We all have our favorite deli that we rely on for fresh-sliced meat or cheese for sandwiches, salads or even hot, fresh rotisserie chicken to serve as a last minute dinner. My favorite deli is my “secret helper” when it comes to taking shortcuts in the kitchen without compromising quality or freshness. The deli has done all the time-consuming work of cleaning, chopping or roasting. A few fresh ingredients can transform a recipe into a semi-homemade masterpiece. I think of the deli as a source of prepared ingredients that can jump-start my recipes.
Secret Helper #1
Deli rotisserie chicken is a perfect example of making things convenient without compromising flavor. I often don’t have meat thawed in the refrigerator, so I swing by the grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken on my way home from work. No thawing, preparing or cooking.
I simply cut off the meat and use it in any of my recipes that call for cooked chicken. The possibilities for rotisserie chicken recipes are endless - chicken tacos, Fettuccini Alfredo, salads, soups, casseroles, stir-fry and even chicken pizza.
White Chicken Pizza
The moist texture, combined with the flavors from the light and dark meat and the wonderful roasted notes make any recipe calling for cooked chicken taste delicious.
Secret Helper #2
Purchase sliced meat or cheese in 1/2-inch thick slices. The thick slice is perfect for making cubes of meat and cheese that are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. Cubes of ham & cheese taste great stirred into macaroni and cheese or salads. Having cubes on hand also makes an instant snack for the kids.
Italian Pasta & Tomato Salad
I like to think of deli salad as my salad starter. Adding a few fresh ingredients can give salads a fresh new look and taste. I add baby spinach and grape tomatoes to tortellini salad, or stir cilantro into coleslaw. Stirring my cubes of ham and cheese into a vegetable garden salad transforms it into instant dinner.
Here are some additional recipe suggestions that can jump-start your cooking when you use deli ingredients:
Cheesy Fiesta Quesadillas
Country Pasta with Cheese
Chicken & Vegetable Pasta