Are you looking for meals that you can make in minutes now that summer is in full swing? Between summer camps, ball games and other summer happenings cooking short-cuts can help you eat healthy throughout the summer.
One short-cut I like to take is with chicken. When we grill I often cook up a few extra chicken breast to use (or freeze) for other meals later in the week. When that isn't possible, picking up a rotisserie chicken can be just as simple!
Below are 10 quick and easy meal solutions:
Stir fry is easy to make with pre-cooked chicken.
Salads: Add sliced leftover rotisserie chicken to a bag of salad greens, chopped tomatoes, shredded carrots and sliced red onions. Top with your favorite dressing. Lunch is served.
Sandwiches and Wraps: Mix chicken slices with chipotle mayo and whatever raw veggies you have on hand. Roll into a whole-wheat tortilla, or use whole-grain bread. Eat cold, or grill for a warm and satisfying treat!
Soups: Rotisserie chicken lends a slow-cooked flavor to soups. Add 2 cups chicken chunks to 3 cans chicken broth; add a bag of mixed or stew vegetables and either one cup uncooked rice or 2 cups uncooked noodles/pasta. Season with your favorite spices and simmer until all ingredients are tender.
Pizza Topping: Top pizza crust with 1/2 cup pizza sauce, 1 cup chopped chicken and 1 cup shredded cheese; sprinkle with basil and tomato slices. Another to try is BBQ Chicken Chicken, BBQ Sauce, Pineapple, bell peppers, and shredded cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. I like to use Flatout Wraps and Pizza Crusts.
Quesadillas: Combine shredded chicken with a pinch of cumin. Spoon onto one-half of a whole-wheat tortilla. Sprinkle with shredded Monterey Jack or other cheese. Fold in half and micro-heat for a few seconds. Serve with salsa on the side.
Go Mexican: Mix shredded chicken with whatever ingredients you favor such as black beans, fat-free refried beans, green chilies, salsa, corn or sauted peppers. Heat until bubbly in the microwave, then spoon mixture into tortillas or taco shells. Top with shredded cheese, more salsa and fat-free sour cream to taste.
Pasta Dishes: Using already cooked chicken eliminates a long step in cooking! Replace beef in lasagna and other pasta casseroles with chicken. Try this: 2 cups chicken chunks, 1 jar Ragu Cheesy Light Parmesan and mozzarella sauce, 16-ounce bag of cooked California mix veggies and 1 pound cooked omega-3 or whole grain rotini. Mix together and add about 1 cup grated/shredded Parmesan. A really quick hot dish the kids love!
Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches: Mix shredded rotisserie chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce and put on a whole-wheat roll. One whole chicken serves about six people.
Skillet Meals: Better than those boxed helper meals! Add chicken chunks to frozen bagged skillet meals. No need to cook the chicken separately! Really tasty with that wonderful savory roasted taste!
Stir Fry: This is one of my year-round, go-to meals. Add chicken to a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables with your favorite stir fry seasoning and have a meal in minutes. We eat ours with whole wheat noodles, but you could also serve over brown rice for another whole grain option.
Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee Food Store.