Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Mustard BBQ Sauce

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It’s unseasonably warm here so I thought it was the perfect time to share an easy dinner that requires almost no cooking and tastes like BBQ mastery, at least in my humble opinion. I’ve made a quick mustard based BBQ sauce that comes together in 15 minutes and makes anything taste good. Combined it with rotisserie chicken and topped with it all with a Cilantro and Lime Coleslaw, making sandwich heaven.

The sauce is inspired by traditional Carolina pulled pork. I am in awe of their devotion to tasty meat and the amazing sauces that flow out of that area. I will probably never own a smoker, become a pit boss or devote my life to the BBQ cause but I do want to create my own little version. I’m sure they would roll their hickory smoked eyes at me for my short cuts and use of chicken, but this is a damn tasty sandwich that is maybe a little on the healthier side.

I made this while my mom was visiting, she enjoyed every bite and we were divvying up the last delicious mouthfuls. There is a  bit of a zing to the sauce so for my son I combined his chicken with a tomato based sauce. He of course ate the mustard sauce proving my extra steps completely unnecessary.

I’ve listed both  the recipe for the sauce and the coleslaw in this post because they do go so well together but they would be equally delicious on their own. The slaw is tasty, light and makes a great side and the BBQ sauce could make my shoes edible.

I have made a recent change to the BBQ sauce recipe. I found that without cooking the onions first the sauce needed more time. Since I want this to be quick I’ve added the step of cooking the onions making the sauce yummier faster.

BBQ chicken Sandwich

Mustard BBQ Sauce

1Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup mustard
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 cloves finely diced garlic
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp soya sauce
salt to taste

In a saucepan over medium heat cook the onions until they have softened and start to become translucent. Add the garlic briefly cooking then combine in all the ingredients. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt to taste. The flavours develop more with cooking so if there is time, let it hang out for as long as possible

Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

2 large carrots peeled and grated
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 an avocado
1 tbsp mayo
juice from a small lime
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
salt to taste

Combine the carrots, cabbage and cilantro in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl mash the avocado getting it as smooth as possible then mix in the remaining ingredients. Toss the dressing and cabbage mixture. Coleslaw to me seems to taste better once it has had a few minutes to mingle with the dressing so I suggest tossing the salad at least 5 minutes before using.

If avocados are unavailable increase the mayo to 3 tbsp and keep the rest of the recipe the same

For the sandwiches combine 4 cups of hand pulled chicken with the sauce. I used leftover chicken from roasted chicken I made. For a quick dinner a rotisserie chicken would work perfectly here. Pile the saucy chicken on your favourite type of bun and top with the coleslaw. Enjoy!!

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Italian Chicken Sausage and Pepper Pizza

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I love the idea of sausage and peppers. I see people eating this all the time on The Food Network and it looks so amazing. But it’s not popular around here and my attempts at recreating it have been meh. So, it’s been on the back burner until the pesto I bought at Costco was about to go off.  I’m not sure what made me think that this would all work together but it does fabulously. Apparently Italian sausage, peppers and cheese would all really like to hang out with pesto, especially on a pizza.

Delicous Italian sausage and pepper pizza

The chicken sausage is a newer addition to this pizza and one I think makes it even better. It’s healthier, full of flavour and gives more room for using a little butter with the onions and the perfect amount of cheese. All together I had this on the table in just over 30 minutes and it beats the pants off any delivery pizza I’ve found.

Sausage

1 package ground chicken thighs (about 450g)
1 tsp fennel
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper

In a small pan over medium heat, toast the fennel until it begins to brown. Remove from heat and combine with the red pepper flakes in a spice grinder. Grind until broken up but not ground and add to a mixing bowl. Combine with the remaining ingredients.  I used a teaspoon to loosely form small meatballs.

In a sauté pan over medium heat warm 1 tbsp of canola oil. Add the chicken sausage and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Onions and Peppers

1 tbsp butter
1 thinly sliced onions
2 orange/yellow or red bell peppers sliced thinly
1 clove of crushed garlic
salt and pepper

Over medium heat melt the butter and then add the onions. Sauté for five minutes and then add the peppers and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Making the Pizza

5 whole wheat Naan or 2 full size pizza crusts
1 cup grated old cheddar
1 cup grated mozzarella
pesto

Preheat the oven to 425F. On each piece of Naan spread about 2 tbsp of pesto. Combine both cheeses and sprinkle a thin layer on each pizza. Top with the pepper and onions mix and cooked sausage. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cook for about 12 minutes or until the cheese is beautiful and melty. 

 

Toddler eating pizza

The house is a bit messy, but I’ve got some happy well fed kids:)

 

I hope this becomes a pizza favourite in your house too and encourages you to try to make your own sausage and skip the delivery to make something even better.

Chicken Tikka Masala Pasta

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One of my favourite ways to make an amazing pasta dinner is to play with a meal that I already love and to translate those flavours. Tikka Masala is a rich and creamy Indian dish using the spice blend Garam Masala. I’ve talked about Masala before in my Indian Spiced Sloppy Joe recipe. It’s a combination of warm fragrant spices and it instantly makes my mouth water.

Tikka Masala is generally not low calorie and uses whipping cream and butter to add richness to the dish. I’ve cut back on the cream and all the butter. By using Greek yogurt there is still richness without the heaviness. To save time I’ve used cooked chicken that I made using the Roast Chicken recipe leaving off everything but salt and pepper, a rotisserie chicken would be perfect too if you don’t have the time for making roast chicken. In a traditional recipe the chicken would have been marinated in yogurt for at least an hour. To get the tang of the yogurt without the time of marinating, the yogurt is added at the last minute. Spinach provides greens and if you like a little heat add a diced jalapeño while cooking the onions.

If pasta isn’t an obsession for you like it is for me this would be delicious over rice, quinoa or really anything, even cardboard would probably taste good with this sauce:)

Chicken Tikka Masala Pasta

2 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 cup diced onion (about 1 med onion)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
1 heaping tbsp garam masala
1 large can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup whipping cream
4 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach
1 tsp salt if using no salt added tomatoes. Season to taste otherwise
2 cups sliced cooked chicken
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

4 cups uncooked rigatoni pasta, cooked to package instructions

Over medium heat sweat the onions until they become translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and garam masala. Allow the spices to cook for five minutes stirring regularly, then stir in the diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and add the spinach. It may need to be added in batches. It will seem like a lot but will cook down quickly. Once the spinach is wilted in mix in the whipping cream. Season with salt and lay the chicken in the sauce. Simmer for another five minutes and remove from the heat. Once the sauce has stopped bubbling fold in the yogurt and cilantro, if the sauce is still too hot the yogurt can seperate. Pour the sauce over the pasta and gently combine.

I like to grate a little parmesan on the top after serving.

Tikka Masala

To get this meal on the table in 30 minutes:

  1. Have the salted water on the stove over high heat for the pasta
  2. Once the tomatoes have been added pour the pasta into the boiling water
  3. After adding the pasta slice the chicken
  4. Once the spinach is added chop the cilantro and measure the yogurt
  5. After adding the yogurt and cilantro let the sauce rest a few minutes while you set the table, then add the pasta

Enjoy and if you’re interested in how this dinner fits into my weekly meal plan It can be found in my Weekly Meal Plan list.

20 Minute BBQ Chicken Pizza

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Since it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow I thought I would share a recipe especially for my husband. He’s never really liked pizza and it’s one of my favourites. I could get him to agree to ordering pizza if we ordered BBQ chicken, but I always found it bland or greasy tasting. So, here is my better then delivery version, that’s also cheaper, healthier and as fast as delivery. This has become not only his favourite but all of ours.

I’ve made this a quick dinner by using rotisserie, or left-over chicken, and whole wheat Naan. I like using the Naan over store bought pizza crusts because it seems easier to find in whole wheat, tastes better and I like the individual size. One day, I will figure out how to make a quick crust but until then, this is the best I’ve found.

bbq pizza helperI also love that my son can help with putting the pizzas together. I chop and prepare all of the ingredients and have them ready. Getting him involved in the dinner making process seems to have the added benefit that he’s willing to try almost anything I make and I get some real quality time with him.

This recipe makes 4-5 Naan size pizzas, or two medium sized pizzas

Preheat the oven to 400F

BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup of your favourite BBQ sauce
1/3 cup tomato sauce
Frank’s Red Hot sauce to taste

Mix thoroughly, adding a touch of salt if needed

Spread a layer of sauce on each crust

Pizza

1 cup cheddar cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup diced pineapple
1/2 of a red or orange yellow pepper sliced thinly
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onions or diced red onions
1 cup chopped cooked chicken, about one chicken breast

Mix the two cheeses and spread half of the cheese in a thin layer on top of the sauce.

Spread the chicken, pineapple, peppers, onions and cilantro over the cheese and sauce. Top with the remaining cheese.

Place directly on oven rack and cook about 10 minutes, or when the cheese is melty and delicious

Here’s how BBQ chicken pizza fits into my weekly planning, Weekly Meal Plan

BBQ pizza finished

 

One of my best friends has a very talented photographer in her life and when she tried this recipe he was kind enough to share a photo of their finished pizzas. Here’s a link to his amazing photography, James Lissimore.

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