Food bloggers in general and Brooklyn Supper in particular can be pretty down on a lot of processed foods. That’s because we’re in the business of putting recipes on the internet and don’t want processed foods undermining our racket. Kidding. It’s because they’re gross and bad for you. And cooking is fun. But sometimes, you really do need to make a dinner and you don’t have time to cook and it’s handy to have a few things around the house that are ready to go. Here are five that are pretty healthy and can really save your evening in a pinch.
A carton of tomato soup
Commercial soups are generally loaded with sodium and have a lot of weird ingredients, but we’ve had a lot of luck finding various brands of tomato soup that are really simple and healthy. Tomato is a great flavor to have on hand because it’s versatile and can round out a homemade meal or be heated and served with a sandwich to be a meal itself. It’s also a great soup for adding your own seasonings or veggies. Try a shake of paprika or a few sprigs of thyme.
Whole wheat English muffins
A lot of store-bought bread products really push the boundaries of the definition of “bread” with their unusual ingredients and sprayed-on crusts. But check out the English muffins the next time you’re at the grocery store. They’re typically made mainly with ingredients you’ve heard of and are relatively low in calories. From a quick breakfast to a base for mini-pizzas, they’re also perfect for wide variety of fast meals.
A can of skinless, boneless salmon
The tuna salad sandwich is a longtime standby for a quick lunch, but concerns about mercury and the sustainability of tuna-fishing has led many to scale back on tuna eating. But fish is really good for you, so get your fish fix with a can of salmon instead. It costs a little more than tuna, but not much. And it’s great to have something on hand for making a sandwich that’s a little more grown up than PB&J (not that there’s anything wrong with PB&J).
Generic marinara sauce
This is a trick we learned from a friend who’s a cook. Most store-bought pasta sauce falls into one of two categories — the ordinary brands that are full of sugar and the fancier brands that have quality ingredients but require a second mortgage (assuming your house is worth $8.99). But many generic brands can’t be bothered to add a bunch of stuff to their marinara. We’ve found jars that are just tomato and spices. That leaves you free to add your own ingredients like olives or ground beef or just heat and serve in an pinch.
It can be easy to get hung up on the superiority of fresh vegetables for health and flavor, but if it’s not always convenient for you to buy and cook fresh vegetables and that’s keeping you from eating vegetables, then fresh veggies are holding you back. Buy a few bags and keep them in the freezer for an evening when you can’t rinse, chop, and cook. Sometimes it’s nice to just open a bag, heat, and serve.
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