What to CookChicken

Two-Pea Pesto Chicken Salad

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For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals that anyone can make -- whether you're in your first apartment or feeding a hangry family.

Today: Instead of spending time to roast a whole chicken, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken to create a dish that's all your own.

This is the first Hangry post to feature meat, which took a concerted effort on my part. I am definitely a carnivore -- a mountain of pulled pork once saved my life, and if a pizza doesn't have pepperoni I’m not 100% sure what it’s doing in front of me --  but I usually don’t stock animals in my fridge. Meat takes longer to cook  (I’m hangry, after all), and I have a little bit of PTSD from my 20th birthday dinner party when I burned 10 stuffed chicken breasts all at once. It was, if nothing else, really impressive. Also a disaster. For these reasons, when in my own kitchen, I tend to veer pretty seriously in the direction of vegetables.

With one exception: rotisserie chicken

If you have the time and will to roast your own whole chicken, you are beautiful and inspiring. You have really lovely dishtowels in your kitchen, probably, and a big bay window, and you grow your own herbs. Maybe you’re my mother? What I know for sure is that I am not among your ranks. I dream of the day that I will be more like you, but for now I go to the store and buy rotisserie chickens in warm plastic containers. 

The reason a whole cooked chicken is so awesome is that it acts as a jumping off point for an entirely new recipe. Eating one plain, while technically possible, is just so silly if you think about how close you are -- you have a chicken in your hand! -- to a myriad of other meal options, from salads and sandwiches to soups and pot pies. This herby dish with two kinds of peas is seriously addictive -- the kind you roast a chicken for, if you’re into that sort of thing.

More: Since you didn't cook the chicken, you have time to make your own pesto for the salad.

Two-Pea Pesto Chicken Salad

1 fully cooked rotisserie chicken (or a whole roast chicken)
1 cup Greek yogurt
6 ounces homemade or store-bought basil pesto
1 heaping cup frozen peas, thawed
1 1/2 cup chopped snap peas

See the recipe (and save and print it) here.

What's your favorite way to dress up pre-cooked or leftover chicken? Tell us in the comments!

Photos by Mark Weinberg

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Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Pea, Pesto, Weeknight Cooking, Dinner, Faster