Dinner Diva: Eating In Season

Dinner Diva
Eating In Season

On my radio show, I've heard all kinds of rationales for why people don't eat healthier. From picky eaters to not having time, there is a whole mountain of excuses. One of the biggest excuses is that it costs too much money to eat healthy. That's just not true. Even with a grocery list, you can still accommodate sales and stretch your grocery dollar even more.
There are keys to successful grocery shopping; I'm sure you've heard these tips before, but they are worth repeating. 1) start with a list 2) don't go to the store hungry 3) leave the kids home if possible. That said, it's good to be flexible, too. Yes, I'm a stickler for a list, but there are occasions when the list should be guide and not a straightjacket.
For example, let's say wild salmon is on sale. You don't have it on your list, but you have tilapia. Well, by all means, substitute the salmon! The recipe will still turn out (you may have to cook the salmon a wee bit longer) and you'll save money by buying what's in season and on sale and still be able to bide by a plan.
Chicken is another such thing that can easily substitute for most fish dishes (again, extra cooking) or pork chop dishes as well. It's good to have a plan afoot, but it's even better to feel the freedom that comes with being a wee bit flexible.
This week, I was going to make some sautÇed spinach as a side dish with my dinner. Turned out, I had already used it that week, so I pulled out my kale and made it instead. No big deal; just a little extra cooking time. When I'm grocery shopping, I like to do the same thing - pick up what looks extra good and fresh, making sure whatever I am getting is in season and then build from there. The substitute is usually not a big deal (like my spinach/kale exchange) but sometimes it requires a bit of a shift in thinking. Just remember, that buying produce in season is always cheaper than buying out of season.
The point is, you shouldn't be afraid to change it up when opportunity warrants it. If there is a sale or something looks particularly good at the grocery store, take a minute to readjust your thinking and go for it! You'll have fun, make your menu your own and enjoy the creativity that comes with the inspiration. You're the cook!
Here's a recipe to get your inspiration on:
Herbed Skillet Chicken
Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 10 minutes or until slightly browned, turning once. Combine thyme, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper; sprinkle over chicken. Remove chicken, keeping warm and add 1/2 cup water to the skillet, using a wire whisk to scrape the pan and get up all the browned bits.
Bring water to a boil, add chicken back in; cover, and reduce heat and cook 10-20 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken, until chicken is done. Remove chicken from skillet.
Combine cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon water. Add to pan juices; cook until thickened and translucent, stirring or whisking constantly. Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with parsley.
Per Serving: 202 Calories; 13g Fat; 19g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 40mg Cholesterol; 632mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 2 1_2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1 Fat.

For more dinner solutions, visit savingdinner.com Copyright 2008 Leanne Ely. Published with permission for this publication.