast Chicken Into Amazing Meals
What a Great Deal!
If you shop at Sam's Club, Costco, Safeway, WinCo, or any other large retail grocery chain, you have probably seen rotisserie chickens in the delicatessen section of the store. Some places (I won't say who because I'm not promoting any one name) boast a price of $4.99 every day. Some have a $5 buck Friday. At any rate, if you can get someone else to do the cooking and take home a moist, tender, tasty chicken ready to eat, that sounds like a pretty good deal, doesn't it? And it's certainly better nutritionally and from an economic standpoint than opting for a sack of hamburgers and greasy fries for a fast dinner.
But Wait, There's More
That rotisserie chicken doesn't have to be just one meal. Do you use every part of that chicken, or just slice off the breast, thigh, and leg portions and toss the rest of it into the trash?
If you end up throwing half of it away, you're missing out on so many cheap (or cheep, pardon the pun) and yummy bits. Let's take a look at a few suggestions on how you can use "the whole bird."
After the Main Meal...
...you will have leftovers. Little bits of chicken clinging to the carcass. Slice (or pick) them off and place in a zip-lock bag. If you have 2 cups of meat, you are ready to make another meal.
If not, then just save what you have and pop it into the freezer. The next time you purchase a rotisserie chicken, do it again. And again. When you have at least 2 cups of meat, come back here—there are so many things you can make!
Recipes in This Article
- Chicken broth
- Chicken noodle soup
- Chicken tetrazzini
- Pesto garlic chicken pizza
- Chicken macaroni salad
- Rosemary chicken salad
- Chicken bacon quesadilla
- Chicken-cheddar-avocado grilled cheese sandwich
- The ultimate white chicken chili
- Chicken fried rice
- Homemade rotisserie chicken
Do you eat the wings? On a rotisserie chicken they are typically pretty small, but don't throw them away. Put them in a stock pot. After you've eaten the meat from the drumsticks and thighs, put those bones in there too. And the carcass? After you've removed all the little bits of cooked meat (see above paragraph), put that in the pot as well.
What's next? Well, toss in two carrots (you don't have to peel them), a stalk of celery, and an onion. Cut it in half, but you don't even have to remove the skin. Add tap water to cover, set on the stove at high heat; bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer (lowest heat setting), put on the lid and let it work. Four hours at least, all day is best. Don't have that kind of time? Use a crock pot. Or save everything in a freezer-safe container until you do have the time.
After cooking strain out the solids; what's left is chicken stock. This is golden! The perfect base for soups, casseroles, gravy, stir fry. Any recipe that calls for a can of chicken broth is the perfect use for this. And guess what? It's low sodium, low fat, costs only pennies, and you made it yourself!
Store it covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or store in the freezer for use later (within 3 months). I like to pour mine into ice cube trays or muffin tins so that I can take out exactly what I need and keep the rest in the freezer.
Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, pared and cut into ½-inch thick slices
- 2 ribs of celery, cut into ½-inch thick slices
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cups chicken stock (see recipe above, or use low-sodium canned chicken stock)
- 8 ounces dried noodles
- 2 cups cooked chicken
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in thyme, bay leaf, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
- Stir in noodles and then reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are cooked (they will be soft, but not mushy).
- Stir in chicken, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to heat chicken. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf and serve.
Makes about 6 servings
The SixSisters (yes, they really are sisters, and there are six of them) have a great blog where they share tried and true family recipes. Their chicken tetrazzini uses rotisserie chicken and stretches 4 cups of diced cooked chicken to feed a family of 10.
Pesto Garlic Chicken Pizza
Use store-bought fresh pesto for this recipe, or click on the link below to find my home-made version.
- pizza dough (pre-baked crust, dough from your favorite grocer/deli, or homemade)
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/3 cup basil pesto
- 1 cup diced cooked chicken
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
- Grease two baking sheets with olive oil and set aside.
- Divide dough into two balls and roll each out to a 12-inch circle. Ease into prepared pans.
- Top the dough evenly with garlic, then spread the pesto on top. Add the chicken and mushroom slices then sprinkle on the cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Chicken Macaroni Salad
- Carb Diva's Chicken Macaroni Salad
Diced cooked chicken combined with macaroni to make a savory main dish salad
Rosemary Chicken Salad
- Rosemary Chicken Salad
Not your typical pale, bland chicken salad laden with mayonnaise. Nuts and celery provide crunch, cranberries or grapes give tang, herbaceous rosemary and heart-healthy yogurt bring it all together.
Chicken Bacon Quesadilla
This one has been popular as a pizza; why not try it in a tortilla?
- burrito-sized flour tortillas
- cooked shredded chicken (leftover from a rotisserie chicken?)
- crisp cooked bacon (everything's better with bacon)
- grated Cheddar cheese (melty goodness)
- creamy ranch dressing (just a drizzle)
- minced green onions (for a little kick)
- Take a fresh tortilla, place a generous amount of chicken, crisp bacon, and shredded cheese on it.Fold it over as you would a turnover. Place in a hot, ungreased skillet and cook lightly, turing often until the cheese is melted.
- Drizzle with ranch dressing and garnish with green onions.
Chicken-Cheddar-Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Bread – Sourdough bread
- Cheese – Sharp Cheddar cheese
- Meat – shredded rotisserie chicken
- Fruit or Vegetable – sliced avocado
- Condiment – chipotle mayonnaise
The Ultimate White Chicken Chili
The author/creator of the blog PlainChicken.com created this white chicken chili that takes only about 10 minutes to put together. This recipe uses a whole rotisserie chicken, but it can easily be cut in half.
Chicken Fried Rice
Believe it or not, cold leftover rice works better than having a fresh pot of new, hot rice.
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 cup cooked vegetables of your choice (carrots, corn, peas, broccoli, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cups cold white rice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- Heat one teaspoon of the oil in a large shallow pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan; cook and stir about 1 minute to warm. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add another teaspoon of oil to the pan. Stir-fry the veggies about 1 minute until heated through; add the garlic to the pan and stir and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Push to the side of the pan.
- Add the third teaspoon of oil and add the beaten eggs to the center of the pan. Stir quickly to scramble.
- Add the rice to the pan along with the chicken, and push the veggies back into the center. Cook and stir gently but constantly. Drizzle in the soy sauce and cook until all is heated through and evenly distributed.
Home Made Rotisserie Chicken
You Can Make Your Own Rotisserie Chicken (Without the Rotisserie)
A whole chicken—if you are patient you will one day be rewarded by a sale; grocers often sell whole chickens for less than one dollar per pound. Purchase a 4-pound bird and you are on the way to having a rotisserie chicken that is even less costly than the $4.99 bird at the "unnamed" wholesale outlet. Yes, you can make this at home.
The secret to that succulent chicken isn't a barbecue spit; it's the slow roasting and the seasoning. Here is how to get the same taste in your own kitchen.
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika (I like to used smoked paprika)
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 medium-size onion, cut into quarters
- 1 4-pound whole chicken
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
- Clean the whole chicken—remove the giblets (the liver, gizzard and heart which are probably in a small bag within the chicken) and the neck. Rinse, drain, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place the quartered onion into the cavity of the chicken.
- Rub the dry-seasoning mix onto the skin of the chicken. If you can loosen some of the skin from the breast and rub some of the seasonings under the skin, this would be even better!
- Place chicken in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours.
That's it. You've just made your own rotisserie chicken, without the rotisserie. It's fresher and cost less than the one you buy at the deli, and you did it all by yourself. Don't you feel proud?
© 2017 Linda Lum