Being an empty nester is great in a lot of ways. For example…when I put food in the refrigerator, it’s there when I want to eat it, my silverware, bowls and glasses no longer mysteriously disappear into the basement, the house stays clean, there’s less laundry and fewer dishes, food and toilet paper last longer, it’s quiet and peaceful, we don’t have to wait up for anyone, the utility bills have all gone down and we have more freedom to come and go as we please. Oh, and one of the best parts about being empty nesters? We don’t have to hide the Nutella!
On the other hand, cooking for 2 is more difficult since I’ve been doing it for up to 9 people for the past 20 years! Meals have definitely gotten more simple to prepare. In fact, yesterday we planned to have salad with chicken for dinner (which wouldn’t go over well with ravenous teenage boys). So I threw two frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot, seasoned with garlic granules, onion powder and salt/pepper, then cooked for 2-3 hours on high. You don’t need to add any liquid because as the chicken thaws there’s plenty. I figured BBQ sauce would be good to finish it off but didn’t have any on hand. So I whipped up this quick recipe, slathered it on top of the chicken, let it cook another hour, made a fresh salad and dinner was ready!
Quick BBQ Sauce
- ½ cup ketchup (I use Simply Heinz*)
- 2 tsp yellow mustard
- 2 T agave or brown sugar
- 1 T molasses (optional)
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp garlic granules
- ½ tsp onion powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a pan. While stirring, bring to a simmer. Pour over chicken or whatever you like! Yield: 2/3 cup or 5.33 ounces
For the salad, I used romaine, chopped tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, purple onions, fresh corn (cooked and cut off the cob) and homemade croutons. Topped with the bbq chicken and drizzled with some homemade Blackberry, ginger balsamic vinegar (from Redstone Olive Oil) dressing. It was very tasty indeed!
Dressing: 1/2 cup blackberry ginger balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper. Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake and enjoy!
* Simply Heinz ingredients: red ripe tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt, and a special blend of spices and flavorings. No GMO ingredients and no high-fructose corn syrup.
– This is a small batch so double or triple as needed. If you like a sweeter sauce, add another tablespoon of agave or sugar. If you like a more tart sauce, add another teaspoon of mustard. The molasses makes the sauce more intense and tasty so I recommend adding it.
– Did you know that most store-bought BBQ sauces contain high fructose corn syrup, and often as the first ingredient? Not to mention modified food starch (chemically altered starch), sodium benzonate (preservative) and/or potassium sorbate (synthetically produced salt as a preservative). “Too much added sugar of all kinds — not just high-fructose corn syrup — can contribute unwanted calories that are linked to health problems, such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high triglyceride levels. All of these boost your risk of heart disease.”
Source: Various ketchup labels and http://www.mayoclinic.org