Finding time to make delicious, healthy, homemade meals is hard to do, despite our best intentions. Between work, school, running errands, paying bills, and trying to have a life, dinner has a way of falling by the wayside. Either we end up starving or we go out to eat – one is bad for the belly, the other for the wallet, and neither gives us the nutrition that we need to survive and thrive in our lives.
Rotisserie chickens are a nice compromise between eating out and cooking. They come pre-cooked and are available from pretty much any supermarket, making it easy and efficient to bring one home for dinner.
While rotisserie chickens might cost a little more than $5, you can easily get 3 meals out of one pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, making it a perfect addition to our $5 meals series.
Meal #1: Rotisserie Chicken & Mashed Potatoes
The first meal is a no-brainer, where you basically just eat delicious roasted chicken straight off the spit. However, straight protein meals aren’t the most nutritionally-balanced option, so you might want to get some veggies in there. Rotisserie chickens are utterly delicious with just a side salad and some good bread, but you might want something a little more substantial to go with yours. For those in a hurry, a potato “baked” in a microwave oven or instant mashed potatoes are better than nothing and tend to be budget-friendly. If you have a little more time on your hands, buy real potatoes and make your own mashed potatoes. It’s easier than you think, is cheaper, and goes a long way! There might even be leftovers, to go with your leftover chicken dinners.
Meal #2: Chicken Sandwiches Or Chicken Salad
After you’ve eaten as much as you can of your rotisserie chicken, save the rest for chicken sandwiches. There tends to be a lot of good breast meat left, on the second round; simply carve off the best bits onto some good bread or a tasty bun, perhaps top with some mayo or spicy mustard, lettuce, and tomato, and you’ve got a restaurant-quality meal for next to nothing! You can also dice the leftover chicken breast, mix with mayo and chopped celery, and you’ve got a refreshing chicken salad to take for lunch for a few days! (Pro Tip: classic chicken salad tends to include chopped walnuts, as well, so you might want to splurge for some bulk nuts, to bring a little crunch to your chicken salad.)
Meal #3: Chicken Soup
Once your rotisserie chicken is nothing but bones, DON’T TOSS IT OUT! You can make food out of that, too! First off, there’s probably more meat on those bones then you might realize. Secondly, chicken bones can be used to make your own homemade chicken stock – just add any onions, celery and carrots you find in the back of the fridge for extra flavor. Chicken stock is pretty inexpensive, in its own right, but there’s nothing like fresh, homemade chicken broth, which tends to lower in sodium and higher in flavor. It’s also less wasteful, both food-wise and financially. Why buy something, when you can make it for free?
This is just one of hundreds of examples of how you can spruce up leftovers, or get multiple meals out of a single dish. What are some of your favorite ways to spice up leftovers? Let us know in the comments!