With the upcoming holiday season, our lives are going to get busier than ever and sometimes it seems impossible to get dinner on the table. Take-out is the easy route but not the healthiest. My favorite dinner is roasting a chicken so that the leftovers can make additional meals with minimal effort. Although not the fastest dinner, roasting a chicken is something any beginner can do. I just stick an organic, free range chicken in the oven at 350 degrees until done – about 1 hour. I check to see if it’s cooked through by cutting into the thickest part of the chicken. Once cooked, I let it cool and tear off the meat into bite sized pieces. A quicker alternative is to pick one an already roasted chicken at the grocery store or Costco.
I then place the skeleton in a slow cooker with whatever spices and vegetables I have, fill to the top with water, and let it cook on the lowest setting for up to 5 days. Among a few of its benefits - this broth is nutrient dense, boosts the immune system, relieves joint pains, and provides the fats necessary for hormone production.
But the versatility of the roasted chicken is what I really want to talk about. If I roast the chicken over the weekend, I can use the extra meat for quick dinners like these throughout the week:
- Green Salad - A fresh green salad with cubes of chicken, fresh fruit, and some toasted nuts is one of our favorite meals for a simple lunch or dinner.
- Chicken Salad – I love mixing yogurt, salt, curry powder, and halved grapes to shredded chicken for a quick chicken salad.
- Chicken Soup - Chicken noodle soup is an obvious choice for leftover meat, but I also like to use it for chicken and rice soup, or even an extra-hearty minestrone.
- BBQ Chicken Sandwich - Mix a little of your favorite BBQ sauce with the shredded chicken and pile it on a soft roll.
- Lettuce Wraps - These wraps are just shredded or minced chicken rolled up in lettuce leaves along with small-diced vegetables and a sprinkling of sweet-salty sauce, but they're so good!
- Burritos and Enchiladas - Roll up the leftover chicken in a tortilla along with beans, cheese, rice, and any other extras you might have on hand. Eat as is, or cover the rolls with salsa in a baking dish and bake until they're warmed through.