There are two kinds of people in this world: those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. Our house is divided; my husband would just as well eat plain, grilled chicken every night. Me? I spend all day trolling magazines and food blogs for that one dish that will satisfy my taste buds until I get to cook the next meal.
During breakfast with special friends this morning, we were divided on the cook-or-eat-cereal-for-dinner conversation. Absolutely no judgement at K2.0 – there were plenty of nights when my husband traveled for business and my go-to dinner was a hunk of super sharp cheddar cheese, a slice of waaaaay over buttered, Pepperidge Farm, toasted, white bread, and a handful of green grapes. Salty, fatty, sweet and minimal prep. It checked all the boxes.
I’m the first to admit that cooking for one is not much fun. The pleasure of sharing a beautiful meal with a special person is the whole point, most days. I can’t help but wonder: How can people who hate to cook survive the Grab & Go Dinner, without sacrificing their health?
My answer: Rotisserie Chicken.
Well…. not just rotisserie chicken. But building a simple meal around a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken is easy and it involves almost no work. If you are lucky enough to live near a health-conscious grocery, they will have a plain rotisserie chicken with no additives, no injected sodium solution, and no hormones.
Call around, ask your local butcher what they do to their “plain” chicken, where it comes from, and what is added to it. At K2.0, we’re all about the rotisserie chicken at Whole Foods. If you have a Whole Foods nearby, we recommend it for a quick meal that is clean and healthy. (Every Wednesday they are $2 off, as well!) The following is from the Whole Foods website:
Choose either traditional chickens regularly $8.99, or organic chickens, regularly $13.99.
•No antibiotics ever
•No added hormones
•No added solutions or injections
•Complete traceability to farm
In other words, PLAIN, unadulterated chicken. Grandma would be so proud. Well, maybe not. She’d probably want you to go out behind the barn, hack off its head, and roast the damn thing yourself. But this is a post about not cooking. Sorry, Grams.
How to eat chicken at home and not “cook”:
Pick up a rotisserie chicken. (Do I need to say to toss the skin, because it’s full of fat? I think most people know that.) Slice some summer tomatoes. (Does that count as cooking, if you’re slicing?) Freshly ground pepper. Squeeze some fresh citrus over the top. This alone can be a great dinner. But I am told that our readers want more than just a protein and plain veggies.
So, here’s some other ways to enjoy a rotisserie chicken without ever turning on the oven:
- Hand Held: Place a few slices in a whole wheat pita, add sweet apple slices, a spoonful of plain non-fat yogurt or hummus, Sliced red onion, and a few alfalfa sprouts. Yum. Plus, you can take this to work tomorrow. Sub out the apple for avocado. Double yum.
- Chicken & Grain Bowl: Many markets offer grains on their salad bars. (ASK about additives and salt content!) If they have farro, quinoa or amaranth, consider adding them as the base of your bowl. They are a terrific source of both protein and fiber, and will keep you full for hours. Add your chicken on top, and some fresh veggies or fruit. If you need a dressing on it, grab a mason jar, and add: 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1/4C white balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. dried mustard, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Maybe some low-sodium hot sauce too, like Cooper’s Small Batch Hot Sauce. Cap the jar and shake to mix. Shaking a jar is definitely not classified as cooking. You’re safe.
- Chicken Dinner Salad: There are plenty of salad kits on the market, but it’s a healthier bet to pick up your own greens and fresh veggies on the salad bar. (The manufacturers of those salad kits sneak sodium and fat in everything!) Fresh, peeled edamame or a can of rinsed chick peas add fiber and bulk. For the dressing, stick to a little oil and a big splash of vinegar. If salad bars skeeve you out, go for the wash-and-go veggies like fresh beans, cherry tomatoes, bags of pre-cut broccoli or cauliflower, and mung sprouts. I’m pretty sure washing a few veggies isn’t classified as cooking.
- Chicken Tacos: Char your corn tortillas over the gas flame on your stove, if that doesn’t count as cooking. (Oh come on! Don’t look at me like that! It takes 15 seconds to do it, and the result is so much better than a plain tortilla!) Plate them with the chicken, some fresh veggies, some mango or pineapple, a squirt of fresh lime juice or hot sauce, and top with fat-free plain yogurt.
- French Bread Chicken Pizza: Pick up a whole wheat baguette, top with shredded chicken, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, dried oregano, and broil. Maybe you have a fresh basil in your garden. Add a few snips of basil. (Okay, this one might be cheating the cooking thing, with the use of the broiler. But it’s soo good, and it only takes 2-3 minutes.)
- Zucchini Spirals Chicken Salad: Buy some pre-spiraled zucchini and yellow Summer Squash, fresh green beans, and cherry tomatoes in the produce section when you are getting your rotisserie chicken. Toss them all in a bowl with the shredded chicken, and add oil, vinegar, and a small amount of Parmesan cheese. Eat this one al fresco, with a glass of white wine. Pay attention to the sounds of the birds. Feel very smug and fancy.
- “Basian” (basically Asian) Lettuce Cups: Toss the shredded rotisserie chicken with a very small amount of Tamari or Soy sauce, a 1/8 teaspoon of sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Spoon into lettuce wraps, add a few no-salt peanuts, pre-shredded carrots and a dash of low-sodium hot sauce like Cooper’s Small Batch Hot Sauce and it’s dinner! And, the oven is still stone cold! Score!
- Fruited Chicken Salad: Pick out the best looking pre-sliced fruit on grocery store salad bar. Or go with berries in the produce section. Toss the fruit with your shredded rotisserie chicken, add goat cheese crumbles, a tiny bit of olive oil, and brighten up the whole thing with a heavy squirt of lemon juice.
- Hangry Old School Rotisserie Chicken: By the time you get home from the market, you’re hangry, and you can’t wait 5 more minutes to eat something! Stand over the sink and eat the chicken, with a paper towel as your napkin.
- Pour a bowl of cereal. Chicken is too much trouble.
SUPER (NON-COOK!) LEMON JUICE HACK: Did you know that rolling a lemon on the counter and then inserting a skewer into the bottom end of the lemon enables it to be JUICED without even picking up a knife? It’s true! And I know for a FACT that this does NOT qualify as “cooking!” 🍋
Don’t forget to roll it on the counter and get it all squishy inside. Then just insert the skewer, pull it out, and give it a good squeeze! This works better on room temperature lemons than if they’ve been in the fridge. You can zap the lemon in the microwave for 5 seconds, if you aren’t afraid it will count as “cooking.”
And that’s all we’ve got!
Enjoy your long weekend, but remember to honor our fallen soldiers tomorrow with a prayer/thought, a mention of someone’s name or by displaying the US flag. 3:00 pm EST is the National Moment of Remembrance. If you know a family who lost a loved one to combat, training, or service in the Armed Forces, pick up the phone, send off a card, or make a short visit to them. Let them know their loved one is remembered and revered by you. I’ve never seen this published anywhere, but I personally feel Memorial Day is a day to remember those who served and subsequently succumbed to suicide because of PTSD and depression that resulted from combat. Those brave men and women also lost their lives because they wanted to serve their country, and they are equally deserving of our remembrance.
It’s the land of the free because of the brave. God Bless. xo