I can always tell you when it’s going to rain all day! When I have plans to grill out! Yep. Never fails. So it was another “raid the fridge and clean out the pantry” day, instead! I actually don’t mind those kinds of days, though, and am always up for a good challenge! And after moving everything from the old fridge to the new, I made a mental note of all kinds of things I forgot I even had! Including….Velveeta. VELVEETA. I know…hahaha! I have NO idea what it was even purchased for but I have a feeling it was something “Pinteresting” that never got made!
So the challenge was ON to use this “mystery cheese” and make it taste good. And taste good it DID. Wow was it ever! The cheese sauce was so good that you could eat it as a dip with chips if you wanted to! But we had it over some pulled barbecued chicken thighs that I slow-cooked in the crock pot swimming in the last two bottles of mistakenly boughten diet root beer.
6 hours later, it was fall-apart tender and easy to pull with two forks. I don’t like mine over-shredded, though, and prefer to leave it a bit chunky so you have something to really sink your teeth into. But you can shred it as much as you like.
Choose a nice “crusty on the outside”, “tender on the inside” bakery-style roll. Just choose something sturdy to hold up to all of the juicy, barbecued chicken and the creamy, cheesy sauce. You don’t want to end up with a wet bottom bun and have a soggy mess. Soggy bottoms are never fun! You could easily do these on hoagie rolls, too. Or try the mini pretzel rolls for sliders! Whatever you choose, just make sure they’re hearty enough.
I also added a nice bed of coarsely shredded lettuce to place the chicken onto, and that worked out really well and added a nice, cool crunch. If you’re a coleslaw fan, you can pile that on top and skip the cheese sauce altogether if you’d like.
This is just the recipe for the upcoming weekend to try if you’re in need of something weather-proof , simple, but so delicious you could confidently serve it to company, or would just like to treat the family to some fun, summer sandwiches! And the cheese sauce can be adjusted for heat, and made with all milk or part apple or white grape juice for the kiddos!
So hoping you give this a try soon! They’re really surprisingly good! Have a fantastic Friday all! And don’t let the weather stop you from having a fun weekend!
SLOW-COOKED PULLED BARBECUED CHICKEN ROLLS with BACON, JALAPEÑO & RED ONION BEER CHEESE SAUCE
Makes 5-6 hearty sandwiches
3 – 3 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed (my pkg. weighed 3.2 lbs.)
2 (12 oz.) bottles root beer
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce or your favorite, more if desired/needed
1 stick melted butter or some EVOO
2 tsp. minced garlic
5-6 large bakery-style rolls
3 cups shredded or coarse chopped lettuce
For Cheese Sauce:
2 Tbl. real butter
1/3 cup small diced red onion
2 slices crisp cooked bacon, snipped into tiny pieces
1 Tbl. minced pickled jalapeños, or use fresh if you have them
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 rounded tsp. mustard
1/8 tsp. cayenne
12 oz. Velveeta, cut into small cubes
2 Tbl. beer, can sub apple juice or white grape juice, or use all milk
1 Tbl. milk
Place chicken thighs into large round or oval crock pot, pour root beer over to more than cover, turn on high and cover with lid. Cook for 15 minutes to get it started. Turn down to low and continue cooking until fall-apart tender, about another 5 1/2 – 6 hours. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon to a baking sheet, pour out root beer from crock pot and clean pot up a bit. Shred chicken with 2 forks as much as you’d like leaving in small chunks to finely shredded. Your preference. Add chicken meat back to clean crock, stir in enough barbecue sauce to nicely coat, turn back on to low and heat through well, stirring a few times, for about 20-30 minutes.
While chicken is finishing, chop lettuce and set aside. Stir 2 tsp. garlic into melted butter or olive oil and brush insides of split rolls. Lightly toast, buttered side up, in broiler on a baking sheet. Set aside. (*Watch carefully so you don’t burn the rolls or the garlic!)
To Make Sauce: In medium saucepan, melt butter and quickly sauté red onions just until crisp-tender. (*If using fresh jalapeños, sauté them, too.) Stir in rest of ingredients and keep stirring until cheese has melted and sauce is thick but creamy.
Pile lettuce, then chicken, onto bottom buns; top with small ladles of cheese sauce. Place top buns on, grab some napkins, and dig in!