Simple solo supper

When Jan comes back from being away at a fire assignment, he’ll often ask me what I ate while he was gone. It’s a simple enough question, but I’m always embarrassed to answer. See the thing is, I don’t always feel like going to great lengths cooking dinner when it’s just me. Really, I’m lazy. When Jan returns, I’ll go through my list of lunch and dinner dates catching up with friends, or my rundown of what I ate at my dad’s house. 

But I’m really just putting off his question with a bunch of distractions. He cracks up when I finally answer with one word: chicken. 

Chicken ten ways, I call it. 

Or more precisely, Costco rotisserie chicken (and you can’t beat the price at $4.99), cooked and ready to enjoy. There’s no end to all the different meals I can make with it, besides just eating the chicken by itself. I’ll eat the drumstick and thigh the same night I buy it, still often finger-burning-hot by the time I get it home. Then I use the rest for a variety of other meals over the course of a week, including Chinese chicken salad, chicken noodle soup, chicken tacos, and chicken enchiladas. 

 
The short list of dinner ingredients

I recently shared the first night dinner (when you eat the chicken right away when it is fresh and hot) with my friend Nevin, and she was impressed by the simplicity of it.

That day, I came home from a visit to my dad’s with a bounty of eggplant, squash, tomatoes, figs, and some gourds I have no name for. But for this dinner, I was focusing on the fresh tomatoes. 
From dad's garden

I sautéed some spinach in olive oil and garlic, along with some tomatoes. After plating, I sprinkled the vegetables with some parmesan cheese and enjoyed.   

When I told Jan about this dinner, he only shook his head. On one hand, I think he’s glad my diet hadn’t consisted solely of Cheerios and rocky road ice cream, while on the other, he’s disappointed at my lack of creativity in the kitchen. After all, he had either been eating hearty catered meals at fire camp, or helicoptered-in MREs out in the wilderness (MRE=Meal, Ready to Eat, also known as military rations). With my access to a kitchen full of ingredients, he’d hoped I’d be eating better than him. 

But with this year’s fire season keeping Jan closer to home, somewhere along the way, he started to open his mind up a little more to this Costco chicken. He started brainstorming dishes outside of my usual salads and Tex-Mex, and while he has yet to purchase a chicken on his own, he may be getting close.  

I’m hoping this post will serve as part one in a series about all the great things we can do with a pre-cooked Costco rotisserie chicken, with more semi-lazy dinners and lunches to come.