You don’t always need a “recipe” and you don’t always need a plan. Sometimes I like to play a little game with myself where I have to come up with a meal using only what is in my kitchen – I can’t leave to purchase ingredients. So I look through the freezer, fridge, and pantry and pretend I’m on an episode of “Chopped” and I only have 30 minutes to figure it all out.
I generally start out with the protein, then build around it. A couple nights ago, I had some boneless skinless chicken breast and no plan. I wanted something quick and easy because I had a particularly long commute home and just wasn’t feelin’ it…if you know what I mean.
I thought about pan frying the chicken, coating with some BBQ sauce and popping it under the broiler and serving it with some boiled or oven roasted sweet potatoes. I also thought about doing a sheet pan meal, but I’m kind of burned out on those. What I ended up doing was preparing a shredded barbecue chicken and stuffing it into baked sweet potatoes. It was different, it was good, it was filling, and it was fairly healthy – low in fat, with lean protein as well as being gluten-free and dairy-free. I sautéed some kale greens and served those on the side, because if there’s nothing green on my plate, I feel incomplete.
Quick Fix: Weeknight BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
You really don’t even need a recipe for this one! It’s a quick, easy to fix, and filling meal.
Sweet Potatoes – one for each person
1 ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (should be enough for 4 servings)
Salt, pepper, sage, thyme
BBQ Sauce – whatever your favorite is
Cumin, salt, cinnamon
Pierce the sweet potatoes and place them in the microwave and cook until done (or place in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes). While the sweet potatoes cook, cut each chicken breasts into 4 pieces. Place in a sauce pan and cover with water or broth if you have it. Add seasonings and bring to a low boil for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked all the way through. I used 1 teaspoon of salt, thyme, ½ teaspoon sage, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Once the chicken has finished cooking, drain it and discard the cooking water, place the pieces on a cutting board or in a large mixing bowl and, using two forks, shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken to the sauce pan and pour your favorite BBQ sauce over the chicken, stirring it up to coat the chicken. Make it as saucy or as dry as you want.
Once the potatoes have finished cooking, carefully slice each one open without cutting all the way through. Be mindful of the steam, because it will be hot and steam burns are the worst. Scoop out some of the sweet potato and save for another use. You’ll want to create a sort of “bowl” out of the potato. Sprinkle with a little cumin, salt, and cinnamon – don’t go overboard, use just enough to bring a little flavor to the sweet potato. Place a couple scoops of the shredded BBQ chicken in each potato, then top each with a few pickles.
I served mine with some sautéed kale greens; serve yours with your favorite veggie, baked beans, or coleslaw.