Food for thought: one chicken, four meals

Recipes and nutrition tips
from the experts



Looking for a simple way to eat healthier and lose weight? Get cooking. People who cook more of their meals at home eat healthier foods and fewer calories, according to a 2014 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dozens of studies back this up. But it can be challenging for busy people to get healthy meals on the table fast. We get asked about it all the time. One simple solution: Start with a chicken. Rotisserie chickens are available in most grocery stores, and can be stretched into multiple meals. Here are four ways.

Meal No. 1: Rotisserie chicken If you have time to roast your own chicken, go for it, but when time is short, a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken is a great foundation for several easy, healthy meals. For meal No. 1, just enjoy some of the chicken with a nice salad or slaw (see recipes, next page). For an easy side, pop a couple of sweet potatoes in the oven at 400° for 35 or 40 minutes — no prep needed. Remove the rest of the meat from the chicken and use the meat and bones for the following recipes. For bigger families, start with two chickens and double up.

Meal No. 2: Easy enchiladas For the sauce, blend a can of mild green enchilada sauce with a can of chopped tomatoes — leave it a little chunky. For the filling, chop up a chicken breast and add olives, jalapeños or whatever you like. Spread some sauce in the bottom of a glass baking pan. Spoon some filling onto a soft corn tortilla, roll up and place in the pan. Repeat until the pan is full. Cover with the rest of the sauce, getting it in between each enchilada. Top with a little cheese. Bake at 425° for 20-30 minutes. Serve with salad, slaw or another green vegetable.

Meal No. 3: Chicken salad sandwiches Chop up some of the chicken scraps and mix with a tablespoon or two of low-fat mayo, a teaspoon of mustard, some chopped celery, salt and pepper. Feel free to improvise with capers, pickles and other veggies. Serve on whole-grain bread with lettuce.

Meal No. 4: African chicken peanut soup (Blue Moon Tavern) Toss a cup of chopped chicken into a soup pot with 2/3 cup diced onion, 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic and 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté 1 minute more. Add 3 cups of broth,* 1/4 cup of tomato paste, 1 cup of chopped stewed tomatoes and 3 tablespoons of chunky peanut butter. Stir and heat, but don’t boil. Enjoy! *If you’re up for making your own broth, boil the chicken bones with some chopped onion, carrot, celery and parsley for an hour, then strain. If not, just buy some broth.