BBQ Chicken and Sausage Minestrone

So, naming this recipe was harder than naming my child.  Dead serious.

Do I call it BBQ Chicken Minestrone with Sausage?  No, that's not right.  The chicken isn't the only barbecue-y part, the whole soup is.  Do I go with Chicken and Sausage BBQ Minestrone?  No, that's weird.  Um...Chicken Sausage Minestrone?  No, because I didn't use chicken sausage, I used turkey sausage.  Oh, maybe I should add "turkey" to the title.  Chicken and Sausage Minestrone on the Barbie?

Somebody just end this right now.

We're dealing with snow again today, and snow days have taken on a whole new meaning around these parts.  I've always been thankful for the ability to work from home whenever the first snowflake hits the ground, but now we've got a sassy 7-monther to account for.  One that, for some reason that defies all adult logic, hates to nap.  It's like she has FOMO on the status of my TPS reports or something.

I don't know about you, but I'm always ridiculously hungry when I'm snowed in.  What's up with that?  Do I think I'm about to hibernate or something?  It's probably a combination of boredom, plus chilliness, plus a need to feel productive (because it'd be productive to eat ALL the things), plus I love food.  Pluuuus I love food.  Snow day math.

So, today's recipe serves multiple purposes for me.  First of all, the addition of barbecue sauce to this soup reminds me of summer.  On a day like today, I need all the reminder I can get that the sun is actually up there in that big ol' sky.  Second, it is chock full of delicious, hearty, and healthy ingredients like chicken, turkey sausage, whole wheat pasta, corn, and cilantro to keep my belly happy and my mind off diving head first into the gallon of ice cream in the fridge while Avery swings from the rafters.

You do what you gotta do, ya know?

BBQ Chicken and Sausage Minestrone
Loosely based on a recipe by Bev Cooks
Serves 4
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 c frozen corn
2 turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c fresh cilantro, chopped
3/4 c barbecue sauce
1 quart fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 c small shell pasta, whole wheat if desired
Fresh parsley for garnish, optional
Place the chicken at the bottom of a saucepan, and fill with water to cover one inch over the chicken.  Add a good pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Then, turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the hot liquid for an additional 10 minutes.  Drain the water, and shred the chicken using two forks.  I use my hand-mixer!  It works well.  Set the chicken aside.
Meanwhile, heat your broiler to high, and arrange the corn on a baking sheet.  Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Broil for 5 minutes, or until the corn is browned and crispy.  Set aside.
Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add the sausage links, and cook until browned, stirring to crumble, about 7 minutes.  When cooked through, remove the sausage to a bowl and set aside.
Bring your pot back up to medium-high heat, and add the oil.  Add the red pepper and onion, and cook until the veggies are soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and allow to cook 1 minute.  Stir in the cilantro, barbecue sauce, chicken broth, pasta, cooked corn, cooked chicken, and cooked sausage.  Bring to a simmer, and cook until the pasta is cooked, about 8 minutes or so.
To serve, ladle into big bowls and top with parsley or more cilantro as desired.

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