In an ideal world, families would eat fresh, home-cooked meals every night. Many of us try and succeed most of the time, but some times “life happens”; parents work late, kids get sick, we get busy with evening activities and we need a little help getting dinner to the table. It may be tempting to head to the nearest drive though when life gets hectic, but it is possible to serve a healthy dinner in a short amount of time. Head to the grocery store deli counter, pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and try one of the following ideas for a fast “home-assembled” dinner.
Healthy Rotisserie Chicken Meals:
A rotisserie chicken without the skin (which can contain harmful HCAs in addition to empty calories) can be the base of a quick, healthy meal if you skip the deep fried potatoes and mayonnaise laden ‘salads’. Instead pick up just the chicken and apply one of this quick fixes to turn it into a fast, healthy meal for your family.
- Chicken Entree Salad: Breeze through the produce section and pick up a bag of pre-washed spinach or other dark salad greens, pre-cut veggies and any other fruit or vegetables your family enjoys. A can of black beans or chickpeas is an easy way to add volume, protein and fibre. Pick up a whole grain baguette from the bakery section to round out your meal. When you get home, shred the chicken, toss with the other ingredients and top with your favourite oil and vinegar. The variations on this are endless; try carrot slaw and raisins, walnuts and apples, black beans and corn or snap peas and water chestnuts to keep things interesting.
- Chicken Pita Pizzas: A package of whole grain pita pockets, a can of pizza sauce and some part skim mozzarella transform your deli chicken into personal pizzas. Simply assemble, broil and dinner is served! Add a pre-made salad from the produce section or some pre-cut veggies and hummus or low-fat dip for a complete meal.
- Chicken Soft Tacos: Make quick and easy tacos with whole grain tortillas, shredded chicken, taco sauce, shredded cheese and veggies of your choice. Or experiment with different fillings, such as chicken, avocado and mango or mashed black beans, salsa and low fat sour cream.
- Chicken Stir Fry: In addition to your chicken pick up a bag of frozen stir fry style vegetables and some whole wheat rice noodles and you’ll have a super easy, healthy meal on the table in no time. Rice noodles cook in minutes, making them a great side dish for busy nights. Warm your vegetables with a bit of garlic or ginger and some low sodium soy sauce, add a tablespoon of brown sugar or plum sauce and thicken with cornstarch for an easy homemade stir fry sauce. Add your chopped chicken and serve over rice noodles. Substitute curry paste and a can of reduced fat coconut milk for another take on this idea.
- Chicken Soup: Combine your chicken with a carton of low sodium broth (or homemade from the freezer if you have it), some frozen veggies, a can of white beans and you have a warm, comforting meal without all the sodium and BPA that comes along with canned soup. Add cooked pasta or rice if you have time, otherwise some frozen or canned corn is an easy grain addition.