1 Rotisserie Chicken, 5 Amazing Meals

By Christine Byrne |

Breathe new life into leftovers with these quick, nutritious, delicious meals.

Greek-Inspired Quinoa and Chicken Salad

The most convenient foods are often the worst for you, from sodium-packed boxed dinners to pretty much anything from a drive-thru. But rotisserie chicken is one big exception.

Faced with an empty fridge or an especially busy schedule, I regularly head to the grocery store and pick up a plain rotisserie chicken. That night, I’ll eat a breast or leg alongside some rice and sautéed vegetables or maybe on top of a salad. The just-cooked meat is still tender and tastes great without any extra effort. Then, I’m left with at least three-quarters of a chicken for use later in the week.

Chicken will stay good for up to four days in the fridge, according to FoodSafety.gov, but I find it gets a little too tough and dry to eat plain after day one. That’s why I have an arsenal of easy ways to breathe new life into leftover rotisserie chicken, including the five flavor-packed recipes below. Each one serves two people and calls for one-quarter of a rotisserie chicken, so you can make four of them from a single store-bought bird.

I’ve specified leg or breast meat in each recipe based on what I’ve found tastes best—leg meat for grain salads, pastas, and anything served cold; breast meat for baked dishes and soups—but you can use whatever kind you like. Beyond convenience, these meals offer a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to keep you full and satisfied, plus fiber from plenty of vegetables.

Convenience food is about to take on a whole new meaning!

Rotisserie Chicken Meal #1: Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

You’ll need:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, skin and bones removed, shredded
  • 1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce
  • 4 small whole wheat tortillas
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional toppings: sliced scallion, sour cream, salsa, avocado

What to do: Preheat oven to 375°F. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more.

Transfer the mixture to a heatproof mixing bowl, add chicken, and mix with two-thirds of the enchilada sauce.

Remove the skillet from heat, and pour the remaining enchilada sauce into the skillet. The skillet will still be a little bit hot, which is fine. Add the tortillas to the skillet one at a time: Fill a tortilla with chicken-vegetable mixture, roll it up, and place it seam side down in the skillet. Repeat until all four tortillas are rolled and nestled beside each other. Top with shredded cheese.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until enchiladas are hot and cheese is melted. Let cool slightly before serving with your preferred toppings.

Rotisserie Chicken Meal #2: Shortcut Chicken Noodle Soup

Shortcut Chicken Noodle Soup

You’ll need:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Bones from 1 whole cooked chicken, optional*
  • 4 ounces whole wheat rotini
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed, chopped
  • 1 chicken leg, bones and skin removed, shredded
  • Salt and pepper

* Simmering bones in the chicken broth will make it more flavorful. If you don’t have all of the bones from your rotisserie chicken or prefer not to use them, that’s okay! The soup will still taste good.

What to do: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more.

Add broth and chicken bones (if using) to the pot, and simmer on medium-low heat 15 minutes. Remove chicken bones.

Bring the mixture to a boil, and add rotini and carrot. Boil 9 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Add kale and chicken, cover, and let sit 4 minutes. Remove lid and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Rotisserie Chicken Meal #3: No-Cook Peanut Chicken Summer Rolls

No-Cook Peanut Chicken Summer Rolls

You’ll need:
For the rolls:

  • 1 chicken leg, skin on, bones removed, shredded
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin matchsticks
  • ½ cucumber, sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 4 scallions, whites and greens, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
  • ½ tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • 8 rice paper wrappers or spring roll skins, such as these

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water

What to do: To make the rolls, toss together all ingredients except wrappers in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. This is your filling.

Fill a large mixing bowl or flat-bottomed container with room-temperature water. Working with one wrapper at a time, soak the wrapper in water until just starting to soften, about 30 seconds. The wrapper will continue to soften when it’s out of the water—you don’t want to leave it in until it’s completely soft because it will end up soggy.

Carefully lay the softened wrapper on a clean, flat surface. Place a small handful (about ⅓ cup) of filling in a straight line on the center of the wrapper, leaving at least 2 inches on each side. Form the roll by gently tucking the sides of the wrapper over the filling and rolling everything up, from the bottom to the top. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

To make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon water until smooth. If sauce is too thick for dipping, add an additional 1 tablespoon water.

Serve the rolls with dipping sauce on the side.

Rotisserie Chicken Meal #4: Greek-Inspired Quinoa and Chicken Salad

Greek-Inspired Quinoa and Chicken Salad

You’ll need:

  • ⅔ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1½ cups water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 chicken breast, skin and bones removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cucumber, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta

What to do: In a medium pot with a lid, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Once cooking is complete, remove pot from heat, and let it sit covered for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork.

In a large bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Add quinoa and remaining ingredients, and toss to combine.

Rotisserie Chicken Meal #5: Broccoli-Cheddar Pasta with Chicken

Broccoli-Cheddar Pasta with Chicken

You’ll need:

  • 4 ounces whole wheat rotini
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 1 chicken breast, shredded
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

What to do: Cook rotini according to package directions. Drain without rinsing, and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add broccoli and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Add broth to the skillet, and cook until broth is evaporated and broccoli is bright green and al dente, about 2 minutes more. Add chicken, milk, and cheddar. Cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. Add cooked pasta, and toss to coat.

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