Don't Throw Out Your Rotisserie Chicken Scraps! Make Soup Instead

Is rotisserie chicken the kind of thing anyone eats the day they buy it? You wouldn't think so, judging by the plethora of recipes and tips telling you what to do with the leftovers. Yes, you can use up leftover rotisserie chicken in salads and sandwiches and casseroles and repurpose it in just about every other food application short of using it as an ice cream topping (although we wouldn't be surprised if someone's tried). But even when you get down to the (almost) bare bones of the bird, it's still not ready for the trash can. Instead, you can do as Mashed recipe developer Susan Olayinka does and make leftover rotisserie chicken soup.

While Olayinka's soup does call for some chicken left on the bones, it won't really matter if you can't scrape together the full 2 cups that she calls for as the soup is full of carrots, onions, celery, and pasta that all do a fine job of bulking up the soup on their own. The chicken carcass with whatever scraps of meat remain should be sufficient to flavor the broth, while Olayinka also notes that "The texture will be thickened by the bones."

But wait, your beak-to-tail odyssey isn't done yet!

Even when you've used up every last scrap of chicken clinging to the bones to make soup, the bones themselves have still more goodness to give up. In Olayinka's recipe, they are only simmered for half an hour, but if you then put them in your slow cooker with another few cups of water, you can cook them for a day or two to extract even more collagen in the form of a nutritious bone broth.

Once the bone broth is done, you still won't need to toss the bones if you're willing to put in just a little more work. Bake the bones at high heat (400 to 450 F) until they are completely dried out, then let them cool down before smashing them to bits. (This is the fun part.) Take the bone fragments and grind them to powder and voilĂ ! You now have some bone meal that can be used to fertilize your garden.