Chicken. It’s lean, simple, and is used SO MANY different genres of foods. However, if you’re like me, sometimes the simple act of cooking chicken in a healthy way is intimidating. I struggle with cooking a full breast evenly through, and oftentimes find myself cutting it into multiple pieces in the pan after I realize it’s still raw in the middle! The solution I’ve found: buy a rotisserie chicken instead!
Most grocery stores sell cooked, seasoned, and packaged rotisserie chicken for around $5 each in the pre-made section. Overall, I’ve found that the price is comparable to raw boneless chicken breasts. However, I much prefer the convenience of an entire chicken that is seasoned & cooked perfectly without any effort from me!
The reason grocery stores sell cheap rotisserie chickens? They encourage consumers to come into the store more frequently and also buy other items while inside. Costco, for example, has kept the price of their chickens at $4.99 since 1985. Tom Super, the vice president for communications at the National Chicken Council, explains:
“Some of the things you go to Costco for, you don’t need once a week. In order to attract customers more often, they have chicken or hot dogs or the low prices on gasoline… The guy who stops in to buy a rotisserie chicken for a quick, hot meal might walk past the laptops and say, ‘Maybe I’ll go to the Costco to buy a laptop for my son for Christmas.’ ”
Because the foundation of a “traditional” meal for many is a meat, vegetable, and carbohydrate, a busy parent can run into the supermarket and pick up a cooked, warm, and healthy meat and grab a few other sides. While the skin has general seasonings, it can be removed so the chicken is a true base for any genre of food. The take-away is that rotisserie chickens are easy, cheap, and very adaptable. Ideal for a college student!
How to Enjoy your Rotisserie Chicken
Step 1: Learn how to carve a roast chicken. When done properly, a rotisserie chicken yields two breasts, legs, and wings. If you’re trying to get the full value of the chicken, add the carcass and some celery, carrot, and onion to a pot of water to make chicken stock that’s healthier and lower sodium than store bought.
Step 2: Remove the skin/dark meat if desired. I don’t eat dark meat and avoid the skin to make the chicken as healthy as possible, and both can be removed easily! Thighs, legs, and backs are the dark meat. Dark meat is higher in saturated fat than white meat, but also contains more vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins A, K, zinc and iron.
Step 3: Use the chicken how you’d like! One of the biggest advantages I’ve found to rotisserie chickens is that the meat is much more flavorful and moist than if I cook chicken. Therefore, I oftentimes eat it plain, although it can be added to a ton of easy recipes! A few of my favorite ways to use my rotisserie chickens are to make buffalo chicken or burrito bowls, enchiladas, chicken noodle soup, or an easy stir fry. Basically any recipe that calls for chicken breast could also use rotisserie chicken, and I encourage you to take advantage of this grocery item students often overlook. Store your chicken in an airtight container & enjoy!
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