Kitchen Mission: Quick Chicken

Three simple, time-saving rotisserie recipes

Sent from the what’s-for-dinner gods, store-bought rotisserie chicken answers my quick-meal prayers. It’s easy, healthy, flavorful and not much more expensive than buying the uncooked stuff—all major bonuses around the holidays, when precious free time is spent planning larger celebration meals, baking cookies, making last-minute gift runs or changing guest room sheets. The market does the roasting to juicy perfection, and I take advantage of a main ingredient with versatility. A simple shred down to the wishbone yields about three cups of fresh, juicy meat that serves as the base for countless dinners.
So here, overscheduled reader, are my holiday gifts to you: A few of my favorite quick-prep rotisserie chicken dinners and the permission to make that well-browned bird spinning behind your neighborhood deli counter your new best friend.

Barbecue Chicken Flatbread Pizza
Serves 4-6
2 frozen pizza dough balls, thawed overnight
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2/3 c. barbecue sauce (preferably a thick variety like KC Masterpiece)
1 1/3 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 2 1/2-3 cups)
1 c. sliced red onion
2/3 c. roughly chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 450° Fahrenheit. To make crusts, roll out each dough ball to a roughly 9-by-14-inch rectangle and place each on a greased cookie sheet. Pierce dough all over with a fork, to prevent air bubbles during baking. For each crust: Brush entirely with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, season with salt and pepper, spread on 1/3 cup barbecue sauce, then top with 2/3 cup of each type of cheese, half of the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup red onion and 1/3 cup cilantro. Bake about 15 minutes, until crust is brown and cheese is melted.

Chicken Burrito
Serves 4

for Salsa

1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/3 c. diced red onion
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
2 tsp. diced jalapeño
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

for Burritos

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2/3 c. diced yellow onion
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 19-oz. can black beans, rinsed
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 10-inch flour tortillas (burrito size)
4 Tbsp. sour cream
3/4 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 2 1/2-3 cups)
1 box yellow or Spanish rice, cooked according to package and kept warm

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl to make salsa (can be made a day in advance). Add olive oil to a pan, and sauté onions and garlic over medium-high heat until just melted, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add beans, cumin and salt, and keep warm over low heat. Place 4 tortillas between 2 damp towels and microwave for 1 minute. Working with 1 tortilla at a time (keep others wrapped in towels), spread 1 Tbsp. sour cream, 3 Tbsp. cheese, 1/4 cup chicken, 2 Tbsp. bean mixture, 2 Tbsp. rice and 3 Tbsp. salsa in the middle of tortilla. Fold over one side, then roll up from bottom. Repeat until finished and serve immediately.

Chicken Salad BLT

Serves 4

for chicken salad

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 2 1/2-3 cups)
1/2 c. diced red onion
1/2 c. diced celery
1/4 c. light or regular mayo
1 Tbsp. light or regular ranch dressing
1 Tbsp. ketchup
3 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. chopped basil
3 Tbsp. Craisins
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
for sandwiches
1 country loaf, cut into
8 slices
Extra virgin olive oil
8 slices of bacon, cooked
8 tomato slices
8 leaves Bibb lettuce

Combine chicken salad ingredients and refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwiches. Preheat broiler, drizzle bread slices with oil, and toast bread until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. To assemble sandwiches, layer 2 slices of bacon on 1 slice of bread, top with chicken salad (evenly divided among sandwiches), 2 slices of tomato, 2 leaves of lettuce and remaining slice of bread.

*Note: A freshly purchased chicken that hasn’t been refrigerated yields the best results