A rotisserie chicken is one of life’s great dinner bargains — you can get one for as little as $5 at a warehouse store. And with just a little extra effort, you can stretch that $5 into four meals for a small family (if your family is large, get two chickens).
These meals are a quick fix for weeknights if you do the prep work on the weekend. Dismember the chicken for the Day 1 meal, set aside the breast meat and make the sauces for Day 2; make the stock for Day 3; shred the last of the meat for Day 4. By Monday all the dirty work will be done.
Follow this flow chart through four days of good eating.
DAY 1: The chicken as is: legs, thighs, wings
Cut off the breast meat; refrigerate for Day 2 meal.
DAY 2: Sliced breast meat with dipping sauces
Sauces with punch
An assertive sauce keeps your second-day chicken meal from tasting like the first day’s. Both of these are easy to make ahead:
>> Garlic/Ginger Sauce: Combine 2 tablespoons each minced cilantro, ginger and green onion. Add 5 tablespoons vegetable oil. Season with salt to taste.
>> Satay Sauce: Combine 1/4 cup coconut milk and 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter. Add 1 tablespoon each lime juice and honey, plus 1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce.
Make stock with the carcass:
Bones and skin go into the Crock-Pot. Add the bones from your Day 1 dinner. Add 4 cups water. Cook on low overnight. Strain stock and skim fat. No Crock-Pot? Simmer several hours on the stove, until bones fall apart. The stock becomes your Day 3 meal.
Your favorite soup, such as:
Tom Yum Soup
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons EACH lime juice and fish sauce
- 1-inch piece ginger, sliced, crushed
- 2 stalks lemongrass, tender parts only, sliced, lightly pounded
- 1 Thai chili pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 15-ounce can straw mushrooms, drained
- 1 cup EACH halved cherry tomatoes and sliced green beans
- 8 large shrimp, peeled
Combine stock, lime juice, fish sauce, ginger, lemongrass and chili in pot; simmer 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except shrimp; simmer until beans are tender. Add shrimp; cook until pink. Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 80 calories, 1.5 g fat, no saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, Greater than 2,000 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 8 g protein
Pull off all the meat left on the bones. You’ll get at least a cup. Add leftover meat from the previous days’ meals to make your Day 4 meal.
Chicken salad or sandwiches
Curry Chicken Salad
Combine 1 cup shredded chicken meat (left from the stock pot) with 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or mayonnaise. Add 1/2 cup minced onion, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add your choice of mix-ins:
>> Diced apples, halved grapes or dried fruit; serve in a papaya half.
>> Diced tomatoes, celery and/or bell peppers; serve over greens or in a sandwich.
Note: The shredded meat is also good in burritos, wraps, somen salads and other quick dishes.
Fried chicken skin
A snack or garnish
Bits of skin can be deep-fried in vegetable oil heated to 365 degrees. They’ll splatter a lot, so be prepared to clean up. Fry until golden brown and crisp.
Makes a great snack, like meaty potato chips. Crumble them over a salad or tuck whole pieces into a steak sandwich (since you’re probably tired of chicken).
In the end …
All that you’ll throw away is a cup of small bits of bone.