I’ve always enjoyed watching Ellie Krieger on TV and trying to duplicate her recipes. I really like that she says no food is off limits. She categorizes food into three groups: Usually, Sometimes and Rarely.
“USUALLY foods are those I use most plentifully and are the backbone of healthy eating: vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and healthy oils. I sprinkle in SOMETIMES foods here and there for flavor and variety. They are a little more processed, like white flour, or higher in saturated fat, like chicken thighs. RARELY foods --- like bacon, cream, full-fat cheese, and butter are the foods that many nutritionists forbid and many cooks use with a heavy hand. I have found the ideal midpoint by using these foods strategically, in small amounts for maximum impact. (So Easy, 11)
DUH! Sound advice if only I would always follow it.
In her So Easy cookbook, Krieger recommends keeping your pantry and refrigerator stocked with the right kinds of foods and to keep in mind that balance really is the key. I also like the idea that she relies on minimally processed ingredients and avoids artificial additives. Plus, it needs to be easy to prepare.
I LOVE THAT!
Krieger recommends always keeping the following staples on hand:
Seven So Easy Staples
Almonds are a top source of vitamin E, as well as important nutrients like protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and heart healthy mono-unsaturated fat. Almonds add a delightful crunch and lots of satisfaction to a dish. They are very versatile, good with sweet and savory foods alike. Try sprinkling chopped almonds over your next salad or keeping a snack bag of almonds and dried cherries on hand to satisfy your next snack attack.
✓ Frozen Shrimp
Frozen shrimp is a savvy shopper's secret because most of the “fresh” shrimp you buy is actually thawed from frozen anyway. At home, frozen shrimp thaws in just 5 minutes under cold running water and cooks even faster. It is a crowd-pleasing lean protein that’s packed with nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and magnesium.
✓ Frozen Peas
Even if you haven’t made it to the market all week, you can still have healthy veggies on hand. Frozen vegetables are comparable in nutrition to fresh cooked, since they are frozen at their peak of freshness. Always stock up on frozen spinach, edamame, winter squash and corn, but especially frozen peas. Buy them in bags, instead of the boxes, so you can use what you need and store the rest. Also get them without any sauce so that you can control the flavor and nutrition of your dish.
✓ Canned/Dried Beans
Beans are the best nutritional bargain around. They are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, are fat-free and very inexpensive. Always have white beans, black beans, garbanzos and pintos on hand and add them to salads, puree them to make tasty bean dips, make a hearty and healthy chili, and even throw them into a pasta sauce for an extra dose of protein. Be sure to buy the low-sodium varieties and rinse well before using. Beans turn light dishes into satisfying meals like the 5 Minute Salad: Tricolor Salad with White Beans and Parmesan (So Easy, p 79) being shared today.
✓ Canned Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are a great source of Vitamin C and the antioxidant lycopene, which is important for heart health, may help reduce your risk of certain cancers, and could even help improve your skin. Choose the no-salt-added varieties, as the regular versions may have as much as 5 times the sodium. Diced tomatoes are perfect for using in soups and as a base for sauces to serve with chicken, fish or pasta.
✓ Whole Grain Pasta
You can now find tasty whole grain versions of most pasta varieties that are tender and mild and loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals that white pasta is lacking. Find a whole wheat pasta, or whole wheat blend, that you enjoy and it will be easy and speedy to get more whole grains in your diet.
✓ Frozen Fruit
Frozen fruit is another of her favorite staples because, just as with frozen vegetables, it’s a convenient and economical option without compromising nutrition. Buy unsweetened varieties and pop them into the blender for healthy on-the-go smoothies or for desserts.Tricolor Salad with With Beans and Parmesan
Makes 4 servings
5 cups lightly packed arugula (about 5 ounces)
1 head radicchio, core removed, sliced
2 Belgian endives, bottom 1/2 inch removed, sliced
1 15-ounce can cannellini (or other white bean) beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Italian bread sticks
In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, radicchio, endive, beans and Parmesan. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and salt.
To serve, place 3 cups of the salad in a large bowl or lunch container. If preparing a salad to go, put 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dressing into a small container. Toss with the dressing right before eating. Serve with breadsticks on the side, if desired.
Serving size: 3 cups salad, 1 1/2 T dressing, 2 breadsticks (350 calories)
I really like having this salad on hand for either a light dinner or lunch. I don’t usually used quite as much Parmesan on mind because I think “a little goes a long way” for me. Hubby, however, wants the whole amount:)
I hope you will give this salad a try and join me in following Krieger’s recommendations.
Thanks for joining me for What’s On the Menu Wednesday.
I look forward to what you have to say:)