Life can get crazy sometimes…so much to the point where you barely have enough time to breathe let alone create a whole marinade and meal from scratch. When those days occur I rely on three go-to store-bought items that are guraranteed to give whatever I am cooking a burst of flavor without all of the hassle of making a marinade from scratch.
Now I am usually not a big fan of pre-packages and canned items, as they usually contain unhealthy and unnecessary preservatives that I don’t want in my food. I also feel that going homemade allows you to control and tailor the ingredients to your own personal taste. That being said, there are times when you just need something quick to add to a meal OR even times when the pre-made version of something, for one reason or another, just can’t be duplicated at home – brownies are one of those items for me. They never turn out as good as the boxed version! The key to the pre-canned game is to read the labels. Look for simple ingredients that you know – and can pronounce! Also take a look at the number of ingredients listed, remember less is more! Simple salsas, hot sauces and dry rubs tend to work well for me – I always stay away from complex marinades and things with many ingredients in them. I also find that my homemade marinades almost always taste better than those pre-prepped store versions.
Ok, without further delay, here are my favorite healthy and delicious store-bought pantry items – aka food jazzer-uppers!!!
Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce
This is hands down the sauce that I use the most! I absolutely adore this Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce on everything, from scrambled eggs to burger meat to green beans; however, my all-time favorite thing to pour it on is grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts. I love to add it to chopped grilled chicken breasts, feta cheese, and mixed greens on a low-carb wrap to create a healthier version of buffalo chicken. I also love to drizzle it over sautéed chicken breasts and quinoa to add that extra oomph to the meal. Whichever way you use it, you can’t go wrong with this amazing sauce!
Famous Dave’s Rib Rub
This Famous Dave’s Rib Rub has such a unique and wonderful flavor to it – sweet yet spicy with a touch of salt. As the label suggests it would probably taste good on everything; however, the best way – in my opinion – to use it is to sprinkle a small amount over salmon right before sautéing it. Oh it is so incredibly good! Couple the dry rubbed salmon with a baked sweet potato to enhance that sweetness and asparagus, roasted or grilled with salt, pepper and granulated garlic, to add a savory contrast. Another idea is to crumble this salmon over an arugula salad with strawberries, cucumbers, feta cheese and a rich balsamic vinaigrette. Delish!
Kikkoman Less Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
I love this Kikkoman (Low Sodium) Teriyaki sauce. I know you’re probably thinking, “But you already have a homemade Teriyaki Sauce recipe” and I do, but this Kikkoman sauce is a completely different animal from my Teriyaki recipe. The store-bought teriyaki is a lot thinner and flatter in flavor, with a salty taste to it – not formidable alone as a sauce or marinade but great when used as a base to a super quick marinade. Now this item is a little different from the other two items in that I like to doctor the sauce up a touch before using it- nothing crazy though, Kikkoman has done most of the work for you here! When I make this marinade I like to add Tobasco Sauce, kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, and red pepper flakes to the Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce. This off-the-cuff marinade is amazing with chicken (big surprise) and meat. I oftentimes use this marinade before grilling flatiron and sirloin steaks. Like with any homemade marinade that I use, remember to season the meat (after marinating) with some kosher salt, pepper and a touch of olive oil right before cooking to ensure it is properly seasoned and to create a beautiful crust.
There you have it, my three favorite store-bought sauces and dry rubs! Hopefully you will enjoy them as much as I do. Don’t forget to experiment with these puppies – use them with other foods to create your own dishes and let me what you come up with!! Enjoy!