We totally get into ruts around here.
I feel like I make the same thing over and over. I mean, that’s okay because we like what I choose to make and they are our favorites but, sometimes, you just want to mix things up a bit. Am I right?
Growing up, my family never really ate red meat so it is totally foreign to me. I will throw a roast into the crock-pot like once or twice a year, but that’s the extent of the red meat recipes in this house. Soooo…
….since we do not eat red meat, we tend to overload ourselves on chicken. We love chicken. Maybe a little too much. For example, yesterday, I shared a tentative menu plan for the week. The menu included chicken enchiladas, chicken stir-fry, and grilled chicken salads. Yep. It’s chicken, chicken, chicken. There was a time that raw chicken grossed me out and I refused to work with it. Those days are, obviously, long gone. I feel so grown up.
Last night, I headed to the kitchen to get started on the chicken enchiladas that I had planned but then my mind wandered away from enchiladas and veered toward something using barbecue sauce. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have seen a photo that I shared of the three bottles of Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce sitting on the shelf in my refrigerator with the caption, “Note to self: we do NOT need to buy anymore BBQ sauce.” Something had to be done about that. Obviously, the sauce was being neglected!
I didn’t want to make just regular BBQ chicken breasts. I didn’t feel like making a BBQ chicken pizza. I also didn’t feel like making BBQ tenders. So then what? What could I possibly make?
I got the wheels spinning and the light bulb finally clicked on…and I braided the chicken.
Okay, well, maybe not the chicken, but I wrapped it up and braided it until it looked like a little mummy. I think it liked it. I know we did.
Whole-Wheat Barbecue Chicken Braid
2-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil (for dough) and 2 tablespoons olive oil (for chicken)
1 cup lukewarm water
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 large boneless-skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided, plus extra for dipping
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
(from Most Awesome Pepperoni Pizza)
Preheat oven to 400.
Lightly grease a 12×9 baking sheet..
Sift flour and salt into a large bowl (I usually just add the flour and salt to the bowl and sift with a fork). Stir in the yeast. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add in olive oil and lukewarm water. Mix until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface (be sure to also lightly flour your hands) and knead gently for 5 minutes. Roll out dough with a rolling pin and press onto prepared baking sheet. If you don’t want to roll the dough with a pin, just pressing it onto the baking sheet works as well. Just be sure to press the dough outward from the center and be careful not to make it too thin. It should be no thinner than a 1/4 of an inch. Cover and allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
While dough is rising, prepare chicken. In a non-stick medium-sized skillet, add oil and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add chicken and salt and pepper, to taste, and sauté until chicken is completely cooked through and no longer pink. Drain and set aside.
After dough has set for 10 minutes, prepare it to be braided. Starting with the baking sheet turned up lengthwise, visualize the rectangle of dough divided into thirds. Using a butter knife, make diagonal slices down the outer third sections, making individual sections that are about an inch wide (you will start making the slice at the outer edge of the center third and continue to the outer edge of the rectangle of dough). These will be the sections that you will braid over your center filling.
When sections are completed, brush 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce to cover the center section of dough. Add 1/4 cup barbecue sauce to cooked chicken and stir to coat. Layer the coated chicken over the barbecue sauce in the middle of the dough. Sprinkle cheeses over the chicken.
To braid, start at one end and fold one section of dough over chicken filling and repeat with section directly across from it from the other side. Lightly press to seal end of section across the filling. Continue braiding each 1-inch section of dough over the filling until there are none left. Slightly fold up the dough on the ends of the braid. Brush the top of the braid lightly with olive oil.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dough is slightly browned and filling is melted and heated through.
Yield: 12 slices
Okay. So, now, I need even more ideas for chicken. I only have about ten more packs in my freezer…
…and what in the world comes after braiding?