Saturday, February 23, 2013

Healthy meals at home -- no cooking required

Two organic eggs from Costco Wholesale with leftovers -- wild-caught Icelandic haddock in Mexican Green Salsa and organic brown rice made in an electric cooker.

A frittata with pesto and sun-dried tomato served with leftover fish and green salsa.

I like to eat healthy, but I don't think of preparing meals at home as cooking.

I try to have good ingredients on hand -- such as bottled sauces and organic diced tomatoes -- so I can "assemble" a main dish and salad with a minimum of fuss.

And I try to do it as quickly as possible without recipes, butter, cream, bread, meat or poultry.

Canned fish, organic chicken stock and extra-virgin olive oil from Tuscany are some of the quality ingredients I always have on hand to help me make healthy meals at home.

On Friday, I came home around mid-afternoon and just couldn't get my mind off whole-wheat pasta spirals with sardines in tomato sauce.

This comfort food is one of my favorites, and luckily, I had everything on hand:  

A 1-pound package of Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Fusilli, two cans of Moroccan sardines, a bottle of Silver Palate pasta sauce and a can of Kirkland Signature Organic Diced Tomatoes.

It was ready in 15 minutes.

No need for gallons of water. Use just enough water to cover the pasta. Don't salt the water. There is plenty of salt in the pasta sauce, diced tomatoes and grated cheese.

The finished dish with grated Pecorino Romano cheese from the freezer.

This morning, breakfast was leftover fusilli and pan-fried cod.

How to assemble the dish:

Boil water in one covered pot, and pour the pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, a few ounces of extra-virgin olive oil, herbs and red-pepper flakes in a non-stick pan and heat them up with the cover on.

Meanwhile, open 2 cans of sardines, drain in a plastic collander and rinse under running water to reduce sodium. Add to pan with sauce and chop up the sardines.

Trader Joe's whole-wheat fusilli cooks up al dente in about 9 minutes. Drain, add to other pan, mix to cover all of the pasta with sardine sauce and serve.

I drank a glass of Chianti, and followed with a wooden bowl of pre-washed Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix, dressed simply in oil and vinegar.


Pan-fried cod bought fresh at Costco Wholesale. The side dish is mashed sweet potatoes and Kabocha squash with extra-virgin olive oil, all of which we had, below.

Kirkland Signature Organic No-Salt Seasoning is great for fish and mashed potatoes.

When we make fresh fish fillets with green salsa or organic diced tomatoes, all we do is heat up the sauce in a covered, non-stick pan; season the fish, place the fillets into the pan and cook them covered for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how thick they are.

We usually have fresh limes or lemons, and a bottle of Kirkland Signature Organic No-Salt Seasoning for the fish. That's 21 different spices and herbs.

Kirkland Signature egg whites can be used by themselves in open-face omelets or mixed with whole eggs and shredded cheese for frittatas, which are finished under the broiler.

For a quick frittata, mix liquid egg whites with whole eggs, a little low-fat milk and shredded or grated part skim milk cheese -- such as Pecorino Romano or Reggiano Parmigiano -- and pour into a heated non-stick, 10-inch pan with a little oil.

As the bottom firms up, place sun-dried tomatoes and refrigerated pesto on the surface. 

Place frittata under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the surface starts to brown, then remove from oven, cut into wedges and serve with leftover fish, rice or mashed sweet potatoes.

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