In the last few years, most major supermarkets and the larger warehouse stores have begun to carry whole rotisserie chickens in their deli areas. These cooked birds offer home chefs many wonderful opportunities for super-quick and healthy meals. Try the different flavors available to find your favorite. Just remember to discard the skin and eat mostly white meat. Think of this ultra-convenient precooked poultry any time a recipe calls for cooked chicken breast and cut your cooking time down to zero!

Here are a few super-quick ideas for a variety of healthful dinners using rotisserie chicken:

Meal No. 1: Traditional Chicken Dinner
Simply serve chicken (without skin) with potatoes (instant mashed, or baked/sweet potatoes if there's time) and a frozen vegetable, such as green beans. To make your plate as healthful as you can, avoid using butter on potatoes (a butter spray works well); fill half your plate with veggies and stick to white meat chicken. Even add a bit of gravy if you pick a low-fat brand.

Meal No. 2: Blue Cheese Chicken Salad
Start with a bowl of your favorite bagged salad greens, top with chicken breast, crumbled blue cheese, sliced strawberries, sliced mushrooms and a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Serve with whole wheat rolls.

Meal No. 3: Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Combine shredded chicken breast and your favorite barbecue sauce. Heat through. Serve on whole wheat buns. Serve with homemade low-fat cole slaw and vegetarian baked beans.

Meal No. 4: Chicken Caesar Salad
This stand-by can now be found on many restaurant menus. Toss chicken breast with Romaine, chopped tomatoes, shredded Parmesan cheese, fat-free croutons and fat-free Caesar dressing.

Meal No. 5: Honey Mustard/Avocado Chicken Hoagie
Start with a whole wheat baguette and slice horizontally. To one half, add chicken breast, low-fat honey mustard, sliced avocado and reduced-fat Swiss cheese. Melt cheese under broiler; add top of baguette and serve warm. Serve with tossed salad.

There you have it! Five quick and healthy meals using a fully cooked chicken you can pick up any night of the week. (Make sure the chicken hasn't been sitting out too long at the store and make sure it is nice and hot when you purchase it.)

Remember, the key to healthy, quick cooking is to identify convenience foods that can be used for very quick, healthful dinner preparations.

Rotisserie chickens are one of these great modern conveniences. See what else you can come up with using this easy, nutritious main ingredient!

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