5 Ingredient Friday: BBQ Sauce

This week’s 5 Ingredient Friday is so easy, it’s crazy! I had BBQ Chicken on the menu and I would normally use a bottled BBQ Sauce because, well, it’s easy. I’ve made BBQ Sauce before, and it’s taken some time and quite a few ingredients. But then I remembered that I saw a BBQ Sauce recipe of Claire Robinson’s that had only 5 Ingredients! So I decided I was going to make that.


  • 1 (7-ounce) jar or can organic tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons spicy Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ seasoning mix  (I used 1 tablespoon of BBQ 3000 and 1 tablespoon of Barbecue of the Americas from Penzeys)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt*
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper*
  • 4 cups water*

* FREEBIE ingredient


Whisk all the ingredients together in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half or to desired thickness, about 1 hour.

Cool completely before transferring to an airtight container and storing in the refrigerator.

Cook’s Note: Use the BBQ sauce within 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months.

My thoughts…

I read the reviews before making it and saw that a few people had issues with theirs thickening in the cooking time noted in the recipe. A few people also mentioned that it was a bit watery and that the full 4 cups of water weren’t really necessary.  So when I started making the BBQ Sauce I only added in 2 cups of water. It thickened up very nicely and I tasted it and it was strong! It had some kick to it. So I added in 1 more cup of water and let it thicken up again. I was very satisfied with how it turned out.

As I said above, I used 1 tablespoon of BBQ 3000 and 1 tablespoon of Barbecue of the Americas from Penzeys. And let me tell you – that gave it some flavor!

The BBQ 3000 is hand-mixed from the following:  salt, paprika, black pepper, nutmeg, mustard, allspice, citric acid, garlic powder, ginger, sage, thyme, white pepper, cinnamon, and natural smoke flavor.  I wanted some natural smoke flavor in the BBQ Sauce so I added in 1 tablespoon of this stuff.

The Barbecue of the Americas is hand-mixed from the following: coarse kosher fake salt, paprika, jamaican allspice, cayenne red pepper, nutmeg, black pepper, thyme, ginger, white pepper, korintje cinnamon. I wanted to add a little heat into the BBQ Sauce so I added in 1 tablespoon of this stuff.

I really think the combination of spices really worked well in this sauce.  I think that is what gave it that extra bang when it hits your tongue.  It wouldn’t have been so strong if I added in that last cup of water, but I really liked the flavor it had so I didn’t add that in. Since both the BBQ 3000 and the Barbecue of the Americas have salt in them, I only added 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt into the BBQ Sauce. I figured I could always add more if I needed to, but I couldn’t take it away.

This is a great recipe and I think I’m going to try some different BBQ Sauces using this one as a base. I think adding a little bit of maple syrup would add a wonderful flavor.  The bottom line is this – don’t buy any more of that bottled BBQ Sauce – try this and build from it so you know exactly what you are consuming!

Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson
Show: 5 Ingredient Fix
Episode: No-Grill BBQ

5 Ingredient Friday: The 3 B’s Beans (Bacon, Brown Sugar and Bourbon)

This week’s 5 Ingredient Friday recipe is something totally new for me. It’s my first time ever attempting to make beans that weren’t in a can! I came across Claire Robinson’s recipe for The 3 B’s – Beans (Bacon, Brown Sugar and Bourbon). I love baked beans and honestly all I’ve ever had were Campbell’s Beans. I usually open the can, doctor them up, heat and serve! But I wanted to try something new and I saw this recipe so I figured it would be perfect to try.


  • 1 pound dried navy beans, soaked overnight in a large bowl of water
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground or spicy Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2/3 cup bourbon
  • 4 ounces slab bacon, rind removed and diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Put dry beans in a bowl

Soak the beans overnight

Cook bacon in dutch oven; drain and set aside

Drain beans and add to the Dutch Oven

Whisk together brown sugar, mustard, water and bourbon

Add the liquid mixture to the beans


Drain the beans and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, mustard, water, and bourbon until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Cook the bacon until crisp in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove the bacon and all but a couple of tablespoons of the bacon grease. Add the drained beans to the pot and stir in the bourbon sauce mixture. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook the beans, stirring every 20 minutes, until the beans are soft and the sauce is very thick, about 4 hours. Once the beans are cooked, season them with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the cooked bacon and cook, covered, an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and serve warm.


If the beans get too dry, add water, 1/4 cup at a time. If the beans are too wet and runny, remove the lid and cook, stirring often, until desired consistency is reached.

My thoughts…

Eh. I was kind of disappointed with how these turned out. Not that I was expecting that much. They weren’t horrible, but they weren’t great. I was hoping these would be out of this world so that I had something new and exciting to take to picnics this summer…but this will not be that recipe.

As others said in the review, the beans were not done in the 4 – 4 1/2 hours that the recipe says. They weren’t even close to being done. I soaked those bad boys for 24 hours as well. After 4 hours, I knew that we were going to be going somewhere, so I transferred everything to a small crockpot and let them continue to cook in there for another 3 hours.  I tasted them and they just kind of bland. I added a little bit of ketchup and a little more brown sugar hoping to help them out a bit.  I added in the bacon and stirred and let those flavors mingle for a bit. I think the recipe was a bit heavy on the mustard. If I were to make this again, I’d knock that down a bit and add in some ketchup. I know, it won’t be 5 ingredients anymore, but I think it would definitely help the dish.

Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson, 2010
Show: 5 Ingredient Fix
Episode: Big State BBQ 

5 Ingredient Friday: Wild Rice with Cherries

This week’s 5 Ingredient Friday is on par with last week’s in the sense that it involves cherries! The recipe is Claire Robinson’s Wild Rice with Cherries.  When I saw this recipe I knew that I had to give it a try. I had everything on hand already so that was even better.


  • 3 1/2 cups good chicken stock
  • 1 cup wild rice, thoroughly rinsed
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup roughly chopped dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup toasted and roughly chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


In a large saucepan, add the stock, wild rice and salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and is beginning to split, about 30 to 40 minutes. Drain of any excess liquid and fold in the cherries, nuts and parsley. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Transfer the rice to a serving bowl and serve.

My thoughts…

As you can see this is a pretty simple recipe. There really isn’t too much to it. When making the wild rice, I followed Claire’s instructions instead of the instructions on the bag of wild rice. The next time I would follow the instructions on the bag of wild rice. I found that her recipe called for too much broth. I ended up taking some out at the end because the rice was done and there was broth left.  So my suggestion is cook the rice according the package’s instructions and then follow hers.

I didn’t end up using the entire cup of cherries. I added half of the cherries and thought that was plenty. It was the same situation with the parsley. In my opinion, a little bit of fresh parsley goes a long way! I ended up using a few pinches of it and that was it. I added in the pecans to just my serving. Mr. Curly Fry doesn’t eat nuts, so I couldn’t add the nuts to the bowl of wild rice. It worked out fine though! I had leftovers the next day and it reheated very well.

All in all, I think this was pretty good! I would definitely make it again.

Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson, 2010
Show: 5 Ingredient Fix
Episode: Berry Happy

5 Ingredient Friday: Hanger Steak with Shallot Cherry Sauce

This week’s featured recipe for 5 Ingrident Friday is Claire Robinson’s Hanger Steak with Shallot Cherry Sauce. Let me start off by saying that you can use any cut of beef that you want. Heck, this would be good on any kind of meat – chicken, pork, beef, etc. So this is a very versatile sauce. I used Flat Iron Steak because they had some really beautiful Grass Fed Flat Iron Steak at Whole Foods when I was there the other day. I served this with homemade Macaroni & Cheese and Sunny Anderson’s Easy String Beans and Onions.



  • 4 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 pounds trimmed hanger steaks, or approximately 4 (8-ounce) pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup cherry preserves


Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil over steaks and season all sides with salt and pepper, to taste. Put on a hot grill pan or outdoor grill. Allow the meat to cook for about 3 minutes on the first side without moving. Turn, and cook until preferred doneness is reached, another 5 minutes (just a bit more for larger cuts). Remove the steaks from the grill to a cutting board and allow to rest 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a medium saucepan over high heat, add the shallots and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook until golden. Deglaze the pan with pomegranate juice, scraping up the brown bits, then stir in the cherry preserves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thick. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Thinly slice the steak against the grain and arrange on serving plates. Serve with the cherry sauce.

My thoughts…

I love love loved this sauce! I will say that it was  a wee bit on the sweet side, so I think the next time I would buy some Cherry Preserves with No Sugar Added. But to kick the sweetness a bit I added a few tablespoons of beef stock – that evened it out a bit.

As usual, I made my own garlic olive oil and that worked out very well.

As I mentioned before I used Flat Iron Steak – 2 lbs to be exact. It was enough for the two of us to have for dinner and there is extra leftover for lunch today.

I have some extra cherry sauce leftover that I will more than likely use on some pork chops this weekend – I think it’ll be delicious! Give this sauce a try – you’ll be glad you did!

Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson, 2010
Show: 5 Ingredient Fix
Episode: Steak Frites Spin 

5 Ingredient Friday: White Pizza

When we order pizza from our favorite pizza joint, I usually order a personal sized white pizza. I absolutely LOVE garlic and my love for White Pizza is no secret. This week I felt like making pizza instead of ordering it. Claire Robinson has a 5 Ingredient recipe for Easy White Pizza so this was the perfect time to test it out! My other half doesn’t like white pizza, so he usually gets a large “normal” pizza and he has no problem eating the entire thing himself.   I had every intention of making my own dough. But I was browsing around Williams-Sonoma and I came across Ecco La Pasta Parmesan Pizza Crust Mix that looked interesting. So I bought it.

It was very simple to make. All I had to do was add in 2/3 cup luke warm water and a tablespoon of Olive Oil. I decided to add in some seasonings as well – garlic, oregano, parsley, etc. I love a very flavorful dough and I always jazz my dough up.  The box came with 2 packets – each packet makes either three 8 inch pizzas or one 14 inch pizza. Since I was making two larger pizzas I used both packets. I let it rise, and then I punched it down and divided the dough into two chunks and rolled it out.


  • Garlic-flavored olive oil (I didn’t have any, so I made my own! See below)
  • 1 (1-pound) ball frozen pizza dough, thawed and at room temperature (I used Ecco La Pasta Parmesan Pizza Crust Mix) —–>
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta (the GOOD stuff!)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus more for garnish


Special equipment: 14-inch round pizza pan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven.

Brush the pizza pan with oil. On a work surface, using your hands, press the pizza dough into a large flat disk and transfer it to the greased pan. Using your fingers, press the dough out until it has stretched to the perimeter of the pan. Create a dough “lip” around the outer edges of the pan. Brush the entire surface of the dough lightly with garlic oil and pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, to prevent bubbling.

Evenly spread the mozzarella over the crust. Using 2 spoons, dollop teaspoon-sized mounds of ricotta evenly over the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and evenly sprinkle the chopped oregano over the top.

Bake in the lower third of the oven until the crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly and browning on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before garnishing with additional oregano and slicing into 8 pieces.

Cook’s Note: Try buying fresh pizza dough from your local pizzeria; just be sure to let it sit out at room temperature for a few minutes, as warmer dough is easier to work with.

My thoughts…

Let me start off by saying this was amazing! As I said in the ingredients list, I didn’t have garlic flavored olive oil so I made my own. It was so simple. I heated some olive oil in a pan and put in 4 cloves of sliced garlic. I let that cook about 3 minutes or so (I made sure it didn’t burn). Then I removed it from the heat and let it sit for an hour so that the flavors settled together. It turned out so good! I would bet that it has a better flavor than the stuff you buy in the store! I would definitely not skip the garlic olive oil – this is what gives it that very garlic-y flavor. Next time I think I will add in some of the garlic that was cooked in the olive oil. It tasted like it was roasted and had a good flavor to it.

I used fresh ricotta and this makes a HUGE difference. I don’t know about you, but I don’t care for the ricotta cheese that they have in the refrigerated section of the grocery store from Frigo, Sargento, etc. Get the good stuff! It’s worth it. And you’ll thank me later!

I used dried oregano because I didn’t have any fresh oregano on hand. Next time I will be sure to have the fresh stuff. I’m sure it takes it to the next level.  But all in all this recipe was a keeper and I would definitely make this again.

As for the crust – I thought it was very good. It had a hint of parmesan flavor and it brown very nicely on the bottom. It’s a bit on the pricey side – $12 per box – so I wouldn’t buy it over and over, but it was good enough that I would buy it again.

Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson, 2009
Show: 5 Ingredient Fix
Episode: Gourmet Pizza Night