Everyday Cheapskate: Rotisserie Chicken to the Rescue
If you're fresh out of ideas (let alone desire) to make one more home-cooked meal, but even the thought of another take-out or curbside pickup leaves you cold during these days of uncertainty and angst, I invite you to embrace these two words: rotisserie chicken.
Not exactly take-out, not completely home-cooked, think of a well-seasoned, perfectly cooked rotisserie chicken as your ace in the hole -- a kitchen assistant with an extra pair of hands to help you get delicious, home-cooked meals on the table in a flash.
These days, nearly every grocery store or supermarket -- even warehouse clubs -- offer fully roasted, hot and ready-to-go rotisserie chickens for around $5. In fact, rotisserie chickens are so readily available, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued safety guidelines for selecting and storing them. See below for safe handling information.
Today, I want to give you basic guidelines for what to do with a rotisserie chicken as soon as you get home.
While some stores are now offering a variety of flavors (barbecue, lemon herb and so on), try to stick with a plain bird. You will be adding flavorings and seasonings yourself, depending on how you end up using the bird.
BUYING AND STORING
You want a chicken that is hot when you buy it. Bacteria become active between 40 F and 140 F, so it should be above that range when you pick it up. It should feel hot to the touch. Eat, refrigerate or freeze the chicken within two hours.
The USDA recommends consuming rotisserie chickens within three to four days of purchase. Pick up two chickens, and you'll have enough meat for several meals, plus plenty to freeze for later.