Rotisserie chicken adds flavor to autumn menus

Not only will it save you time, it can be used in a plethora of dishes to create fast and delicious fall meals

    It’s fall, when time is at a premium. So what do you do when it’s dinnertime and you haven’t planned anything?
    Rotisserie chicken to the rescue. Rotisserie chicken is inexpensive and already cooked, saving you time and often money.
    It’s flavorful and juicy, making it easy to reheat. Or, if you beat the family home, keep it warm by putting the chicken in a 250-degree oven until they arrive and you won’t have a dried out carcass.
    Rotisserie chicken is also an extremely versatile food. Add some potatoes and a vegetable and it’s a meal by itself. But there are myriad other ways to use rotisserie chicken to prepare a wealth of other dinners.
    Along with a few vegetables and rice or noodles, add it to broth to create a hearty and quick soup.    
    It can be the base for a filling lasagna or chili, incorporated into a stew or added to a salad.
    You can make a plate of nachos or a chicken bowl, or add it to eggs for an omelet or frittata.
    If you are making a dish that calls for cooked chicken but you don’t have any on hand, a rotisserie chicken will fill the bill.
    Here are some examples of meals made with rotisserie chicken from

Weeknight Rotisserie Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
3 celery stalks, diced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 pound plain rotisserie chicken, meat shredded and carcass reserved
1 pound fresh potato gnocchi
1 5-ounce bag baby spinach

    Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrots and celery, season with salt and pepper and sauté about five minutes, until softened. Add garlic and sauté one minute, until fragrant.
    Add water, bay leaf, parsley and chicken carcass. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover, leaving slid ajar, and simmer for 30 minutes.
    Remove and discard the chicken carcass, bay leaf and parsley. Add shredded chicken and gnocchi and simmer about three minutes, until gnocchi is al dente. Add spinach and cook one to two minutes, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
    Makes six to eight servings.
    Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for as long as five days or frozen for three months.



Cheesy Chicken and Mushroom Lasagna

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 small onion, diced
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed from bones and shredded
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
4 cups warmed milk, preferably whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder, plus more
1 teaspoon dry sherry or marsala, optional
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
16 lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

    In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté about four minutes, until they start sweating. Add onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and cook about eight minutes, stirring often, until onions are translucent. Add wine and bring to a boil, then continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer mushroom mixture to a bowl along with the shredded chicken.
    Add the remaining butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium heat. Stir in flour until thick paste forms, then cook another minute. Add milk and chicken stock and cook 10 to 15 minutes, whisking often, until the mixture is thickened. Whisk in salt, mustard powder, sherry and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, followed by 1/4 cup grated Parmesan.
     Place noodles in a large pot of boiling water and cook seven to eight minutes, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and place on a lightly greased sheet pan.
    Fold chicken and mushroom mixture into the bechamel sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning.
    In a separate bowl, combine mozzarella, Gruyere and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Spread 1 cup chicken mixture into the bottom of a large, lightly greased  baking dish or lasagna pan. Arrange four noodles on top of the chicken, overlapping if necessary. Spread about one cup chicken mixture over the noodles, followed by one cup cheese. Repeat layers, ending with cheese on top.
    Bake, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven about 45 minutes, until lasagna is hot and bubbly. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
    Makes eight to 10 servings.


BBQ Chicken Calzone

1 8-ounce ball pizza dough, room temperature
2 to 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
3 to 4 ounces smoked gouda cheese, grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Olive oil

    Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place pizza stone on the center rack.
    Lightly flour work surface or large sheet of parchment paper and a rolling pin. Gently flatten dough ball with the tips of your fingers, then begin rolling the dough into a large circle. Keep lifting up the dough and dusting the surface with flour as needed, to keep it from sticking to the work surface. If the dough is springy and won’t hold its shape, let it rest for a few minutes.
    If you’re not rolling the dough out on parchment, transfer it to a pizza peel dusted generously with cornmeal.
    Combine shredded chicken and barbecue sauce in a mixing bowl. Taste and adjust amount of sauce as desired. Spread tomato sauce on half the pizza round, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the side. Pile barbecue chicken over the sauce, followed by a generous handful of red onions, shredded gouda, and Parmesan. Season with red pepper flakes and kosher salt.
    Fold dough over the toppings and press the edges to seal. Roll the edge up and over itself, then crimp with your fingers or a fork. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
    Slide calzone onto the pizza stone or, if using parchment, slide parchment directly onto the stone or bake on a baking sheet. Bake eight to 20 minutes, until calzone is hot and golden-brown.
    Cool calzone 10 to 15 minutes before cutting in half and serving with additional tomato sauce and Parmesan on the side.
    Makes two to four servings.
    To make smaller, individual calzones, divide the dough in half, then roll and stuff each half separately. Baking time might be slightly less, so begin checking the calzones after about eight minutes.



White Rotisserie Chicken Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Shredded meat from 1 rotisserie chicken
2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, optional
1 pound frozen corn kernels
Sour cream
Diced avocado
Crushed tortillas
Chopped fresh cilantro

    In a 5-quart or larger Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and sauté about five minutes, until translucent and softened. Add garlic and sauté one minute, until fragrant.
    Add chicken broth, shredded chicken, white beans, green chiles, cumin, oregano and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, covered, for 20 minutes. Add frozen corn and simmer one minute, until cooked through. Season to taste with additional salt if needed.
    Garnish with sour cream, diced avocado, crushed tortillas, and cilantro and serve.
    Makes six to eight servings.
    Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for as long as five days or frozen for three months.


Chicken Spaghetti

1 medium red or green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 medium yellow onion
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, preferably white
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes or tomatoes with green chiles
1 pound dried spaghetti
Breast meat from rotisserie chicken or about 4 cups shredded, cooked chicken
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole or 2% milk
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

    Dice bell pepper and mince garlic cloves, then place in a medium bowl. Dice onion. Drain the can of tomatoes in a fine-mesh strainer, rinse under cold water and set aside to drain again.
    Break spaghetti into two-inch pieces and boil according to package directions seven to eight minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
    Shred chicken, then set aside.
    Melt four tablespoons unsalted butter in a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot over medium heat. Add onion, season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and cook five to six minutes, until softened. Add bell pepper and garlic and cook one minute, until garlic is fragrant.
    Add 1/4 cup flour and cook one to two minutes, until the flour films the bottom of the pot. Increase heat to medium-high and add milk, broth, and remaining kosher salt, then stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cook four minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot, until simmering and thickened.
    Stir in 2 cups cheese until melted. Remove from heat and stir in drained tomatoes, chicken and spaghetti until evenly combined. Taste and season with salt as needed. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake in a 375-degree oven about 20 minutes, until bubbling.
    For a browned top, broil four to six minutes, until the cheese is browned in spots.
    Cool five minutes before serving.
    Makes six to eight servings.



Mediterranean Chicken Stew With Cinnamon Couscous

For chicken stew:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 rotisserie chicken, meat cut into bite sized pieces, skin removed
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For cinnamon couscous:
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 10-ounce box plain, quick-cooking couscous
1/3 cup raisins
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons orange juice

    Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook five to eight minutes, until softened. Add garlic and oregano and cook one minute while stirring. Pour in crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken broth, bay leaves and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook five minutes. Add chicken, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
    For couscous, heat chicken broth, oil  and salt until boiling. Add couscous and raisins, stir, remove from heat and cover. Let rest about five minutes, until all liquid has been absorbed. Fluff couscous with a fork, add cinnamon and orange juice. Use fork to mix until combined. Set aside.
    Remove stew from heat. Add olives and lemon juice. Serve hot over couscous.
    Makes four servings.
    You can add other dried fruits as well, including chopped dried apricot and currents, and finish with sliced toasted almonds.


Rotisserie Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 13 to 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
6 cups thinly sliced lacinato or Tuscan kale leaves
Kosher salt
1 8-ounce package vermicelli rice noodles
1 plain rotisserie chicken, meat shredded
Chopped fresh cilantro
Thinly sliced red onion
Lime wedges

    In a 5-quart or larger Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and sauté one minute, until fragrant. Stir in curry paste and sauté two minutes.
    Add chicken broth, coconut milk and kale. Stir to combine, bring to a simmer and cook three to five minutes, uncovered, until the kale is wilted. Season with salt to taste.
    Add noodles and continue to simmer about three minutes, until the noodles are al dente.
    Divide soup among bowls and top each bowl with about 1/2 cup shredded chicken. Garnish with cilantro, onion slices and a big squeeze of lime juice.
    Makes six to eight servings.
    Because it contains coconut milk, which can separate when defrosted, and thin rice noodles, which can become mushy when reheated, this soup doesn’t freeze well. If you do want to freeze it, hold back both the coconut milk and noodles and add them directly to the reheated soup. If done this way, the soup will freeze well for as long as three months.


Upside-Down BBQ Chicken Bowl

For bowl:
9 to 12 ounces shredded broccoli slaw
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 medium red bell pepper, trimmed and cut into small dice
2 cups finely shredded kale leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup roughly chopped or sliced almonds
For serving:
2 cups shredded BBQ chicken, warmed
Garlic bread

    Place broccoli slaw and ranch dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine. Set aside.
    Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat until shimmering. Add corn kernels and red pepper and sauté two to three minutes, until browned. Add kale and cook just until wilted.
    Transfer mixture to the broccoli slaw bowl. Season with salt and pepper, add almonds and toss to combine.
    Fill large bowls with the broccoli slaw mixture, then top with a scoop of chicken and serve with a slice of garlic bread.
    Makes four servings.



Loaded Black Bean Nachos

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water
1 8-ounce bag tortilla chips
2 cups grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup pico de gallo
3 medium scallions, greens part only, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pickled jalapeños, optional
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup guacamole

    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder and salt. Stir to coat with oil and cook five minutes, stirring occasionally until soft.
    Mash the beans in a large bowl with a fork, keeping them a little chunky. Stir beans and water into the saucepan and cook five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat.
    Spread half the tortilla chips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Dollop half the bean mixture evenly over the chips and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with half of the pico de gallo and half of the scallions. Repeat the layers with the remaining tortilla chips, black bean mixture, cheese, and pico de gallo, but do not top with the remaining scallions.
    Bake in a 400-degree oven about five minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Top with remaining scallions, pickled jalapeños, yogurt and guacamole. Serve immediately.
    Makes four to six servings.
    The mashed black beans can be made one day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before preparing the nachos.





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