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Playing How to Make Tangy BBQ Chicken Grain Bowls for Picky Eaters | Kelsey Nixon

This is a great recipe when you have picky eaters to feed. "I've got a trick to tackle that short-order cook issue that happens to so many parents of picky kids," says Kelsey Nixon. You can serve these easy and delicious bowls already assembled or deconstruct them by placing each component on the table in separate bowls. That way, people can help themselves to whatever they like, and skip the things they don't. And it's more fun, too!  

Pro Tips from Kelsey: To make this recipe even easier, feel free to use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce and/or a rotisserie chicken. (Chop the meat, toss with the BBQ sauce and broil until it crisps up a bit, about 2 minutes.)  Also, for more of a dressing/dip, you can stir together some of the BBQ sauce with store-bought ranch dressing. My kids love dipping grape tomatoes and baby carrots into it! 

For more family-friendly recipes from Kelsey, check out her Sheet Pan Pretzel Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Kelsey is all about helping fellow moms! Watch her expertly organize a mom of five's cluttered kitchen here


For the Tangy BBQ Sauce:
  • One 15-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 cup molasses
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
For the Chicken:
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup Tangy BBQ Sauce (above), plus ¾ cup for serving
For the Bowls:
  • 3 cups cooked brown basmati or jasmine rice
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and warmed, if you like
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels, charred
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 2 small avocados, diced
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  • 6 ounces shredded pepper Jack or cheddar cheese, for garnish


Serves: 6


For the tangy BBQ sauce, in a medium saucepan, whisk together the tomato puree, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and garlic until fully combined. Turn the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring often, until it has thickened slightly. Remove the sauce from the heat.   

Preheat the oven to 425°F, with a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and nestle a wire cooling rack inside. 

For the chicken, place the thighs in a large bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. Add ½ cup of the BBQ sauce and toss until coated on all sides. Place the chicken on the prepared pan and bake for 5 minutes.  

Remove the chicken from the oven. Using a pastry brush, coat the chicken on both sides with half of the remaining ½ cup BBQ sauce and flip over. Bake for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and brush it with the remaining BBQ sauce. 

Turn the broiler on high and broil the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and it begins to brown on the edges, 4 to 6 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, roughly chop the chicken.  

To assemble, divide the rice among 6 bowls or plates. Top each bowl of rice with equal amounts of BBQ chicken followed by the black beans, corn, tomatoes, onion and avocado. Garnish with cilantro, lime and cheese, if desired. Serve with BBQ sauce drizzled over the top.