Wellness Wednesday:  5 Things You Can Do with a Roast Chicken

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The humble grocery store roast chicken has always been a good remedy for those nights where you are too tired to cook- slice off a piece, add some carbs and veggies and voila, you’ve made dinner. But this little bird is more than just a one hit wonder. It can be a week’s worth of meals for little to no cooking. Let me take you on a journey of culinary awesome- a journey that begins and ends with a chicken.

1.       Old School, Meal Prep Style:

This chicken hack is my go-to when I have no more gas in the tank and have to prep one or more meals. Portion this sucker into servings when its still warm, as it comes apart easier. To make this a whole meal without cooking, grab a bag of spinach and some steam-in-the-microwave cauliflower or a few sweet potatoes. If you’re doing the potatoes, give them a few stabs with a fork on each side to vent the steam. Microwave 5 minutes and flip over. 5 more minutes and test for doneness using a potholder to shield you from the heat. Pack it up, divide your salad and you’re done.  Save the rest of the chicken.

2.       Chicken Tacos:

To make this work, tear some of the chicken you decided NOT to eat in step 1 into pieces- remember that your portion should be between one and two palms per meal. Add cumin, lime juice, chili powder, salt and salsa to taste. Stir. Chop up some onions, cilantro and lime wedges while you heat your tortillas. Add cheese or some low-fat sour cream if you feel like it. POW! Dinner number two- managed. Save the leftovers

3.       Vietnamese Lettuce wraps:

Take some of your leftover chicken and chop it fine. Add the following to taste: fish sauce (go gently, it’d potent), lime juice, chili paste. Thinly slice green onions, scallions, fresh mint and cilantro. Chop up some cashews or peanuts if you feel like it for garnish. Add the herbs and onions to the chicken mix until it tastes good. Put a spoonful or two of the greens/ chicken on a big lettuce leaf (romaine or butter lettuce work best for this) and add some of the chopped nuts. Roll it up and enjoy. Save the rest of the chicken.

4.       Quick Chicken Chili:

This one is dead simple. Chop up two cupped hands of chicken (or tear it from the bone if you feel like it) and put it in a bowl, off to the side. In a pot, mix a can of black beans, with some cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper and oregano to taste. If you’re feeling creative, add a touch of cocoa powder. Add onion salt and garlic powder to taste (you can add the real onions and garlic too, but I did promise this would be free of real cooking). Heat the beans to a simmer and then smash some of them against the bottom of the pot with a spoon or potato masher Add the chicken, stir. Garnish with cilantro or cheese or whatever. Save the sad last bit of the chicken.

5.       Fancy Chicken Salad:

Ok. Last one. Take that sad chicken carcass and pick the shreds of meat off the carcass until you have about ¾ C. You probably wont even need to chop them at this point. Stick ‘em in a bowl and add the following: half an apple, chopped, ¼ C. chopped onion, 2-3 Tbsp. dried cranberries, 2-3 Tbsp olive oil mayo. Sprinkle on dry mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all together and eat it over a bed of lettuce. ½ C. chicken salad = one serving. NOW you can throw the chicken carcass away. You’re welcome. 😊