Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hawaiian Mmhm BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

aka: Why MJ & I Are Obviously Meant to Be Together Forever

Saturdays at our house are days celebrated by sleeping in, occasionally watching movies, neglecting homework, going to the market, and cooking up lots of deliciousness. I've been missing Jerusalem quite a bit lately, so I was planning on making challah and was dead set on finding matzo meal to make matzo ball soup. But, after searching two of the most likely markets with no luck, I admitted defeat. Besides, MJ was craving a burger.

But not just any burger. Something gourmet. Something packed with flavors. Something with pineapple. And maybe bbq sauce. I, being one of those kids who always picked chicken nuggets over any burger, was a bit skeptical. So, being the awesome, considerate, self-sacrificing wife I am, I persuaded him to think about a bbq chicken sandwich instead. He thanked me later.

After a bit of brainstorming and pantry assessment, we created what we both feel/taste is The Best BBQ Chicken Sandwich Ever. It is possible, however, that we are the only people who would like this so much because it contains a lot of our favorite things, all on the same bun. Perhaps we should have christened it the Destiny Burger. You, dear friends, will have to let me know if this is actually an appetizing combo.

Our tastebuds were in heaven. Sweet pineapple, creamy neufchatel, juicy bbq chicken, rich havarti, crisp butter lettuce, & even more tangy honey bbq sauce? Perfection, right? This was one of those culinary experiments where the results were even better than we'd imagined. The name was inspired by our reaction. Yum. Now I want another one.

Hawaiian Mmhm BBQ Sandwiches
2 rather large pieces of chicken would comfortably make 4 sandwiches. We have—and love—havarti cheese, but mozzarella or provolone would also be yummy. We also used neufchatel rather than cream cheese (we're trying to be healthier & it has 1/3 less fat). And romaine or even iceberg lettuce would also be just fine.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2 inch strips
1 1/2 cups (maybe a bit more) honey bbq sauce (we used Kraft)
4 slices havarti cheese
4 slices deli ham
1 can pineapple rings
1 tblsp. nefuchatel cheese
4 leaves butter lettuce
4 hamburger buns
salt & pepper

1. Slice chicken into strips 1/2 inch thin and place in a glass bowl or plastic bag. Cover generously with bbq sauce. Add 3 tblsp. of the juice from the canned pineapple. Salt & pepper to your taste. Let marinate for at least 3 hours.

2. Cook the chicken using a grill on high heat. You could also bake it in the oven. I attempted to pan fry mine. I would not recommend this approach. It was very splattery.

3. Toast buns lightly. In a small frying pan, heat ham slices for 3 to 5 minutes. Assemble sandwiches. Spread a layer of cream cheese on the bottom bun and place pineapple slice on top of cream cheese. Add a layer of chicken, then the havarti, then a slice of ham, then the lettuce. Spread additional bbq sauce on top bun.

Yes... there were also sweet potato fries. Here are the basics:

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Wash, dry, and slice sweet potatoes into thin strips. Place fries on a large baking sheet.

2. Coat with 2 tblsp. cornstarch. Add 1+ tblsp. olive oil. Spice it up! (I used ground ginger, paprika, a dash of curry powder, salt & pepper, and a little pinch of cayenne.)

3. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the fries are crisp on the edges and soft and fluffy in the centers.