Meal prep is the bane of my existence, along with laundry. And vacuuming. Not ironing, because I don't do that, but if I did, it would be too.
But anything I can do to simplify and streamline the old daily grind of getting delicious food on the table and into our bellies brings joy to my soul.
Enter the rotisserie chicken. Precooked, it can be the solution to your dinnertime woes. However, it can also be $5 in the garbage can if you don't actually use it
One of my Costco staples is a rotisserie chicken, not because I actually like to eat the chicken by itself. Honestly, that's not one of my favorite meals, but it is a regular item I buy so that I can dice it up, put it in a gallon freezer bag and throw it in the freezer. The already cooked chicken helps me get dinner on the table because a frozen blob of raw meat tends to be the Dinner Deal Killer for me as I'm frequently not remembering about dinner until 4pm. Or later..
By the way, a Costco rotisserie gives you 9 cups of diced chicken. At least the one I diced today did, but I'm always trying to buy the biggest one I can find. That equaled 2.68 lbs of meat in my baggy. FYI.
Also, my dog likes it when I buy a rotisserie. She's never more faithful or attentive than when I'm chopping one up.
Anyway, here are a few of my favorite precooked, diced chicken meals. All of these are really really delicious and easy and many are relatively fast, because those are my main requirements: good, easy, and quick. They also use pantry staples, meaning you could just realize that shocker, your dependents are requiring yet again to be fed another dinner and you could whip one of these bad boys from what you have in your kitchen. Very few things are worth packing kids to a grocery store before dinner. At that point I'll just pack them up to Taco Bell, thankyouverymuch.
So in no particular order:
#1 Sliced Chicken with Potatoes and Gravy
No rocket science here for the chicken, just buy it from the store, except to say that I like my chicken cut across the grain of the meat, meaning I cut the entire breast off the bird then cut it perpendicular to the breast. It's just less chewy that way. That's a gross way of saying it, but it's true.
Also, this gravy is amazing. Like, I could drink it. It's probably so good because it's totally healthy. Or not. But it's delicious.
It's also very flexible as I hardly ever have fresh herbs so I use 1/3 the amount with dried herbs. Also, I hardly ever have cream so I use milk and just leave out the alcohol. It calls for drippings from the bird which you can just take from the bottom of the black container the chicken came from. Or not. Chicken broth works too.
I have made it exactly as called for (minus the alcohol) and I really don't notice a difference between it and all my lazy substitutions, but I'm no Gravy Master or anything.
#2 Hawaiian Haystacks
These are totally from scratch (no cream of whatever soup involved), delicious, and super quick and easy, especially if you've got a bag of frozen diced chicken. This is one of those meals that all of my kids are happy with because they can add whatever toppings they're loving, which means cheese and those crunchy chow mein noodles for some.
Some of my favorite toppings she doesn't mention are pineapple chunks, toasted shredded coconut, and toasted almonds. Sometimes the toasting happens and sometimes we're lucky to have any toppings at all.
This meal is even easier and faster if you have rice in the freezer. When we're having rice for dinner, I like to make a big old batch of brown rice in my instant pot, then freeze the leftovers flat in a gallon freezer baggy. Then I can break off hunks as needed and microwave in a covered bowl, stirring occasionally until it's warmed up.
#3 Chicken Taquitos
Oh man, these are yummy and if you use small flour tortillas, they come together pretty fast. I've done corn tortillas with them which are really good too but they are more fussy.
It's a winner. Plus, in theory they freeze really well. Not that we've ever had leftovers.
#4 Chicken Noodle Soup
This is another slam dunk around here, mostly because of the quantity of those thick noodles. Even my anti-veggie boy will eat this, politely avoiding the celery and carrots of course, but I figure some of that nutrition has got to seep into the broth, right?! This comes together pretty quickly and is a great way to use the broth I make with the leftover chicken bones in the old instant pot. The other way I like to use the broth is to dump it down my sink after I forget about it and leave it in the fridge for like 2 weeks.
Dang Costco doesn't sell those noodles any more, probably because it's not organic enough or something. My mom found them for me at Winco if you have one around.
#5 Chicken Pot Pie
Oh boy. This is my favorite pot pie. Instead of a thick, soggy crust, you bake this parmesan bread crumble stuff separately then add them on top of your pot pie. They are dangerous. Do your best to not sample the crumble before it's time to eat because you won't be able to stop. You've been warned.
I do chop and microwave a potato then add to the mix, because is it really a pot pie without potato? I think not.
FYI: this one is NOT fast but it's absolutely worth it. And the veggies mean you can have like 3rds, because we all know that if a meal has vegetables, they cancel out the massive amounts of butter used in the rest of the dish.
#6 Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas
Just about anything with 'chipotle' in the recipe title is my happy place. I'd probably eat chipotle chocolate covered strawberries. Actually, that kind of sounds good...
This is no exception. Smokey, cheesy, flavorful, and now I'm really hungry. Dang it.
While I would have to buy the stuff to make this, this salad in a jar is truly amazing and diced rotisserie chicken is perfect in it. I highly recommend it. When I've made it for more than myself, I've just eyeballed all the amounts in a big bowl.
So there you are, my favorite recipes with a rotisserie chicken. Next time you're at Costco, grab one and dice it up then thank me at 4:45 when you realize you need dinner. Again.