I once met a woman that had 600 cookbooks and read them each night for fun. Hmmm…I have several cookbooks that NEVER get opened and really need to be purged. The majority claim recipes that kids will devour, which is a complete lie, but I continue to hope! And then I have a few that are my go-tos, including my own four.
But in all honesty, I rarely ever use a cookbook.
I don’t have time.
And I suspect you don’t have the time either, which is why many are likely to make something from a package, pick something up, or have something delivered.
Time to try out a new recipe, or any recipe for that matter, is just not in the cards.
That’s why I approach dinner prep like an episode of Chopped from the Food Network. They are given a basket of mystery ingredients and have 20-30 minutes to whip it up into an amazing dish–the one that falls short is eliminated.
In my version however, I control my mystery ingredients—and never get eliminated! I prep the same things each week and have standard staples stocked for my pantry. And with those same ingredients I have several variations for each that I can make without thinking. Because it’s more of assembly, then culinary mastery!
For any ingredient, I think to myself, “How can I make this into a soup, pizza, taco, salad, pasta, rice, or a sandwich?” And then I use what I have to bring it together! I like to think of it as Improv Kitchen!
So each week when I am grocery shopping, rotisserie chicken is always on the list. It’s my secret weapon for extremely time starved days! It’s crazy versatile and oh so good! I can’t possibly make a chicken that good at home and suffice it to say, I snitch a ton while it’s still warm from the store. Don’t judge me!!!
So here are five of my favorite ways to use rotisserie chicken. And this certainly isn’t the full comprehensive list of how to use it! Experiment!
This is light enough for a summer salad, but is made warm so it’s actually great for the colder months too! It brings together the taste of curry (yellow, versus the red from the chicken curry below) and caramelized onions. It is great over greens or as a hearty sandwich.
This was a go to soup of my mom’s. She was well known for her soups and this one is so homey! It also can be made gluten and dairy free.
Pizza: Barbeque Chicken Pizza
For this, start with your favorite crust. For us, we pick up gluten free crusts from a local pizza restaurant and have them in the freezer. I brush the crust with olive oil, and use barbecue sauce in lieu of standard tomato sauce. I shred up the chicken and toss it with some more barbecue sauce and sprinkle it on the pizza. Then I sauté half onion rings in some olive oil and then add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to caramelize them. Sprinkle those on top and finish with the cheese of choice! Yum!
Taco: Chicken Tacos
This is the easiest. Mix the cut up chicken with taco seasoning and water to simmer it down and then use in lieu of ground beef. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Rice: Chicken Curry
This is very close to my chicken curry soup, but thicker and better to eat over rice or quinoa. Sauté whatever combination of veggies you have in your crisper, i.e. peppers, onions, celery, summer squash, garlic, spinach, etc. in some olive or coconut oil and then add the chicken. Add one can of coconut milk, and 1-3 tablespoons of red curry paste depending on how hot you want it, and then stir until the curry dissolves. Finish it with the juice of one lime (or a tablespoon of bottled) and a good pinch of salt.
If you start looking at the ingredients in your kitchen as either a soup, taco, rice, pasta, salad, sandwich, etc. it makes life so much easier. And relax…just use what you have!