Our favorite Sunday activity in the fall doesn’t have anything to do with tailgating and pigskins. Instead, it has everything to do with cranking up the oven and slow roasting a plump whole chicken stuffed with herbovacious goodies.

And even though it’s now only early August, I am totally craving cozy sweaters and roast chickens. So lucky for me, our local grocery store sells rotisserie chickens all year-round for just $5 on Fridays. Five bucks! You can’t even buy a whole raw chicken for five bucks and we don’t have to heat up the kitchen for a quick dinner!

Of course with just the two of us in the house, we always have leftover chicken so I’m constantly trying to come up with ways to use up the leftovers. These chicken tacos with cilantro cream are a prime example of a perfect meal made with said leftovers…and actually, I bought the whole roaster with the intention of making two quick recipes (yielding about 4 meals or 8 servings) with it in the first place.

We attacked the first half of the chicken to use for some creamy baked chicken taquitos and the other half got shredded and stuck in the fridge for the next night (i.e., for these tacos). And oh goodness, these tacos!  A quick and fresh cilantro cream dressing that you’ll whip up in the blender lightly coats a bowlful of crunchy red cabbage, scallions, and just enough diced jalapeño to create a little kick. This cilantro-cabbage slaw will sit for just 15 minutes to allow the cabbage to soften just a wee bit and then you’ll add the shredded chicken, mound the mixture in some soft flour tortillas, and dive in.  The crunchy-soft contrasting textures of the thinly sliced red cabbage and the chicken and flour tortillas is really what makes these tacos so crave-worthy (aside from the creamy dressing, of course) and the cabbage has such a mild flavor when eaten raw that I strongly encourage all the skeptics out there to give it a chance.

What about the rest of the chicken, you ask? Well as my mom always says (insert best Forest Gump impression here), waste not want not! I freeze the bones from my roast/rotisserie chickens in a zipper bag until I have a second carcass and then I’ll make chicken stock (another post for another time). So from this one [$5] chicken, we’ve made two full recipes (yielding about 4 meals or 8 servings total) and the carcass will help to produce about 4 quarts of chicken stock in the near future.

It’s an amazing shortcut to be able to use whether you’ve got crazy-busy weeknights happening or it’s just too darn hot to cook. And if you want to pull out all the stops, try roasting your own chicken (autumnal Sundays are not required) – for the 10 minutes it takes to prep a whole chicken and the 1hr 20min (approximately) of downtime while it cooks, there is nothing more satisfying…except when you’re able to throw together amazing meals like this one with just a few leftovers!

Need some other ideas for using up leftover roast chicken?

“This post is part of the BlogHer Leftover Makeovers editorial series. Our advertisers do not produce or review editorial content. This post is made possible by Bank of America and BlogHer.”