Things I loved when I was little: ketchup, BBQ sauce, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, salsa, etc.
Things I hated when I was little: tomatoes.
Things I haven’t 100% come around on even though I am practically 30 years old: tomatoes.
Stupid, right? It doesn’t make any sense. But at least I’m in good company: Bon Appetit recently did a slideshow collecting quotes from little kids who love ketchup but hate tomatoes. My personal favorite:
Question: Does your mom ever try to sneak raw tomatoes into your food?
Answer: Once. She put a raw tomato in my pizza, and I said, ‘What’s that big lump?’ and she said, ‘It’s just an air bubble.’ But I looked and it was a tomato and I yelled, ‘Mom! What are you doing? You know I don’t like tomatoes!’ And I made her pick it out.
Sounds reasonable, right?
This pasta passes the little kid test with flying colors — the only tomatoes you’ll find in here are in the form of BBQ sauce.
No air bubbles allowed.
LIGHTENED-UP BBQ CHICKEN ONE-POT PASTA (recipe adapted from Prevention RD)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
1/2 red onion, diced
3 cups water
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
12 oz whole wheat penne pasta
1/2 to 3/4 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
chopped cilantro or green onions, for garnish (optional)
1. In stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add chicken and onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove chicken and onions to plate; set aside.
2. In same pot, add water, chicken broth, penne, and salt. Bring to boiling and simmer 12-15 minutes, until liquid is almost absorbed, pasta is tender and mixture is thick and syrupy. Stir in barbecue sauce and Greek yogurt. Once mixed, add in reserved chicken, onions, and shredded cheese. Stir to combine and cook until everything is heated through. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
3. Serve immediately. Garnish with cilantro, green onions, or additional shredded cheese, if desired.
This is quick and easy and should be universally appealing enough that no one will name you pick out any “air bubbles.” Yum!