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How many ways can you use a rotisserie chicken?

By Noelle Carter
Los Angeles Times

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  • Chicken Chimichangas

    Adapted from

    1 1/2 cups picante sauce or salsa, divided

    4 cups chopped or shredded rotisserie chicken

    1/2 cup diced onion

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    1 tablespoon favorite chili powder

    1 teaspoon salt

    10 (8-inch) flour tortillas

    1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican-style or favorite cheddar cheese

    Nonstick cooking spray or canola oil

    Guacamole, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomato

    COMBINE 1 cup picante sauce, chicken, onion, cumin, chili powder and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

    PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet.

    SPOON 1/3 cup mixture below center of each tortilla; top with about 2 tablespoons cheese. Fold in 2 sides of tortillas to enclose filling. Fold over top and bottom edges of tortillas, making rectangles. Secure with wooden picks, if needed. Place, folded-side down, on greased baking sheets. Coat chimichangas with cooking spray or brush lightly with canola oil.

    BAKE for 8 minutes; turn and bake 5 minutes longer. Remove picks if you used them. Serve chimichangas with remaining picante sauce and desired toppings.

    Per serving: 258 calories (20% from fat), 6 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 29 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 439 mg sodium, 48 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.

    Yield: 10 chimichangas, or 5 servings.

  • Sweet and Sour Roast Chicken

    Adapted from

    1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

    2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

    2 tablespoons less-sodium soy sauce or tamari

    2 tablespoons water

    2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, or to taste

    1/4 cup fresh lime juice, divided

    1 warm fully cooked rotisserie chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces

    1 1/2 cups sliced seedless cucumbers

    1/2 cup sliced red onion strips

    1 teaspoon rice vinegar

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    1 small head frisee, torn into bite-size pieces

    1 fresh red or green chile, sliced (optional)

    WHISK together the brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, water and chili garlic sauce in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons lime juice.

    BRUSH half of the sweet-and-sour sauce over the chicken pieces.

    TOSS cucumbers and red onion in a medium bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, rice vinegar, salt and pepper. Arrange the frisee, cucumbers and onions on a platter and place chicken pieces on top. SPRINKLE with sliced chile, if desired. Spoon remaining sauce over chicken or serve on the side.

    Per serving: 762 calories (38 percent from fat), 31 grams fat (9 grams sat. fat), 35 grams carbohydrates, 82 grams protein, 1,211 mg sodium, 246 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.

    Yield: 4 servings.

  • Herbed Chicken and Artichoke Pizza

    Adapted from “150 Things to Make with Roast Chicken and 50 Ways to Roast It,” by Tony Rosenfeld (Taunton, $14.95).

    1 1/2 cups thinly sliced or cubed seasoned rotisserie chicken

    1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, well drained

    2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    1 prepared (12-ounce) pizza crust

    1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, well drained and patted dry

    1 jarred roasted red pepper, patted dry and thinly sliced

    1/2 cup pitted black olives, cut in half

    1/4 pound fontina cheese, shredded or sliced

    PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees.

    MIX chicken, tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.

    BRUSH remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and a few pinches of kosher salt on the pizza crust. Place crust on pizza pan or baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and top with chicken mixture, artichokes, red pepper, black olives and cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

    Per serving: 382 calories (35 percent from fat), 15 grams fat (5 grams sat. fat), 48 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams protein, 1,001 mg sodium, 22 mg cholesterol, 4 grams fiber.

    Yield: 6 servings.

  • Rotisserie Chicken Soup With Rice

    1 tablespoon canola oil

    2 large cloves garlic, peeled, minced

    1 cup chopped onion

    3 mini red bell peppers, sliced into thin rounds

    1 tablespoon brown sugar

    1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes with chipotle

    1 tablespoon chili powder

    1 teaspoon cumin

    4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

    6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

    Salt and black pepper to taste

    2 cups cooked brown rice

    For serving: Tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sliced green onion and cilantro

    HEAT the canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and saute 1 minute or until fragrant. Add onion and red pepper slices and saute about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with brown sugar, stirring to melt.

    ADD the tomatoes with their juice, chili powder and cumin. Stir in the chicken and broth. Bring just to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Stir in cooked rice just before serving. Top with chips, cheese, onion and cilantro as desired.

    Per serving: 235 calories (19 percent from fat), 5 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 20 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 582 mg sodium, 60 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.

    Yield: 8 servings.

After a long day, who hasn’t stumbled into the grocery store without the faintest idea of what to put on the table, when suddenly the tempting whiff of a freshly roasted chicken puts everything into perspective?

And although a rotisserie chicken is great served on its own, it lends itself to so many dinner options.

Here are 24 easy dinner ideas incorporating rotisserie chicken. No matter your skill level in the kitchen, there’s something here for everyone.

A chicken and ...

1 Quesadillas: Soften chopped onion and bell pepper or mushrooms on the stove, then combine with chopped chicken and cheese in a folded tortilla and toast on a griddle or large skillet until the cheese melts.

2 Chopped salad: Toss chopped chicken, apple, red onion, raisins and almonds in a bowl. Toss with a dressing made of mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt flavored with a touch of wine or cider vinegar, mustard and fresh chopped herbs.

3 Thai pasta with peanut sauce: Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, chopped garlic and a dash of hot sauce in a saucepan with enough coconut milk or water to thin. Warm, then toss with pasta, chopped chicken, roasted peanuts and cilantro.

4 Lemon chicken pasta with basil: Chop chicken and saute to warm with a little chopped garlic and mushrooms if desired. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and toss with pasta, shredded basil and freshly grated Parmesan.

5 Enchiladas: Coat bottom of a baking dish with red or green enchilada sauce. Roll shredded chicken, cheese, sauteed onion and peppers into tortillas and place in the dish. Ladle with more sauce and top with cheese. Bake until bubbly. Top with chopped green onion.

6 Chicken and spinach casserole: Combine chopped chicken with fresh spinach, sauteed onion and garlic, and bechamel (butter and flour cooked to form a roux, with milk added to make a thick sauce) or cream of mushroom soup. Top with breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese, chopped herbs and a little melted butter and bake until bubbly.

7 Sloppy Joes: Sweat finely chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic until translucent, then add chopped chicken to warm. Stir in equal parts marinara and barbecue sauce and serve on buns.

8 Macaroni salad: Toss macaroni with chopped chicken, celery and red onion and toss with a dressing of mayonnaise flavored with mustard and lemon juice.

9 Empanadas: Sweat diced onion, chile or bell peppers, and mushrooms until translucent and then add diced chicken, cheese and a little chile sauce. Add filling to biscuit or pie dough cut into rounds. Seal and bake until golden brown, then serve with chile sauce.

10 Chicken tortilla soup: Saute chopped onion and bell pepper until lightly golden, then add a container of fresh salsa and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add several fresh corn tortillas torn into pieces, and then use an immersion blender to puree in the pot. Bring to a simmer and add chopped or shredded chicken, more diced onion and pepper. Serve with crumbled fresh cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips, diced onion and cilantro.

11 Shredded chicken tacos: Sweat sliced onion with chopped chile pepper and tomatoes, then add shredded chicken and enough chicken broth to moisten. Serve in warm tortillas with shredded lettuce or cabbage, salsa and toppings of choice.

12 Burritos: In a large, warmed tortilla, combine shredded chicken with black beans, rice, lettuce, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo. Roll and top with chile sauce and more cheese before serving.

13 Taquitos: Roll shredded chicken in small tortillas and deep-fry. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

14 Barbecue chicken sandwich: Combine shredded or chopped chicken with barbecue sauce. Serve, topped with coleslaw, in toasted buns.

15 Savory turnovers or hand pies: Sweat chopped onion, carrot and celery in a saute pan. Add peas, potatoes and chopped chicken and enough broth to cover. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, then swirl in goat cheese or bread crumbs to thicken the broth. Spoon into puff pastry or pie dough, seal and bake until golden.

16 Chili: Saute onion, bell or chile pepper and garlic. Add chopped chicken, canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and drained canned beans. Thin with chicken broth and simmer. Serve with crumbled cheese, green onion and sour cream.

17 Lettuce cups: Chop chicken and toss with a little cornstarch (2 tablespoons for a whole chicken’s worth). Saute chopped garlic and ginger over high heat until golden brown. Add chopped shiitakes and water chestnuts. Drizzle with soy sauce, rice vinegar and a touch of sugar. Add chicken and cook until the sauce is thickened. Drizzle with more soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil and serve in lettuce cups topped with chopped roasted peanuts and green onion.

18 Couscous: To cooked couscous or quinoa, add diced olives, red onion, sauteed garbanzo beans, chopped chicken, raisins and diced dried apricot and dates. Flavor with cilantro, ground cinnamon, cloves and coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice.

19 Pita sandwich: Spread hummus inside a halved pita round and top with shredded chicken. Top with plain yogurt flavored with chopped fresh cucumber, cumin, garlic, fresh mint and lime juice.

20 Chinese chicken salad: Combine chopped lettuce and shredded cabbage with drained canned mandarin oranges, sesame seeds, chopped chicken and sesame ginger dressing. Garnish with slivered almonds or fried wonton strips, chopped cilantro and green onion.

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