Thursday, February 09, 2006

6 Meals From a Costco Chicken

If you have a Costco membership you probably already know about the chickens. A hot, plump, juicy, rotisseried bird for about $5 that has a lot of rapturous fans. Including me. LaLa and I can typically squeeze about 5-6 meals out of one chicken using a few simple recipes. Now that we are attempting to concentrate our shopping during a month, this includes a montly Costco trip. So the 6 meal Costco Chicken is becoming a welcome monthly ritual.

We're not the only ones using a pre-cooked chicken to jump-start our meals and we're still scouting for more recipes. But below are our favorite uses of the chicken and I hope to post more in the future. These recipes feed the two of us, and the chicken is typically one of many ingredients (or else it wouldn't last, right?). You will obviously have to adjust for your own portion needs, etc ;)

The key to this not being an a$-ache is to get all the chicken off the bone asap (we usually do this right after the "first meal") and preferrably shred it right away and store it in a container in the fridge already shredded. These meals then are very easy to me, I'm lazy!

First Meal...Hunk o' Chicken
When we bring the bird home, we carve one side of the breast off and split it between the two of us. If we can't eat it within 2 hours of bringing it home, it's best to refrigerate it for safety and eat it cold. Of course we eat something else in addition to the chicken...either a vegetable or a salad to round out the meal.

Clutter2Cash's Chicken Quesadillas
We usually have this about 3 times per chicken. Typically we will have at least one tortilla's worth a piece and occasionally we'll split another. The key here is to get out all your ingredients before you start. Most ingredients are not precisely measured, so do it to your taste. This recipe is per tortilla:

  • 1 Tortilla (we use Manny's white flour)
  • 1 handful of "mexican mix" pre-shredded cheese
  • a few ounces of shredded chicken (enough to lightly cover one half the tortilla)
  • about a teaspoon of shredded cilantro
  • Chipotle powder
  • Ancho powder
  • Frank's Red Hot
  • 1 half a piece of cooked crumbled bacon [optional, but totally worth it]
  1. Pre-heat a large cast iron skillet, flat griddle pan or similar on medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, place the tortilla on it for a few seconds, then flip. Keep an eye on the heat and the tortilla as you build the quesadilla, you don't want the tortilla getting too crispy.
  2. Spread the cheese over the entire tortilla and sprinkle both chipotle and ancho powders to taste (chipotle is spicy, ancho is milder) over the cheese. I typically do a generous dusting of both.
  3. Spread the shredded chicken evenly over half the tortilla. Spread the crumbled bacon over the chicken.
  4. Add Frank's Red Hot (Tabasco won't cut it folks) to taste (I do several zig-zagged splashes across the entire tortilla and top the chicken with cilantro before folding the bare cheese side over to cover the chicken side. Press flat with a spatula. If cheese is not completely melted or tortilla hasn't started to slightly crisp, cook a very short while longer, flipping if necessary.
  5. Cut into thirds or quarters (like pie wedges) and serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole etc...or even plain!
  6. Variation: add sliced avocado before closing (super yummy)

Clutter2Cash's Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken
We can usually serve this twice in addition to the 3 quesadillas meal which usually brings our total to 6. Sometimes we use too much chicken on the quesadillas and only have enough for one sesame noodles meal. My version is really a slightly tweaked version of Rachel Ray's but also serves two:
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2-1 tsp of chili garlic sauce (to taste)
  • A few ounces of noodles per person (Rachel uses 1/3 pound thin spaghetti, cooked to al dente, drained and cooled - I use a serving of bean thread noodles each or soba noodles if I have them)
  • [optionally add: small amount of brown sugar to taste, small amount of rice or apple cide vinegar to taste]
  • Shredded Cilantro (Coriander) for garnish [optional: use 1 chopped scallion instead]
  1. Cook noodles as per directions and when done run under cold water to stop cooking.
  2. Whisk peanut butter, sesame oil, garlic sauce and any of the other optional ingredients in a large bowl until mixed and smooth.
  3. Add noodles and toss to coat. Either add shredded chicken and toss or top served noodles with shredded chicken (whatever your preference). Garnish and serve.

What other ways do you use up a chicken? Share your recipes below and join the fun...


  1. ok, i've been known to devour an entire costco chicken in one sitting (after a 15 mile run usually)....that's probably not very cost effective. your recipes sound great. if i can only exercise some control the next time!

  2. LOL...well it's still only $5 for about 3 cups of protein, so not too shabby if you look at it that way ;)

  3. This is great... the blogger cookbook is really coming along!

  4. This sounds really yummy, esp. the enchiladas. I could pretty much live on tacos and burritos, but it's nice to have some variety. I'll have to try the enchiladas.

  5. Check with for at least 3 cookbooks devoted to using rotisserie chickens. Even Betty Crocker has one! Good post, good recipes. I roast my own, 5# at less than $4.00. Same difference, but I really like the juices to use in other meals, especially soup from the carcass.

  6. Anon, you reminded me what I forgot to include! My chicken stock recipe! I'll have to get on that as a followup :) If I already have a lot in the freezer I won't make more though - I only have limited space

  7. I like to make chicken chili blanco with leftover chicken, make a cheaters chicken "stirfry" with a pkg of stirfry veggies, some teryaki sauce, broth cornstarch etc and serve over rice, use little bits to make homemade fried rice, and of course chicken soup!

    I'm usually using boiled chicken thighs for those recipes, but the Costco chicken is the same idea once you have it off the bone :)

  8. I've found the key to reusing the chicken is to pull all the meat off the bones before it gets completely cooled - once the chicken has been refrigerated, it is much harder to get to all of the meat.

  9. Other things I do with those precooked birds:

    chicken salad: add some mayo, onion, and pcikle relish or raisins and you've got great sandwich filling

    Soup: after the first hunk o chicken I take off all the meat I can and throw the carcass in a crockpot with water to cover and any veggie ends. Let it cook overnight for stock. Then later I pick out any meat still clinging to the bones, heat up some of the stock and throw in a few more veggies, some rice and spices and call it dinner.

  10. Great post! I'm making those enchiladas SOON.

  11. loved the Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken recipe! husband liked adding extra chili sauce and i added brown sugar

    1. Glad you enjoyed it and tinkered to your tastes!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...