The possibilities for no-cook meals have expanded dramatically since tasty, succulent rotisserie chicken has become widely available in supermarkets, delis and specialty food shops.
At my local deli, they cook Bell and Evans chickens (one of my favorite brands) to perfection, and I just bring one home and get creative. Sometimes I'll serve it with a mango salsa, sometimes I'll carve it for sandwiches, sometimes I'll toss it with tomatoes, croutons and garlic mayonnaise for a delicious salad. Here are some delicious ways to dress up store-cooked chicken without working up a sweat.
• Chicken Salad with Raisins, Olives and Pine Nuts. I always have raisins, olives and pine nuts in my pantry, making this a particularly easy combination. I shred some chicken, combine it with the pantry items, toss in some chopped parsley and moisten the salad with lemon juice and olive oil. Serve over lettuce or with grilled bread on the side.
• Chicken and Jicama Salad. In the summer, I love crunchy raw vegetables like jicama combined with chicken. Shred the chicken, peel and cut the jicama into 1/4-inch dice and toss with a bracing vinaigrette flavored with dijon mustard, lemon zest, minced fresh ginger and cilantro.
• Chicken Salad with Chipotle Mayonnaise. Minced chipotle chiles add a deliciously hot and smoky flavor to regular mayonnaise. I like to make chicken salad with this mayonnaise and either serve the salad wrapped in corn tortillas or alongside a selection of crisp, raw carrots, zucchini sticks and red bell-pepper slices.
• Chicken, Apple and Cheddar Sandwiches with Honey Mustard. Sliced rotisserie chicken makes a delicious and very packable sandwich for picnics. I like to layer the ingredients on a long baguette, wrap it up in plastic or foil, and slice it when I get to the beach or park.
• Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches. Place romaine lettuce and sliced chicken on crusty bread and moisten with a dressing of oil, lemon juice, anchovies and garlic.
• Southwestern Chicken Wraps. Wrap sandwiches have quickly become classics. For this one, I roll up sliced rotisserie chicken, sliced avocados, some canned black beans and spicy tomato salsa in flour tortillas.
• Chicken with Peach Chutney. A chutney of peaches, raisins and hot red pepper flakes adds a lot of zip to plain chicken. Add a green salad and a loaf of bread and you've got a great meal.