I have a confession to make: I have been in a meal planning rut. When I read this post of Lindsey's, it hit me like a ton of bricks. These past few months have been crazy! We've been experiencing an unplanned kitchen remodel (due to the dishwasher flooding the space), new puppy, new job and lots of travel. It's all been great stuff, but difficult to meal plan, grocery shop and cook like we were before.
But, I know just how important all these steps are for healthful eating. So, now that our kitchen is back together and travels have died down, I knew I have to get myself out of the rut.
So what did I do?
I sat down with our meal planner and brainstormed simple dishes to make. Since, I am still getting used to my new work schedule plus my husband was traveling, I wanted to keep it simple, but still incorporating all the food groups. So I planned to buy a rotisserie chicken and make meals with that. I bought the produce and sides that I needed to round out the meals. Here is how I used the rotisserie chicken for quick dinners and lunches. (These would be great ways to use leftover turkey after Thanksgiving, too!)
Chicken nachos are a quick meal. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (or to broil - but watch them closely because they will burn in an instant). Spread out a layer of your favorite tortilla chips on a lined baking sheet. Top with shredded rotisserie chicken, chopped veggies such as bell pepper and onions and cheese. Baked until cheese is melted and chicken is warmed through (about 5-8 minutes). Once out of the oven, top with sliced tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, and a sprinkle of cumin and chili powder.
**TIP: Line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up.
Chili is one of my family's favorites meal this time of year. Chili is typically with a ground meat such as beef or turkey, beans and vegetables. Use rotisserie chicken as a shortcut instead. It makes the chili come together super quick and the shredded chicken cooks down with all the vegetables and broth and is delicious. My husband even said he liked this way better! WIN!
Talk about another favorite meal during the cold winter months: Chicken pot pie. Pass on the pre-made frozen option and make your own. Using a few shortcuts make this meal easy and fast. Use rotisserie chicken, frozen vegetables and store bought whole wheat biscuits for a delicious version that is your own. The pre-made versions are typically high in sodium and lacking in the vegetables. By making yours at home, you are in control of the salt, spices and can up the vegetable intake. I love to add chopped onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, broccoli, corn, mushrooms and spinach to mine. YUM!
Chicken Salad can actually be two different uses:
1) Shredded chicken atop your greens and vegetables. Toss with your favorite dressing and enjoy! This is even faster with a little food prep of chopping vegetables done ahead.
2) Mix together shredded chicken with chopped onion and celery mixed with mayo, mustard, and more. You can change this up every time by including nuts, apples, grapes, different vegetables and dressing.
Boil your favorite noodle, toss with shredded chicken and sautéed veggies and with any sauce. Mix it up with pesto, classic béchamel (creamy white sauce) or marinara.
What are your favorite ways to use a rotisserie chicken? Share with us by commenting below or by using hashtag #MealPlanningMethod.