Barriers To Healthy Eating

Changing your eating habits can be hard. The intangible aspects such as emotional eating, food disorders, education, attitudes and upbringing can, even though difficult, be worked on from where you currently are as a person. Small changes can add up to big benefits.

But what about physical barriers? It’s a fact that some people, no matter how motivated, can’t imagine how they could possibly put their newly discovered knowledge into action.

While the reasons for this are many and varied, let’s take a look at some of the more common hurdles that create barriers to healthy eating.

Family Size

We all want to feed healthy food to our children but let’s face it: if you’ve got more than one child, that doesn’t always feel possible. Like little baby birds, they gather around with their little beaks open chirping “Food! Food! Food!” And you end up tossing in the first thing that comes to hand just to fill their bellies.

I know, I’ve been there.

And it doesn’t get any better when they get older. You don’t have to physically feed them, true, but they can plow through a kitchen like Tasmanian devils, leaving nothing in their wake but empty shelves and dirty dishes. Those $1 frozen pizzas and burritos may seem like the only way to keep your sanity and your pocketbook intact.

Do not despair…I have solutions.

Save Those Leftovers! Put them in a prominent spot in the fridge and attach a post-it that says, “Eat Me!” If it was good for dinner, it’s good for a snack.

The Incredible Edible Egg. With an average cost of less than 15¢per egg and an amazing nutrition profile, it can’t get better than this. These can be whipped up in a pan or microwave in no time flat by the most rudimentary cook. Hard boiled eggs last for a week in your fridge and take less than 20 minutes to prepare so cook up a dozen (or two) to keep on hand for egg salad, pickled eggs or just straight-up noshing.

Not So Forbidden Fruit. Fruit is high in fiber and provides bulk that helps to keep your little darlings full faster and longer than some other foods. Bananas are always a good (and inexpensive) choice but keep an eye out for deals on other fruits as well. Melons (including watermelon) tend to cost less per pound than other fruits but require prep that may not be appealing or safe for the younger set to take on. I always remove the rind and cube melons in advance. You’ll find them to be much more popular when they can be scooped directly from the bowl!

Uncan Me, You Cad! Canned tuna is high in protein, low in fat (when packed in water) and often available for less than 80¢per can. Mix it up with a bit of mayo or mustard for a delightful snack on crackers or bread.

Spread It Around. Peanut butter is good for the soul. It’s also inexpensive and has a great balance of healthy fats, carbs and protein to leave a person feeling satisfied and full. It goes with bread, crackers, apples, celery or straight off the spoon. It can even be mixed up with some soy sauce, honey and red pepper sauce to serve over noodles.

Sow Some Oats. ½ cup rolled (old-fashioned) oats mixed with one cup milk or water will cook on the stove top in about 5 minutes or in the microwave in half that time. This quick, easy and nutritious snack can be mixed with cinnamon, sugar, milk, jelly, bananas, peanut butter or about a million other things that are just hanging around the kitchen! Let your kids use their imagination to come up with creative combos!

Food Desert

A food desert is defined by the USDA as having “limited access to supermarkets, super centers, grocery stores, or other sources of healthy and affordable food”. In one report, nearly 6% of the US population claimed they did not have adequate access to healthy food because it was difficult to get to the store.

There are a number of reasons for this including age, physical/mental/emotional difficulties or income but the most common cause is not having a vehicle to get there. Even in areas where public transportation is available, the act of juggling numerous grocery bags while riding a crowded bus or subway (including transfers) is a daunting prospect.

Many of these people are reduced to obtaining food at local fast food restaurants, corner or convenience stores that lack fresh, healthy choices.

All is not lost.

Many convenience stores (especially the large chain gas/grocery combos) have responded to the call to eat healthier. Many offer fresh fruit and healthy snack options such as hummus cups or hard-boiled eggs.

Take a good look at the grocery items that are available. It’s likely that you’ll be able to find healthy choices such as milk, eggs, natural cheese, unflavored oatmeal, peanut butter or canned tuna. Don’t forget to check the freezer section for frozen meats (such as uncooked burger patties) and vegetables.

Check for nearby farmers markets, which often carry locally grown fruits, vegetables and meats. While some of these items (especially the meats) can be more expensive than the supermarket, they can be stretched by serving them in soups, stews or stir frys.

Reach out to friends and relatives who have transportation and ask if you can “tag along” the next time they go shopping. If they’re going anyway, there’s probably no reason that you couldn’t go with them.

When you get a ride, concentrate on finding items that will last until the next you’re likely to get a ride. Consider canned items such as tomatoes, legumes or tuna. Shelf stable products like pasta, dried beans, bouillon and rice are always good choices.

Get some meats to package for the freezer (make sure you have the containers or bags needed to protect their freshness!) and cruise the freezer section for frozen vegetables and fruits. Breads can also be frozen for up to 3 months or buy the yeast and flour you need to make it yourself.

Income


OK, so maybe you just don’t have the money to buy groceries. Maybe you got laid off or had an unexpected expense that has left you short on funds. Maybe you’re living on a fixed income. Or maybe you took the only crummy job you could find while you look for something that actually pays the bills. It happens. I’ve certainly been there.

Income based programs such as WIC (for families with young children), SNAP (food stamps) and CSFP (for seniors) are all programs that are available to those in need.

Child Nutrition Programs offer free and reduced meals programs for school-aged children and typically provide breakfast and lunch, often even during periods when school is not in session. Ask at your child’s school or visit their website.

Many people make the mistake of assuming they’re not eligible or are embarrassed to apply for these services. Many programs have surprisingly lenient income levels so it doesn’t hurt to check. Applications can usually be done online from the comfort of your own home and benefits are often loaded on debit cards so you’ll look like every other person in line using a debit card!

Food pantries are also a great option, whether you use their services on a sporadic basis or regularly. Some have income and/or residency guidelines while others are open to all. It’s likely that, with a few phone calls, you’ll find one that will work with you!

For more information on these programs and other ideas about how to stretch your food dollar, please click here.

Lack of Time / Competing Priorities

This is a big one but it’s often not given the attention it deserves. What happens when we tell people we don’t have time for something? We often hear things like.”You need to learn to manage your time better” or “If you really wanted to, you would find the time”. Not helpful.

There are countless reasons why some people literally don’t have the time to cook. Some work long days or multiple jobs. Others have a long commute. Parents have to oversee homework, grooming, transportation, school meetings and other basic needs of their children, often in addition to a full time job and their own household chores. Many of us have had to, at some point, care for a family member who is sick or has other special needs.

Time management and desire often have no place in our inability to find time to plan, shop, prepare and cook healthy meals. What’s the answer, then?

Meal Kits. They’re all the rage now and for good reason. I’ve tried different ones, both as a guest at someone’s house and one that I ordered for myself (see my review here).

These kits are easy to order and easy to prepare. The cost, including shipping, generally starts around $12-$15 per person, which is a similar cost to picking up takeout on the way home.

Slow Cookers and Instant Pots. The main difference between these are that one is prepped in the morning and cooks all day while the other is prepped when you get home and cooks your meal super fast. They’re both an effective time saver because you can make a one pot meal with very little effort. The only decision you have to make is whether you prefer to dump everything into the pot in the morning or when you get home.

Groceries To Go. I’ve used this option on many occasions and it’s a real time (and frustration) saver. Put the app on your phone, pick a time and make a grocery list. Items can be added or removed from the list right up to a few hours before pickup, as well as adjustments to your pickup time. Simply pull up to the door on your way home from work and your very own personal shopper will load those groceries right into your car. This is usually available without any added fees, as you often see with delivery or shipped goods.

Leftovers. You’re probably tired of hearing me harp about leftovers but here I go again. I love ‘em. They’re great for no effort meals later in the week!. Eat them as they are or turn them into quick and easy soups, sandwiches, salads or stir frys! Click here for more of my thoughts on leftovers.

Pre-Prepped and Ready To Go. Check in the fresh produce and freezer sections for fruits and veggies that are already trimmed, sliced, diced, chopped or julienned. The same goes for meat and seafood.

Have The Whole Family Help. Sound impossible? I spent a considerable amount of my childrens preteen and teen years driving them to sports, music, clubs, field trips…you name it! And this is what I said, ”I don’t have enough time to come home from work and make supper (lunch, breakfast, snack, whatever) before your (whatever it is they’re doing). If you want a ride and if you want to eat, please pack food to take with us.” Or I would ask them to prepare a simple meal if we had time to eat at home. And it worked. Sandwiches and fruit/veggies are easy to put together and kids enjoy it when they can choose the menu!

What About You?

These are just a few suggestions but I’m sure there are many more situations and answers out there.

What about you? What barriers to healthy eating have you faced? How did you overcome them?

Let me know in the comments below!

All my best,

Cynthia

cynthia@cynthiaeats.com



Barbecue Mayo

Barbecue Mayo

2 tbsp barbecue sauce

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp spicy brown mustard

1 tsp red-hot or sriracha sauce

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Allow flavors to blend for 30 minutes before use.

Refrigerate leftovers in a tightly sealed container.

2 servings, 75 calories per serving



Crispy Smashed Baby Potatoes

Crispy Smashed Baby Potatoes

1 lb baby potatoes

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dried parsley

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp black pepper

Add salt to 6 cups of water in a large pan and bring to boil. Add potatoes and boil until tender but not falling apart (15-25 minutes, depending on size).

While potatoes are boiling, mix parsley, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper with olive oil.

When potatoes are done, remove from water and allow to cool slightly. Alternately, potatoes can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days before moving onto the next step.

Preheat the oven to 425℉.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread potatoes out over the surface. Using a potato masher or spatula, smash potatoes flat (½”), allowing skins to break. The thinner you smash the potatoes, the crispier they will be.

Drizzle olive oil mixture over potatoes and toss lightly to cover.  Bake until the edges are golden (25-30 minutes).

4 servings, 150 calories per serving

Hack: Leftover potatoes can be refrigerated for up to 5 days (minus any days you kept them in the fridge before oven roasting). Reheat in 425℉ oven until warmed through.



Japanese Omurice (Rice Omelette)


Japanese Omurice (Rice Omelette)

1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

½ cup onion, chopped

½ cup rice

¼ cup catsup

1 tsp soy sauce

½ cup shredded cooked chicken (2.5 ounces)

2 eggs

1 tbsp milk

Heat 1 tbsp oil in saute over medium heat. Add rice and onions and saute until onion is translucent (4-5 minutes). Add ketchup and soy sauce. Cook until catsup begins to caramelize. Add chicken and cook just until warmed through. Remove from pan and set aside.

Coat pan with cooking spray.

Beat eggs with milk in a small bowl until well combined. Pour into the saute pan and allow it to spread over the bottom of the pan. Cover and allow eggs to cook undisturbed until set (4-5 minutes).

Remove cover and arrange rice chicken mixture on one side of omelet. Fold over and slide onto the plate.

Serve immediately.

2 servings, 360 calories per serving

Hack: Store leftover omelet in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or skillet for 1-2 minutes, just until hot.

Hack: As with all fried rice, cold leftover rice gives the best results.

Hack: If using raw chicken, cut into 1” cubes and allow 3-5 minutes to cook (until all pink is gone).



Barbecue Spaghetti Squash Pizza

 

Barbecue Spaghetti Squash Pizza

 

1 Basic Pizza Crust, baked

1 small spaghetti squash (2 pounds)

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

1 cup barbecue sauce

¾ cup smoked gouda, shredded

¾ cup extra sharp cheddar, shredded

½ red onion, thinly sliced

 

Preheat the oven to 400℉.

Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and ribbing.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place upside down on a baking sheet and poke the skin with a fork in several places.

Roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Turn the squash over and use a fork to scrap and fluff the squash into strands.

Increase oven temperature to 450℉.

Spread barbecue sauce over the crust, using more or less according to taste.  Sprinkle cheese over sauce and arrange spaghetti squash on top of cheese.  Sprinkle more cheese and top with red onions.

Bake until the crust is golden and cheese is bubbly (10-12 minutes)  Allow to cool slightly and cut into serving sized pieces.

8 serving, 400 calories per serving

 

Hack:  You can use your favorite cheese in this recipe or whatever cheese you have on hand.

Hack:  Store leftover pizza in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 4 weeks.  To freeze, place pizza in a tightly sealed freezer bag or container, separating each slice with parchment paper.

 

Home Chef Review: The Good, The Bad and The Balance

It seems like everytime time I turn around, I see an ad for a meal delivery service and I’ve been curious as to whether they were any good.  As you know, I’m not a fan of premade anything so I had decided to forgo trying them.  Until…

I received an email from Home Chef stating that my stepmother had referred me to the program and, if I signed up, my first box would be free.  Now “free” is definitely one of my favorite things so I decided to give it a go.

Here is my review of the Home Chef Meal Box that I received for free:  the good, the bad and the balance.

Order Up! Online Sign-up Form

I cruised over to the website to sign up.  There was an initial glitch (more about that later) but it was quickly solved by customer service and I was able to sign up with minimal fuss.

There are 7 different categories to choose from: Culinary Collection, Meal Kit, 15 Minute Meal Kit, Grill-Ready, Oven-Ready, Entrée Salad and Protein Pack.  You can also designate desired cook time.  Menu choices can be further narrowed by opting for carb conscience, calorie conscience and vegetarian, as well as what sorts of proteins you prefer or food sensitivities you have.  Some kits can be modified in regard to which type of protein will be included.

The choices change weekly, although some of the more popular dishes will reappear from time to time.  The week I looked at had 19 extremely varied options.  The description is very good, noting the items that make up the meal.  Possible allergens and nutrition profile are also included.

The price is noted when you first look at selections (before clicking on the description) so it’s easy to stay within your budget. Both of my choices ran just under $9 per serving, which seems to be the minimum price, while some selections run close to $13.  My box of 2 meals twice weekly (4 meals total) would have cost $49.53 at full price, including shipping.

It’s All About The Food

Now for the important section because it’s all about the food, right?  The two meals I chose were shrimp paella and apple cherry spinach salad.  Each entree provided two servings.

The shrimp paella was an “oven ready” selection, which boasts no prep work.  I had assumed that this meant it would come pre-assembled in the pan a’la frozen dinners (but not frozen).  This was not the case. All the ingredients were packaged separately so I would have to assemble them myself.

This was not a difficult task and the meal came together quickly.  I simply dumped all the ingredients (except shrimp) into the included tin pan, mixed ‘em up, laid the shrimp on top and baked it for 18 minutes.

The shrimp paella was tasty with the fresh peas, fresh peppers, crispy red peppers, pine nuts and shrimp giving the dish an interesting mix of textures.  The flavor was mild but varied and the shrimp was very fresh.  The packaging indicated that I would have 3 days to cook it although I cooked it the day after receiving it so I have no idea how the freshness might have held up had I waited.

At 468 calories, 44 grams of carbs, 23 grams of protein and 21 grams of fat, it’s well within the guidelines of what would be considered a healthy meal.  It contains 1717mg of sodium, which runs around 75% of your daily intake but higher sodium is a given for prepacked ready-to-eats.  This amount is definitely something you could work around by modifying your intake for the rest of the day.

My second choice was apple cherry spinach salad with goat cheese and sherry shallot vinaigrette.  This was a no cook selection, although I chose to add on the chicken breast option, which did have to be cooked.

The produce that came with the meal was fresh and unblemished.  The chicken breasts were well trimmed with no visible fat.  In addition to cooking the chicken, there was a small amount of prep work to be done, namely cutting the apple and the scallion.  It came together in less than 10 minutes.

There was a generous amount of walnuts, dried cherries and vinaigrette, which gave the salad a fabulous flavor.  The only shortfall, in my opinion, was the amount of spinach that was included.  I used both portions of spinach for my first salad and some romaine I had on hand for the second one.  Again, I enjoyed the mix of textures from the apples, walnuts and dried cherries.

The nutrition profile broke down to 460 calories, 33 grams of carbs, 6 grams of protein and 200mg of sodium, all of which play well into a healthy diet.  The 34 grams of fat seemed a bit high but it would be easy to cut back on the vinaigrette, as it was a very generous 3 oz portion.  There was no notation as to how much the chicken breast changed that profile.

The things I love

The freshness of the ingredients is pretty amazing.  I only have this one box to go on but everything I received was high quality and exactly what I would have chosen if I had picked it out myself.

It’s easy.  The ingredients come premeasured and, in some cases, preprepped.  All the ingredients you need are in the box so there are no surprises or last minute trips to the store.  In the case of the oven ready selections (such as my shrimp paella), they even include the cooking pan.

The food is high quality and delicious.   The portions are generous and could possibly be stretched into 3 adult portions, depending on appetites.

They indicate possible allergens that might be present on the ingredient list for each recipe so there’s no need to go searching for that information.

The price per serving is indicated right up from so it’s easy to stick to a budget.  My box would have cost $12.38 (including shipping) per serving which would be equivalent to eating at a moderately priced restaurant.  If I were to stretch the box out to 6 servings, each meal would cost only $8.25.  I think this is a great value. And guess what makes it even better?  I’ve partnered with Home Chef to give you $60 off your order!

The customer service is excellent.  When I first went in to accept the offer, a box popped up informing me that I already had an account and could not receive the discount.  While this was technically true, I had never ordered after my initial sign-up.  I sent an email to Home Chef to explain this.  They replied promptly to tell me that they had deleted my original account and I would be able to proceed with the offer.

The things I love less

According to their website, Home Chef claims that their ever changing weekly menus leads them to use different vendors to obtain the ingredients they need to fulfill those menus.  Although they say their ingredients are “occasionally organic” and that they source responsibly “whenever they can”, they are unable to guarantee either.

Despite the fact that they include allergens on their “ingredients list”, the actual lists themselves only include the major players in the recipe but no macro ingredients.  “Rice Pilaf” and “tomato seasoning” were listed on the ingredients list of my shrimp paella but there’s no way to ascertain what these two items actually contained in regard to spices or artificial flavorings/preservatives.  And you know how much that rankles me.

And then there’s the “leftovers”.  I’m a bit horrified by the amount of trash that was generated by 4 meals, as you can see in these pictures.

According to the Home Chef website, the cardboard shipping container is recyclable, which, of course is always a good thing.

The insulated liner is made from recycled cotton and denim, which I assume is biodegradable, although this isn’t mentioned specifically in their literature, nor do they address the possible contamination due to the dies used in denim.

The ice packs contain water and polyacrylate (which is harmless) and can be reused or split open to dump contents down the drain.

This leaves lots of plastic, wraps, bags and containers, which can be more problematic.  I don’t want to delve into world events in this article, but I think it’s safe to assume that we’re all aware that plastics are not as easily recycled as they used to be (and to be honest, some never were).

I don’t have any solutions, I’m just saying it makes me uncomfortable to add this entire tall kitchen bag full of trash to the top of the heap at my local transfer station.  This is four meals worth.

The Final Conclusion

What’s the bottom line?  Where do we draw the line between convenience and what are (or may be) negative consequences?  What’s the final conclusion?

The truth is that we make these compromises every day.  Every time we start up our car, everything we mail order, every single item we choose that isn’t locally sourced from small businesses.  Even those locally sourced products, in most circumstances, come at some cost.

In the case of these meals, they may be a blessing to those who don’t have easy access to a store, have limited cooking facilities or cooking abilities.  They may be a lifeline for someone who wants to eat a healthier diet but doesn’t have the time, knowledge or capacity to make that happen on their own.

I, personally, found them to be tasty, convenient and (for the most part) healthy.  I would not rule out ordering again.

What about you?  Have you ever tried a meal service or do you use one now?  Tell me all about it in the comments below!

All my best,

Cynthia

cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

Basic Pizza Crust

Basic Pizza Crust

1 tsp dry active yeast

1 tsp sugar

1¼ cup warm water (110℉)

3½ cups flour

1½ tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Set aside for 7 minutes until yeast blooms.

Put flour and salt in a bowl of stand mixer with dough hook attached*. Add bloomed yeast and mix on low until mixture turns into a smooth, soft dough (about 5 minutes). Don’t over knead.

Cover loosely and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 36 hours. The dough will more than double in this time so make sure your bowl is big enough!

Grease 15”x10” baking sheet and press dough into bottom of pan. Alternately, you can use one large or several smaller round pizza pans. It can also be adjusted according to how thick or thin you prefer your pizza.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 500℉.

Bake the crust for 5 minutes and remove from the oven.

Top with desired toppings and bake for an additional 8 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the toppings are bubbly.

*You can do this step by hand, it will just take a little longer.

8 servings, 220 calories per serving (crust only)

Hack: Pizza crust can be stored for later use after the initial 4 minute bake. Wrap well in plastic wrap or tightly sealed freezer container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 4 weeks.

Hack: Pizza cooked with toppings can be stored as described for pizza crust above.



Cinnamon Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Raisins

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Raisins

½ cup milk

½ tsp vanilla

1 tbsp raisins

¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

2 tbsp brown sugar

⅛ tsp cinnamon

Measure milk, vanilla and raisins into a small saucepan and bring to boil over high heat.

Stir in oats, brown sugar and cinnamon and bring back to boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cover pan and let oatmeal stand for 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

1 serving, 250 calories per serving



Homemade Chinese Dumplings

Homemade Chinese Dumplings
(Courtesy Yuhong Sun)

 

½ head green cabbage

½ head napa cabbage

8 green onions

1 oz ginger (4” knob, ¼ cup)

1 lb ground pork

2 eggs

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp red wine

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

2 pkgs dumpling wrappers (100 wrappers)

Dipping Sauce (per serving)*

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Chinese vinegar

1 tsp crushed ginger

1 tsp chili sauce

1½ tsp sugar

1½ tsp sesame oil

Finely chop the cabbages and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and set aside. The salt will draw liquid out of the cabbage. Only a small amount of salt is needed.

Finely chop green onion and ginger. Set aside.

Place ground pork, eggs and ginger into a bowl and mix for 2 minutes.

Using your hands or cheesecloth, squeeze water out of cabbage and place into a clean bowl. Add green onions, pork mixture, sesame oil, red wine, soy sauce and olive oil. Mix together well.

Take one dumpling wrapper and place one tbsp filling in the center. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water and seal completely. The amount of filling and shape you fold it in is less important than ensuring that the edges are completely sealed so filling doesn’t leak out. Continue until all the filling is gone.**

Put a large pot of water on the stove and heat to boiling. While the water is heating, assemble the dipping sauce.

When water comes to a full boil, add about 20 dumplings. Bring water back to a full boil and add enough cold water to bring the pot down to a gentle boil. Cover pot and cook dumplings until they float to the top of the water, about 3-4 minutes. Continue adding cold water as necessary throughout cooking to keep water at a gentle boil.

Remove dumplings from water with a slotted spoon and serve with dipping sauce.

If preferred, dumplings can be cooked in an air fryer for 6 minutes instead of boiling them.

*Because of the thin consistency of the dipping sauce, it’s often made in small bowls for each individual person or to share between two or three people.

**Dumplings are often serving at gatherings and traditionally assembled jointly by the group or family that are going to eat them. Try experimenting with different shapes and have fun putting them together with your guests!

10 servings, 270 calories per serving

Hack: Cooked or uncooked dumplings can be frozen for up to 3 months. Lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet, making sure the edges are not touching, and place in the freezer. Once they are frozen, package in freezer bags or containers for storage. Add 2 extra minutes to cooking time. As with fresh, frozen boiled dumplings are ready when they float to the top of the water.

Hack: Ask the produce clerk to cut a head of cabbage into wedges so you’ll only have to buy what you need. They’ll wrap the leftover pieces and put it back on the shelf for sale.

Hack: Leftover cabbage can be used to make this andouille and fried cabbage recipe

Hack: Hack: Do you know that you can freeze fresh ginger root? Grating it in it’s frozen state is easier than grating it fresh and, if you choose organic ginger, you don’t have to peel it! Simply place in a sealed freezer bag or container and pop it in the freezer.

Hack: Chop leftover green onions and freeze in a sealable freezer bag or container for future use. While they won’t retain the crispness that would make them suitable for salads or garnish, they will be fine for cooking.

 

 

Roasted Red Cabbage with Shrimp

Roasted Red Cabbage with Shrimp

8 oz red cabbage, roughly chopped (3 cups)

1 cup onion, sliced

½“ ginger root, finely diced

2 tsp olive oil

Salt and black pepper to taste

8 oz 50-70 count raw shrimp, deveined and shelled

2 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp sweet chili sauce

½ tsp sesame oil

1 cup cooked rice, hot

Preheat to 450°F. LIne a 9’ x 13” baking pan with parchment paper.

Place the cabbage, chopped ginger, and onion in the baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste; toss to coat. Arrange in an even layer. Roast 14 to 16 minutes, or until slightly tender.

In the meantime, combine the garlic, honey, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and sesame oil to make a sauce. Dry shrimp with paper towels and place in a bowl.  Toss with 2 tablespoons sauce. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally, at least 10 minutes.  Reserve remaining sauce.

When cabbage is done roasting, remove the pan from the oven, leaving the oven on.  Push cabbage to one side of the pan and lay shrimp on the other side of the pan in a single layer.  Discard any leftover marinade.

Roast 5 to 7 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Remove from the oven. Stir the roasted shrimp and cabbage to combine.

Serve the roasted shrimp and cabbage with the cooked rice. Top with the reserved sauce.

2 servings, 410 calories per serving

Hack:  Shrimp can be purchased individually from the seafood counter at most grocery stores.  Alternately, it can be purchased frozen in larger portions if you wish to keep some on hand.  Thaw needed amounts before cooking.

Hack:  Shrimp can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator.  It can be thawed more quickly by placing it in a sealable bag and submerging in a bath of cold water for about an hour.

Hack:  Ask the produce clerk to cut a head of cabbage into wedges so you’ll only have to buy what you need.  They’ll wrap the leftover pieces and put it back on the shelf for sale.  If you find that you have leftover cabbage, use it to make this tasty coleslaw!

Hack:  Do you know that you can freeze fresh ginger root?  Grating it in it’s frozen state is easier than grating it fresh and, if you choose organic ginger, you don’t have to peel it!  Simply place in a sealed freezer bag or container and pop it in the freezer.

Hack:  Place any leftover rice while still warm (to retain moisture) in serving size containers and freeze for future use.