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July 2, 2014 11:08 AM   Subscribe

So my husband and I both prefer dark meat (chicken) and we struggle with eating the chicken breast of a whole chicken. And we like costco's rotisserie chicken and expect to eat them fairly often over the next couple years since life will be busy for a while. Help us figure out some easy dishes that will allow us to enjoy eating the bland, dry portion of the bird!

The dishes have to be easy, we really aren't going to have much time for cooking for a while. Preferably dishes that can be prepared ahead of time (crock pot, oven) and don't require a ton of chopping or wacky perishable ingredients (wacky frozen or non-perishables are fine though).

We've had some success with a tiki masala sauce, and recently a crock pot enchilada soup. We also often make stock from the carcase in the crockpot. We currently have no dietary restrictions, though my preferences is for leaning towards the lighter end of the carb spectrum.
posted by pennypiper to Food & Drink (43 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Use it as one of the proteins in jambalaya.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:13 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

crock pot enchilada soup

You can do up some pretty fantastic easy as balls burrito fillings in a crock pot. Add your chicken, some broth, a can of beans, some frozen corn, seasonings, cheese, etc, and some uncooked rice and just let it all cook together.

I always use my reject chicken parts (the breast) in chicken salad. Just rip the cooked chicken up into shreds.
posted by phunniemee at 11:14 AM on July 2, 2014 [6 favorites]

Chicken quesadillas? I too prefer dark meat but adding cheese makes the white meat seem less dry and bland. Also chicken salad is good for this.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:14 AM on July 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Any sort of soup, stew, or chili would be easy in the crock pot.
You can roughly cube the white meat and make chicken salad for your lunches that will last a couple days.
posted by trivia genius at 11:15 AM on July 2, 2014

Pull the breast apart with a couple forks and brown in a cast iron with some lime juice, pepper, and olive oil to make chicken carnitas.
posted by The White Hat at 11:18 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

So your emphasis is on already-cooked rotisserie breast?

I like the way coconut milk seems to break down proteins quite a bit, so I make a lot of curries with coconut milk at the base. You can also use coconut milk to make creamy sauces and stews, and a little bit will actually go a pretty long way.

I do not like crocking already-cooked chicken. It wrings the last drops of moisture out. 20 minutes is about as long as I'll reheat cooked breast, but 10 would suffice.

Very quick: tom kha soup (simplified), tomato sauce of your choice + chicken + spaghetti squash or steamed/roasted cauliflower.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:19 AM on July 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Wait, are you cooking chicken in a crock pot or buying rotisserie chicken? Don't put a rotisserie chicken in the crock pot. Shred and reheat gently with a sauce of choice: shred and mix with bbq sauce and veg of choice like sautéed bell peppers and corn. Or, diced in tomato sauce with mushrooms, zucchini, peppers etc. Fine over a carb or on its own. Or, make tom kha gai. Or, mix with a pre made curry sauce, Trader Joe's has lots of tasty options.

Here is an amazing tip for shredding chicken breasts: put them in a stand mixer with the beater attachment (not the whisk.) Shreds them perfectly, takes seconds.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:21 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

How about Chicken Divan. Can be served over rice, or just with broccoli. In the recipe, just skip cooking the chicken breast part.

Here's a low carb alfredo sauce recipe.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:22 AM on July 2, 2014

A nice Thai Green curry! mmmmm.
Buy some Green curry paste, throw it in with a can of coconut milk, bring it to a boil.

Add your choice of veggies, I like broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, chili and potato but you can add whatever you want. (Frozen would be fine too I'm sure!) Add some Lime Juice and fish sauce to taste.

Wait until the veggies are cooked, then add the sliced pre-cooked chicken breast.

Serve with rice - OH MY GOODNESS YUMMY YUMMY in my tummy!
posted by JenThePro at 11:23 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Shredded chicken breast & avocados play very well together.

We've made a salad with lemon juice, cucumbers, shredded lettuce.

Fold the cold chicken breast & avocado slices into romaine leaves (aka lettuce wraps)

If you do burritos/tacos, chicken breast & avocado slice slide right in.
posted by Jesse the K at 11:26 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

If the chicken breast is already cooked, it's perfect for chopping up to make chicken salad. It can be prepped ahead of time and waiting for you in the fridge when you get home! I like to make mine with celery (for crunch) and mandarin oranges. Serve on rolls or over a bed of salad greens.
posted by geeky at 11:27 AM on July 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

Dip it in warmed butter.
posted by herox at 11:29 AM on July 2, 2014

Shred or chip it and throw it in a stir fry. You can buy packs of mixed asian veg, throw that in first to cook then toss in the chicken at the end with your sauces of choice. The extra fats and flavours hide the blandness.

I like to use chopped up chicken in homemade baked mac & cheese I also add veggies and bacon I cook together first, we call it a pasta bake in the part of Australia I am from.

Shred & mix with BBQ sauce like you would pulled pork.

Chicken pot pie. Super easy with frozen veg & pastry.
posted by wwax at 11:29 AM on July 2, 2014

Chicken pibil (also delicious with avocado, like Jesse's suggestions-and yes, this calls for thighs, but you could do a mix or breasts alone)
posted by goggie at 11:39 AM on July 2, 2014

The Costcos in my area sell 3lb packages of chilled rotisserie chicken legs (I assume they are the pair to the 3lb bags of pre-shredded chicken breast that they also sell). They are the same price as the hot whole bird.

I was in the same boat as you until I discovered that the All Legs Chicken existed. I don't bother with the hot rotisserie chickens anymore.

Chicken breasts exist only because no one has genetically engineered an all dark-meat bird yet. Let someone else deal with the waste product.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:52 AM on July 2, 2014 [9 favorites]

Came here to suggest chicken salad as well. I like to eat the dark meat (and skin!) of a rotisserie chicken immediately, use the white meat for chicken salad (I usually make this Chipotle Chicken Salad) and then save the carcass in the freezer to throw into the pot with chicken stock to make an even more concentrated stock for soups. None of this really takes much time, just planning.
posted by peacheater at 11:53 AM on July 2, 2014

There are a ton of different recipes along the Ramen noodles-cabbage-chicken-salad theme. I like it a lot, and it makes a big batch. I just toast up new noodles to keep leftovers crunchy.
posted by feistycakes at 11:57 AM on July 2, 2014

I guess no one mentioned these because they are obviousl: Ceasar salad and blt sandwiches. In my house, we love both.
Also; different variations of chicken soup. Eat whatever you want off the rotisserie chicken. Take off whatever Meat is left. Make a fine Stock of the remaining bones and scraps, an onion and a carrot (and whatever Else you have).
For a Nice Italian soup, strain the broth, and add balsamico, shrwdded Meat and noodles. Cook till noodles are raedy. Serven with grated parmesan.
For a more Asian take, strain the broth, add soya, chili, shredded Meat and noodles, cook till ready, add tons of herbs, like basil, koriander, parsley, all very finely chopped. on my phone. Therefor endelses mistakes
posted by mumimor at 12:22 PM on July 2, 2014

You can shred the chicken breast, dump in a can of "Cream of [celery/mushroom/chicken/broccoli]" and some frozen vegetables, cover with a sheet of frozen puff pastry, and voila: chicken potpie.

EDIT: uh, and cook it, obviously. Don't leave it frozen.
posted by monospace at 12:27 PM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just used some leftover chicken to make pulled chicken sandwiches -- just needs a little stock and BBQ sauce in the crock pot for a while (or just warm it up on low heat on the stove).
posted by transient at 12:43 PM on July 2, 2014

Make a huge mess of mole. (Mole is a personal thing so you need to find one you like.)
Freeze it in vacuum pack bags or quart ziplocks and freeze them flat.
On days when you have leftover breast meat, place one of the bags in a sink of cold water for 10-15 minutes to defrost. Dump it into a sauce pan and heat it to a simmer, put chicken into the mole, shredded or in breast size pieces to heat. Serve with a salad, some corn tortillas and whatever fixins' you prefer.
It's a quick, easy dinner.
posted by Seamus at 12:46 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I roast a chicken at least twice per month and do the following:
-Day One: Roast the chicken; split one breast (or, in your case, eat the thighs)
-Day Two: Remainder of meat shredded and made into chicken salad; make sandwiches w sourdough bread and baby spinach (You could also use lettuce or wraps if you want to go no-carb)
-Day Three: Chicken salad part 2; make stock using chicken carcass
-Day Four: Make potato leek soup using the chicken stock (this is my favorite soup recipe for low effort/ingredients with high reward) and toasting leftover sandwich bread as croutons

Four days of food for one day of shopping. I make this sooooo often. I'd be happy to me-mail you my shopping list and recipes (I just wing it, but have a framework that I work from).
posted by melissasaurus at 12:52 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

To answer a few questions:
  • yes, emphasis is on already cooked chicken breast. For uncooked we already know the answer - don't buy chicken breast ;)
  • the crock pot soup we made was just fine, since it's soup, there's no problem with the meat drying out.
  • we've tried chicken salad many times, the lay the chicken on top of a salad approach doesn't work for us b/c "blech white meat, I don't want to eat that" (same problem with sandwiches) and the mayo-chicken-salad hasn't worked b/c neither of us seem to love it and both of us actively dislike the version the other person finds acceptable (finely minced vs. big chunks).
  • We're going for maximum disguising of the meat itself.
Specific recipes would be especially appreciated. I can do plenty of brainstorming, but I'd prefer not to have to experiment with totally unknown recipes more than is necessary (thus my turning to the wonderful hive : )

sparklemotion - what!? I've only seen the packaged cooked breast at our costco (I assumed this was part of the white meat tyranny) but I'll have to look again to see if they have an all legs package. That would be great!
posted by pennypiper at 1:08 PM on July 2, 2014

Shred and cover in walnut paprika sauce to make Circassian Chicken.
posted by bbq_ribs at 1:11 PM on July 2, 2014

You're eating the wrong animal.

Rabbit meat is like dark chicken meat but tastier.
posted by popcassady at 1:19 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I also dislike white meat.

"out there" suggestion but if you have a cat or a dog who is on a special diet, you could give them the breast. My friend gives skinless chicken breast to her elder dog. (no seasoning either)
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:21 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

You're eating the wrong animal.

Rabbit meat is like dark chicken meat but tastier.

Yeah, this is probably really the root of our problem! But those damn chickens are so cheap, tasty (well, at least part of them) and already cooked by someone else! We actually prefer red meat in general, but the financial and time economies mean we keep eating chicken.

Maybe we could start up a petition to get costco to add duck to their rotisserie selection : )
posted by pennypiper at 1:24 PM on July 2, 2014

For maximum disguising, you want powerful other tastes, like Indian or Asian. Since you've got tikka masala covered, might I suggest butter chicken or chicken adobo or Thai chicken wraps or honey sesame chicken?

Our Costco only does the all-breast or all-legs packs on occasion, so you might try calling the Costco deli and asking if you don't see them.
posted by umwhat at 1:26 PM on July 2, 2014

Chicken curry!

In a food processor, make a runny paste of 3 parts garlic to 2 parts ginger. Throw in a splash or two of water to help lighten it. Add in a generous spoon of salt, red chili powder to your liking, and a generous amount of lemon juice. Add in a hearty amount, say 1 to 2 cups (depending on how much chicken you use), of buttermilk (or, if you have no guilt, use 1 part heavy cream to 1 part buttermilk). Marinate your chicken (you'll want to cut it into big, rough cubes/chunks) in this mixture for a few hours (longer if in the fridge). Throw this all into an enamel cast iron dish and put it into the oven for an hour.

Voila, one-pot chicken curry that's DIVINE. I'm Indian and lazy as fuck, and this cures both homesickness and laziness in one.
posted by krakus at 1:27 PM on July 2, 2014 [6 favorites]

I've only seen the packaged cooked breast at our costco (I assumed this was part of the white meat tyranny)

They don't call a ton of attention to it, and it seems to be in slightly different places in different Costcos.

The only reason why I noticed that it exists is because I was at a non-standard (to me) Costco and they had it kind of close to the guacamole or some kind of end cap thing that I wanted to snag. When I went back to the standard Costco, it was tucked in with the wrap sandwiches/preassembled chicken alfredo stuff that I don't usually look at because I don't buy that kind of stuff. If you don't see it when you look, I would definitely ask.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:31 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I always use the boring parts of a rotisserie chicken to make chicken soup. Boil the carcass with a few carrots, celery stalks (including greens), garlic cloves, and a quartered onion (I keep the skin on so it's darker). If you want less fatty soup, you can refrigerate it at this stage and skim the fat off but I usually leave it. Then, when all done, ad a chopped, peeled carrot; chopped celery; dill, and shredded chicken breast pieces. Some rice, too, if you want to get fancy.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:32 PM on July 2, 2014

Seconding stir fry - the dry meat really absorbs the flavours (I usually use soy sauce and five spice powder) and also goes nice and crispy.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:32 PM on July 2, 2014

How about just taking chunks of meat and dipping them in a nice ranch sauce and eating them straight? To make the experience seem more culinarily refined and cultured, discard chicken bones by throwing them over your shoulder like King Henry Ⅷ and wipe your fingers on your silk doublet.
posted by XMLicious at 1:57 PM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Chicken rolls

You may want to adapt this to already cooked breast meat by marinading for flavour and then stir frying so spices are cooked and not sitting powdery. You may also want to fry the onions a bit if you don't like them raw.

Use readymade indian bread or tortillas.

The basic dish is essentially throwing together leftover chicken with a bunch of spices and some onions, add an egg if you like, rolling it up and watching tv. Don't feel constrained to follow the recipe as I've done the same using oyster sauce, sambal oelek and some soya sauce as well.
posted by infini at 2:06 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would rethink the idea of buying rotisserie chicken. It's probably 75% white to 25% dark. It's not that hard to roast chicken thighs at home.
posted by SemiSalt at 2:16 PM on July 2, 2014

I almost always have leftover breasts from Costco's (giant) chickens, and here are a couple things I do with them besides usually just throwing them in salads:

- Fork-shred them in some good BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's, etc) so they're nice and saucy. Put em on a bun with some coleslaw and call it a pulled chicken sandwich. Makes yummy sliders for parties too, just use the smaller buns!

- Cube them up smallish and give them a good pan-fry with some sriracha or frank's, or even salsa if that's what you've got around. Use the end product to make chicken nachos with all the usual fixings on tortilla chips (olives, peppers, cheese, tomatoes, etc). Salsa, guac, sour cream etc for dip. Tacos would be accomplished in a similar fashion.

- Don't forget about chicken salad (as in with mayo, celery, grapes, etc - like tuna salad but chicken-y). Yum.
posted by at 2:41 PM on July 2, 2014

You could use this recipe for Barney's Monday night rice as a springboard for all sorts of cooked chicken + rice dishes that are quick and easy (and can be doubled/trebled for freezing/refridgerating for even faster eating later in the week). For example, you could substitute the egg and tomato ketchup for a large dollop of thai curry paste.

This moroccan style soup is delicious too.

Oh and risotto! And pilaff!
posted by humph at 4:04 PM on July 2, 2014

My favorite easy version of tom kha. You can get more authentic with a bunch more work, but this is 80% of the way and it is delicious.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:44 PM on July 2, 2014

I cheat and gently reheat the white meat in pulled chunks in a tablespoon or so of duck fat. This replaces the unctuous umami of dark meat you crave. Mushrooms make it deeper still.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:57 PM on July 2, 2014

Shred, season, and use in chicken tortilla soup. Along these lines.
posted by kestrel251 at 8:22 PM on July 2, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Dip! Easy and delicious.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:45 PM on July 2, 2014

Re sparklemotion's recommendations, I've asked about the leg/thigh trays and have been told that they put those out first thing in the morning and don't always have that many of them. Also, it depends on what they have left over from the night before. In essence it's part timing, part luck.
posted by ericales at 6:22 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

You asked for recipes . . . so I went home and divided my recipe by 1/4. This will make about 3/4 of a gallon of mole. This is from an old Mexican cookbook and purports to be from the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla. Who knows if it is? There are countless types of mole and exploring them all might be something you are into. But, maybe try this one and see if it's something you like. When I make this, I remove all seeds and ribs and it is not spicy at all. Spice can be added back in later.

Mole recipe (3/4 Gallon)
1/2 lb chile mullato
3/4 lb chile pasilla
3/4 lb chile ancho
1/4 lb. fresh tomatoes (chopped)
3/4 lb almonds
1/8 lb. raisins
1.5 oz sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/4 Tbsp anise seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 of a bread roll
1/4 of a corn tortilla
1 qt broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 Tbsp sugar
1 small square chocolate (baking)
1/4 cup oil

In a dry cast-iron frying pan, roast the chiles until blistered (press down for 20-30 seconds per side with a spatula). Allow them to cool. Remove stems, seeds and ribs (if you leave in ribs and seeds, you will get more heat) and cut them into chunks for easier cooking and blending. In a large stock pot, heat a few table spoons of oil and fry the roll and tortilla until crisp, then set aside. Add the remainder of the oil to the stock pot to heat. Add in almonds and stir constantly until just beginning to turn pale golden. Add sessame seeds and spices and stir until the almonds and sesame seeds turn deep gold. Add in garlic, tomatoes and raisins and stir constantly until the tomatoes cook down. Add in the stock, the chiles and the broth and any additional water to cover the chiles. Simmer for an hour or more, stirring, until the chiles are soft. Add water as necessary. When the chiles are cooked through, use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. At this point you can run the sauce through a food mill or a strainer to remove seeds and skin, if you prefer. (I usually do, and I make 4X this amount.) Once the mix is smooth to your preference, add in the chocolate, sugar and salt. Simmer for another hour or so, stirring frequently. Adjust salt. Allow the mole to cool. Freeze in quart size bags, laid flat. Defrost in a sink of cool water for 15-20 minutes. Place in a in a small stock pot and add water to thin to desired consistency. Then heat up and pour over roasted chicken or turkey. Or use the sauce to heat up chopped or pulled bird meat.
posted by Seamus at 3:23 PM on July 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

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