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Raise your hand if you pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner at least once a month or more. It's almost impossible not to. That aroma. That roasted skin. That perfectly seasoned meat. That no-cook convenience. But are you actually getting the most out of that bird? Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom, is here to show you how to make three different dinners, all from one rotisserie chicken. Watch the video up top and scroll down to get the recipes. Your tummy and your budget will thank you.

1. Pesto Pasta

close up of gemelli pasta in creamy pesto sauce with chicken garnished with basil chiffonade
Credit: Allrecipes

For dinner #1, Nicole uses the chicken breast meat as a shortcut ingredient in this recipe for Penne with Chicken and Pesto. She uses gemelli pasta, but penne, fusilli, or rotini are also good choices. Tip: Reduce the heavy cream until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon before stirring in the pesto and Parmesan cheese. (If you don't want to make pasta, keep scrolling to get a bonus idea down below!)

2. Chicken Fried Rice

close up on dish of Easy One-Pan Chicken Fried Rice with peas and carrots
Credit: Allrecipes

Dinner #2 uses almost all the rest of the chicken meat to make Nicole's recipe for Easy One-Pan Chicken Fried Rice. A mix of bite-size vegetables are cooked right in, making this truly a complete one-pot meal. Leftover rice is ideal for making the best fried rice, but you can also use ready-made frozen rice if you need a quick and easy option. Tip: Be sure to save the carcass for dinner #3. You can pop it in the freezer if you're not going to use it right away.

3. Lemon Chicken Soup

bowl of Greek Avgolemono Chicken Soup garnished with fresh herbs
Credit: Allrecipes

Dinner #3 demonstrates that even the most picked-over chicken carcass can turn into a delicious, satisfying meal. Nicole modifies this recipe for Greek Avgolemono Chicken Soup by simmering the carcass in about eight cups of chicken stock until what's left of the meat falls away from the bones. Skim the froth off the surface of the stock as it gently simmers. Remove the carcass and pick off any remaining meat. Although the recipe calls for rice, Nicole likes to substitute the same amount of orzo pasta, but you can go either way. A mixture of beaten eggs and lemon juice adds the signature creamy texture and tang to the soup. Tip: To prevent the eggs from curdling, beat in a ladleful of hot soup into the egg and lemon mixture to "temper" it, then pour the mixture into the soup. Top with fresh herbs before serving.

Bonus: Gourmet Chicken Baguette

toasted baguette topped with pesto mayonnaise, arugula, sliced chicken, and caramelized onions
Credit: Allrecipes

If you don't want to make the pesto pasta, make an open-face chicken pesto sandwich instead. You simply toast a baguette, stir pesto into mayonnaise, spread it on the baguette, top with arugula, caramelized onions, and sliced chicken.

You can connect with Nicole as NicoleMcmom on Allrecipes and on Instagram @nicolemcmom.

More tips, tricks, and ideas from Nicole: