Sometimes I feel a little guilty when I opt for a convenience food item instead of making something from scratch. Guilt aside, I firmly believe that everything in moderation is fine, including the occasional convenience item. There are so many different seasons and reasons when cooking from scratch all the time just is not doable, even for those of us that love to be in the kitchen. My friend Toni wrote a fantastic post entitled Is Cooking From Scratch Worth It? I echo many of her sentiments.
For our family, I’d say that we probably eat 85% from scratch and 15% convenience. Although those numbers definitely fluctuate up or down depending on what else is going on in our lives. When we do opt for a convenience item, I always try to balance it with homemade. It’s not always possible though. We eat plenty of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on store bought bread with store bought peanut butter and store bought jelly. That’s just the way life works around here.
As I was putting together this dinner of Open Faced BBQ Chicken Sandwiches on store bought garlic Texas toast, I couldn’t help but think how the whole meal could come together in less than 5 minutes if I was using only convenience items. I’m sure it would still taste good if it was made that way. However, I opt for homemade barbecue sauce whenever possible. In fact, I think we’re all a little spoiled by it. Plus, it only takes a minute to stir together. The actual hands-on work required to make this meal is probably the same as if I had purchased a tub of already cooked shredded, barbecue chicken.
Open Faced BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
- 1 1/2 c. ketchup
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 2 T. honey
- 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 t. chili powder
- 1 t. cumin
- 1 t. garlic powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- 1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/8 t. allspice
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 box frozen garlic Texas toast
- 2 T. butter
- 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 – 1 c. shredded cheese
1. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, honey and seasonings until well blended. Place the chicken in a baking dish and pour the barbecue sauce on top. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked. Shred chicken and stir chicken and sauce in the baking dish together.
2. Bake Texas toast according to the directions on the package.
3. Melt butter in a small skillet. Add mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. To assemble the sandwiches. scoop some of the barbecue chicken onto each piece of Texas toast. Top with fried mushrooms (these are completely optional) and some of the shredded cheese. Return to the oven for a few minutes, just until cheese melts.
So see, it really is a simple little thing I made from scratch there, but the taste makes all the difference to us. Cost wise, there probably isn’t that much difference. And there are two convenience options you could take with this meal – that tub of barbecue shredded chicken I mentioned earlier or just a bottle of barbecue sauce. I say, do what works for you and what your family enjoys the most.
What say you on the whole scratch vs. convenience controversy?