The Boy and I had a fairly quiet 4th of July. We went for a hike on Teddy Roosevelt Island, and I got to see a whole bunch of ducks lined up on a log. If you know anything about me and my love of farm animals, you know that as soon as I spotted those ducks, I was in heaven. The Boy sighed heavily at me while I took this photo and three more. “Are you afraid you’ll forget what ducks look like?” he asked? I ignored him.
On our way back to the car in Rosslyn, we found this bright and colorful painted wall, which I like to think of as a “blogger wall”, because so many lifestyle bloggers will pose in front of colorful (usually pink?) walls in cute outfits, photographed by their Instagram Husbands, or the professional photographers who trail them around that make lifestyle blogs so very real. Contrast that with me in no makeup, running tee, hiking pants and boots, fresh off the trail looking ever so sexy and inspiring. If only the Boy had better photography skills (this was another moment requiring a deep sigh from him) perhaps those things would not have mattered and we could have managed to make my life look ridiculously unattainable using Photoshop or something. Instead, we get a puddle somewhere 3 feet behind me. Maybe I need to enroll him in a course. Or just accept that I have a very normal life?
The point is, we didn’t do much for the rest of the day when we were done hiking. I think it was a lot of decompression after having people over on Saturday, and a busy week before that shuttling the girls to camp, appointments that had waited until after we returned from England…that kind of good stuff. A lazy day was just what we needed. There was probably an episode of Mr. Robot in there (we’re still catching up on Season 1 – no spoilers!!!), and late in the evening we definitely watched the beginning of the Juno insertion livestream before it got super late and we needed to go to bed since we had work the next day.
But late in that afternoon, we started to think about dinner. We weren’t going to grill because it was raining out. We didn’t have a lot in the way of food in our pantry and refrigerator either. But we did have a bunch of extra barbecue sauce, and a couple chicken breasts in the freezer, so I set to work figuring out a way to turn those into yummy sandwiches (to go with our many many leftover buns – I bought too many). Some adept googling found me this recipe which didn’t require hours in the slow cooker, nor piles of ingredients that I didn’t want to shop for. It was easy, it was fairly quick, and it was just what our tummies wanted. It also felt vaguely thematic, and so we definitely high-fived as we ate our barbecue pulled chicken sandwiches and celebrated being American.
(Barbecue) Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Yield: Enough for at least 6 sandwiches…with maybe a smidge leftover
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
Salt and pepper
1/2 onion, finely chopped, note: we didn’t use an onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, note: we used twice as much garlic because YUM
2/3 cups barbecue sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Hot pepper sauce, note: didn’t have any, so tossed in some Asian chili sauce – still tasty!
3 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 3/4 cups), OPTIONAL (we didn’t use)
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a heavy pot with the onion, garlic and just enough water to cover (about 1-1/2 cups). Add the barbecue sauce, vinegar and a few drops hot sauce (or chili sauce) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred with two forks.
Boil the sauce, skimming occasionally, until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shredded chicken and heat through. Spoon the mixture onto the buns and top with the cheese if desired.
From: adapted from “Pulled Chicken Sandwiches” at Rachael Ray Every Day