The key for quick and healthy cooking is to find foods you can use to prepare entire meals. Fortunately, rotisserie chickens are a simple, readily available solution. Most of us don't have to travel far to find a roast chicken; they can be found everywhere from takeout spots and casual dining establishments to small grocery stores and huge food warehouses.
In addition to being convenient and delicious, rotisserie chicken is an excellent source of protein. It's also low in fat and calories when the skin is removed. You don't have to serve it as is; juicy, succulent rotisserie chickens are amazingly versatile. You can fold it into almost any dish, including salads, pasta or rice dishes, sandwiches, soups and casseroles. Just pull the meat off the bones and combine it with other fresh and healthy ingredients to create a tasty meal. These cooked birds are a true time-saver when you need a super-quick supper.
Here are a few tips for creating quick, healthy meals using rotisserie chicken:
- If there's a choice, opt for plain instead of flavored chicken. Although most of the flavoring is concentrated on the skin, it does perfume the meat and accumulated juices, and can alter the overall flavor of your recipe.
- Look for a large, full-breasted chicken. It has more meat and is less likely to dry out under a heat lamp or in a hot box.
- Remove the skin and pull the chicken from the bone as soon as you get home. It is easier to separate meat from bone while warm, and allows you to start your recipe without delay. Shred or cube the excess meat and refrigerate or freeze in individual portions for future use. By keeping out only what you need, you'll also avoid the temptation to overeat.
- Reheat the cooked meat slowly and on low heat to avoid cooking the meat any further.
- To make a quick stock, place the chicken bones in a large pot, along with black peppercorns, chopped garlic and vegetables like onions, carrots and celery. Barely cover with water, and then bring to a simmer. In 30 minutes, you'll have a pot of stock that tastes like it's been simmering for hours. Any fat in the broth will congeal at the top and can be easily strained off.
- Keep small containers of stock in your freezer so that it's ready at a moment's notice. For perfectly measured, small amounts for cooking, freeze the stock in ice cube trays, then transfer the cubes to a plastic freezer bag.
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