BBQ Chicken Sandwiches & Quick Cole Slaw

These BBQ Chicken Sandwiches come together in a matter of minutes! A healthy weeknight meal! {Brittany's Pantry}I have been saving this recipe for you!

More specifically, I have been saving it for this time of year.  The time of year when shopping, card labeling, entertaining, visiting, wrapping, traveling, and cookie baking stress people out and fill up our already jam packed schedules.  At the same time, every commercial, magazine, newspaper, cocktail party, and holiday open house (yes…blogs too*see previous post) are providing the opportunity, or at least the resources, to indulge in food that is rich and sweet.  And usually contains lots of butter.

As a general rule, I am not opposed to this.  I am of the firm belief that if you want to eat half of the cookie tray your neighbor dropped off last weekend, far be it for me to judge you.  Or stop you!  Two or three glasses of egg nog?  Why not.  Half a bag of bite sized Milky Ways?  Absolutely.  However, should you do this everyday?  Not so much.  This is why I have no guilt when it comes to food.  I never-and I am not saying that this is necessarily a good thing-deprive myself of any food that I want.  Wait….umm…nope.  Never.  Thankfully, my parents raised me in a generally healthy manner and that has stuck with me.  So I crave salads and homemade wheat bread even more than I crave fettuccine alfredo.  Eighty percent of what I eat could be considered ‘healthy’, so I don’t think about the other stuff too much.

This is one of those dishes that falls into the ‘healthy’ category, but all I think about is how good it is.  Yes it is low in calories, high in fiber and protein, and can be made in thirty minutes, but it also just tastes great.  Kind of a no brainer, huh?  Now do you see why I saved it for the holiday season?  You can make this for your family or just for yourself in a half hour and it is a pleasant reprieve from the normal December fare.  And dare I say, it tastes a bit like summer.  No one you serve it to will ever know (or care) that is is good for them.  My family eats this year round and I like to work it into my weekly menu plan when I know I will be out of the house until just before it is time to eat.  It also reheats wonderfully, so you can make it ahead if you want.  I should let you know that this is not your average barbecue sauce.  It is wonderfully tangy and light, making it a welcome change from the heavy, and sometimes overpowering bottled stuff.  No extra, unpronounceable ingredients here!  And remember.  No judgement from me if you follow it up with a Christmas cookie.These BBQ Chicken Sandwiches come together in a matter of minutes! A healthy weeknight meal! {Brittany's Pantry}These BBQ Chicken Sandwiches come together in a matter of minutes! A healthy weeknight meal! {Brittany's Pantry}One Year Ago: Chewy Ginger Cookies

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches W/ Coleslaw
Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger
This recipe uses a purchased rotisserie chicken for speed and convenience, but feel free to use an equal amount of any kind of chicken or turkey you have on hand.  Remember to purchase the ‘plain’ roasted chicken as it usually has less salt and flavoring.  Also, keep in mind that the addition of slices of bell pepper would be awesome in here.

1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes, low sodium if possible
1/2 c water
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/3 c molasses
1/4 c tomato paste
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp liquid smoke or smoked paprika, recommended but optional
1 whole rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded and meat torn into bite sized pieces or, 3-4 c cooked chicken or turkey
hamburger buns or dollar buns, preferably whole wheat

Coleslaw (recipe below)

In a bit of olive or canola oil, saute the onion and garlic over medium heat just until soft.  Add the next 7 ingredients and reduce heat to low, letting the sauce simmer and thicken, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If you haven’t already, now is the time to remove the chicken from the bones!  Add in the meat, stirring gently, and let heat over low heat, stirring now and then, until all the flavors are developed and it is hot all the way through.  Serve on buns.

Note: It drives me crazy when a recipe calls for only part of a can of something, such as here when you don’t use the entire can of tomato paste.  So what I do is put the leftovers in a small, resealable freezer bag, squeeze out the air and then squish it kinda flat.  Toss it in your freezer!  When I just need a tablespoon or so for a recipe, I just break or whack (with my knife) off a hunk and add it to whatever I am cooking.  I just keep adding and removing it from that same bag and it never goes bad.

Quick Coleslaw
This is not the best version of coleslaw by any means.  It is however great with these sandwiches, extremely healthy, super quick, and a little addictive.  I like it on the side but my husband and kids like it piled on top of the meat in the sandwich.  You choose.

1/2 c plain, nonfat yogurt
1/4 c mayo (I use canola mayo)
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 generous T of honey
pinch of salt and pepper
2 tsp caraway seed, optional
1-1 pound bag of coleslaw mix (this will make your life so much easier) or 1/2 of a small green cabbage, shredded and 3 large carrots, peeled and grated

Mix all dressing ingredients together until incorporated.  Add in the vegetables and toss to coat.