(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Some of the best elements of summer: beach balls, bathing suits...and barbecue sauce? Sure, would say most warm-weather foodies. Because there are so many fun things to do, though, time is also one of those seasonal elements at a premium. Therefore, the majority of revelers purchase store-bought sauce rather than stirring up their own from scratch.
With virtually no work, a few economical stir-ins can make all the difference between just a good jarred product and a gourmet experience. Since some spices and other ingredients - like fruits, vegetables and herbs - are almost pure antioxidants, they can be nutritional bonuses, too.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, economical, fun - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare.
The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for tasty home cooking and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since there are no right or wrong amounts.
These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you - or your kidlet helpers - choose to use can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
To bases of store-bought bargain-brand original-style barbecue sauces, consider stirring in the following and, for an extra treat, also think about serving the sauces slightly heated, even if for use with a sandwich or a salad: Hurry Up and Curry
Curry powder, finely diced mango and finely chopped cilantro and shallots. Ginger Goodness
Finely shaved fresh ginger, diced lemongrass (or finely grated lemon zest), lite soy sauce and plum sauce (available in jars in the ethnic aisles of most major supermarkets). Mustard Is a Must
Spicy or Dijon mustard, dried tarragon, ground black pepper and cooked black beans that you've ground into a paste in a blender or food processor. Vigor from Vinaigrette
Olive oil-based vinaigrette, finely chopped red onions, button mushrooms, chives, and pumpkin seeds or sunflowers seeds that you've ground into a paste in a blender or food processor. Sweet Sensations
Honey, finely grated orange zest, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
It's not considered environmentally "green" today to say "double bag it" at the grocery store, but at home, that might be just the tip for portion control for those watching their weight. For freshness, double bags (whether sandwich bags or plastic grocery bags you are recycling) in the refrigerator or pantry are excellent: That little, perhaps half-cent step of doubling almost always keeps food "first-day" fresh. However, with calorie-laden goodies, it also serves as a good idea. If you have leftover pizza or part of a batch of sugar-free dessert, remove half of the portion you or your child might want and secure the rest in a double bag with the understanding that if you or the kidlet wants a bit more that's fine, but you'll have to reopen the packaging. This helps in determining if you are really still hungry or just mindlessly munching. Psychologists also have found that just that slight effort and time increase are enough to make the majority of people decide the second helping of the treat is just a little too much trouble.
Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.