Perhaps you’re a single who has become a twosome, a couple whose kids have grown and flown, roommates, life-mates… whatever. You’re health-conscious and you love good food, but you don’t have the time or desire to spend a major portion of every day shopping and cooking to get a good meal on the table.
You want to avoid the nutritional and economic downsides of the supermarket’s prepared entrees and take-out restaurant food — you want the satisfaction of a delicious and healthy home-cooked meal.
These organization and shopping tips will help you prepare nutritious meals for yourself and your dinner companion.
Buy ripe! Ripe fruits and vegetables add much more flavor than their immature counterparts. But how do you tell what’s ripe? There is, in fact, one cardinal rule for almost all fruits and vegetables: if it doesn’t smell like anything, it won’t taste like anything. Forgo the smell-less stuff and go for what’s ripe, fresh and ready to cook.
Avoid waste, use the salad bar! A full container of cherry tomatoes or a whole bag of shredded cabbage may be an impractical purchase, so select just what you need at the salad bar.
Buy time-saving, waste-minimizing pre-cut or frozen fruits and vegetables. If your choice is between a whole head of broccoli and bulk or frozen florets, you may want to choose the latter and just use what you need when you need it. Of course, you wouldn’t use frozen vegetables in a recipe that showcases fresh ones, but you can take them right from the freezer to your steamer basket for any cooked dish. Six-ounce bags of greens, such as spinach, arugula, watercress and mixed salad greens, are perfect for serving a pair.
Look for packages of mixed fresh herbs — sold variously as “poultry seasoning,” “soup seasoning” or “Italian seasoning.” If several types of herbs are on your week’s shopping list but you need just a little of each, you’ll get a couple of sprigs of a few varieties without having to commit to an entire bunch of each.
If you need shrimp, buy peeled frozen tail-on shrimp. These are usually sold in 2-pound bags but you can take out what you need when you need it without having to defrost the whole amount. Some supermarkets also have bulk freezer bins of shrimp. You can even cook up delicious shrimp in the Ronco Ready Grill. Also, the 6- or 7-ounce cans and pouches of tuna, salmon and sardines are perfect for two.