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). Here’s how easy it was: 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. No need to add any liquid because as the chicken thaws there’s plenty. I figured BBQ sauce would be good to finish off the chicken salad but didn’t have any on hand. So I whipped up this Quick BBQ Sauce recipe, slathered it on top of the chicken and let it cook another hour while I made a fresh salad. I topped the salad with the chicken, drizzled on some extra sauce, served with our favorite salad dressing and dinner was ready!
I’ve also included the BBQ Sauce recipe which I created for my Crockpot BBQ Chicken back in 2013. It takes a little longer to cook but makes a bigger batch which is nice to have on hand, especially for summer barbecues!
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
* 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.
Liz’s BBQ Sauce
- 2 cans tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cans chicken broth
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 T honey
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on medium heat until reduced by one-third, stirring often. To adjust sweetness, add more sugar or honey.
– The Quick BBQ Sauce 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).
– I try to keep sugar at a minimum in all sauces and dressings because I’m pre-diabetic. I found this informative article about the health concerns of high fructose corn syrup on the Mayo Clinic Site. Here’s an interesting quote about sugars in general: “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.”