Food & Drink

Turn 1 ready-made rotisserie chicken into 2 easy, healthy dinners

About 900 million rotisserie chickens are sold every year in the U.S.
About 900 million rotisserie chickens are sold every year in the U.S.

When things get a little crazy and I forgot to take something out of the freezer and I have to go the store anyway because I forgot something else desperately needed, I sometimes grab a rotisserie chicken.

Yes, I think of it as an indulgence. I know I could easily roast a whole bird in my oven, but it’s 6 p.m. and I want dinner before the 10 p.m. news.

Rotisserie chickens evidently are saving the world. Well, at least one small part of it where people like me still want to at least make something resembling a home-cooked meal.

The National Chicken Council says Americans eat more chicken than anybody else in the world. No doubt. It estimates that about 900 million rotisserie chickens are sold every year in the U.S.

Connie Post of Cox Newspapers said the editors of Real Simple refer to rotisserie chicken as “the supermarket savior.” It is included as one of the core ingredients in their new “Dinner Made Simple: 35 Everyday Ingredients, 350 Easy Recipes,” ($24.95. Oxmoor House, 2016).

They offer 10 different recipes that start with rotisserie chicken, said Connie. None of the recipes requires more than 25 minutes of hands-on preparation, and a couple, including the one here for Buttermilk Chicken and Tomato Salad, take a mere 10 minutes. The second recipe, Chicken Nicoise Salad, uses leftover chicken.

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Buttermilk Chicken and Tomato Salad

1/4 cup buttermilk*

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 romaine hearts, torn into bite-size pieces

2- to 2 1/2-pound rotisserie chicken, cut up

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add the tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Divide the lettuce among the plates and top with the chicken. Spoon the dressing and tomatoes over the salad and sprinkle with the chives.

*Editor’s note: By this time you should know the shortcut to making buttermilk when you don’t have any in the fridge. Take a 1-cup liquid measuring cup and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Fill with milk to 1-cup line. Stir and allow to stand 5-10 minutes or until it begins to curdle.

Chicken Nicoise Salad

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed

1/2 pound new potatoes, halved

4 large eggs

6 cups salad greens

1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

1/2 small red onion, sliced

1/2 cup cured pitted black olives

3 tablespoons red wine vinaigrette

Steam the green beans until tender, 4 to 5 minutes; rinse under cold water. Repeat with the potatoes, steaming until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Hard-cook the eggs; peel and halve. Divide the green among plates and top with the chicken, onion, olives, green beans, potatoes and eggs. Dress with the vinaigrette.

Connie’s assessment: This recipe is a nice change from the first one she tried, but almost as easy and every bit as tasty.

She couldn’t find any black olives in the fridge or pantry, so she used green olives instead. Also, she said she cheated on the potatoes and zapped them in the microwave while she was steaming the green beans to cut down on prep time.