Thursday, March 3, 2016

Read the label, buy good ingredients and prepare simple meals at home

REDEFINING PLAIN: Before I grabbed a big canister of half-price "plain" bread crumbs at ShopRite in Paramus, I read the label. Then, I changed my mind. They contain high fructose corn syrup, sugar, honey, corn flour, milk, buttermilk, preservatives and other ingredients. 

Hunt's Tomatoes also were on sale at the Paramus ShopRite, 224 Route 4 east, but they contained added sugar, something you also find in nearly every bottled pasta sauce these days.


If you want to avoid lots of sodium, added sugar or other undesirable ingredients in the food you buy, you'll have to pay attention to the small print.

Reading the ingredients label is a must.

Eggs, rice and other food labeled organic means they are free of pesticides and genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

But you also find produce like the incomparable, hothouse grown Campari Tomatoes, sold in 2-pound packages at Costco Wholesale, labeled with the stamp of the Non-GMO Project.

You also have to worry about sugar, which is added to bread, pasta sauces, salsas and so many other products.

GOING ORGANIC: Two organic, free-range eggs served over organic brown rice --prepared in a rice cooker with organic chicken broth, diced tomatoes and black beans -- make a filling and delicious breakfast (hold the bread).

Baked or mashed sweet potatoes are another bread substitute, here with a plain egg-white omelet filled with a little grated cheese and Mexican-style salsa.

This egg-white omelet is stuffed with smoked wild sockeye salmon and salsa, both from Costco Wholesale in the Teterboro Landing Shopping Center off of Route 46.

Whole King Whiting were $3.99 a pound at the H Mart in Little Ferry. With a central bone, whiting are among the easiest whole fish to eat. My wife seasoned serving pieces of the whole fish and pan-fried them in olive oil.
We boil sweet potatoes and whole garlic cloves, then drain and mash them with extra-virgin olive and seasonings, including red-pepper flakes, black pepper, cinnamon and garam masala.

Serving portions of fresh, wild-caught Icelandic Cod fillets ($7.99 a pound at Costco Wholesale) poach in under 10 minutes once you bring Roasted Poblano Salsa from Whole Foods Market to a boil and cover the pan, below. The salsa is free of added sugar. The garnish is fresh parsley and basil, and Aleppo red pepper.

I add a little sea salt to the fillets, and dilute the thick salsa with the juice of two fresh limes. A 16-ounce jar of salsa is enough for 2 pounds to 2.5 pounds of skinless and boneless cod (four generous servings with brown rice, whole wheat pasta or sweet potatoes).
This morning, a breakfast of leftover cod, organic brown rice and an egg-white omelet stuffed with reduced-fat cheese and salsa was a great start to the day.

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