Pandemic food casualty: Hey Costco, where’s my low-salt Thanksgiving turkey?

Looks like Costco let me down again (just like when it dumped chocolate frozen yogurt) and this time, only two weeks before Thanksgiving.

I journeyed out for a major shopping trip last week, knowing our locality would soon be telling us to stay home because of worsening Covid infection rates in our area.

I’ve written about how Costco normally has fresh, low-sodium turkeys this time of year — turkeys without any high-sodium liquids injecting into them for self-basting.

Time to eat all those turkeys! Happy Thanksgiving!
Where have all the turkeys gone at Costco? There were none two weeks before Thanksgiving.

But when I arrived last Thursday, there were no turkeys to be found at my local Costco in Glenview, Il. I asked a butcher who told me it was too soon for them. Too soon, two weeks before Thanksgiving and a day before we were told not to go out?

I know I’ve bought them earlier than that in the past because I’ve had to freeze them to keep them from spoiling before I cook them.

I looked at the home delivery option Costco offers through Instacart and did not find a fresh turkey last week either. I did find one this week, but at this point, I’ve found another source.

Romaine Lettuce Recall Hits 20 States

California-based grower Tanimura & Antle has announced a romaine lettuce recall that impacts product it shipped to 20 states.

The company is recalling packages of its single-head romaine lettuce with a packed on date of 10/15/2020 or 10/16/2020 and a UPC number of 0-27918-20314-9. The culprit — E. coli again.

The recall is effective in the following states plus Peurto Rico:

Illinois, Alaska, California, Oregon, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Mexico, South Carolina, Washington, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Massachusetts.

No lettuce-linked illnesses have been reported yet but for safety, if you ahve it, throw it out.

The recall doesn’t seem to ahve spread to other romaine lettuce so far. I was just at Costco today and saw its usual two brands of romaine hearts (regular and organic) on the shelves.

Here’s a Guide to Low-sodium Thanksgiving dishes

This year promises a Thanksgiving unlike our usual holidays thanks to the ongoing toll the Covid pandemic is taking. But hopefully people will still gather, albeit in smaller groups, to give thanks. And thos eon low-sodium diets will wonder what they can eat of the traditional Thanksgiving fare. I’d suggest starting our with one of our most popular posts, Here’s your low-sodium Thanksgiving menu!!!

Not enough there to suite your taste? Here are some other sites and recipes to look into:

Time to eat all those turkeys! Happy Thanksgiving!
Buy a fresh turkey to cut salt that comes in self-basting, frozen ones.

Low-Sodium Herb-Rubbed Turkey (Tasteofhome.com)

Low Sodium Thanksgiving (epicurious)

COMPLETE LOW SODIUM THANKSGIVING GUIDE (Hackingsalt.com)

50 Low Sodium Recipes for Thanksgiving! (The Daily Dish)

10 Low-sodium Thanksgiving recipes (Migraine Relief Recipes)

Pandemic recipe idea: Garlic Panko Flounder

I’m a big believer in buying what’s on sale each week and creating meals around those items. Recently, frozen flounder fillets were on sale at my local store, so I bought some and went recipe hunting.

The recipe I found to make them, Garlic Parmesan Flounder, was delicious and didn’t use fatty butter as did so many of the other flounder recipes I came across after a quick search. The cheese does have salt, so go light on it.

My garlic, parmesan flounder

Making it was fairly simple too. Let’s start with:

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
4 fillets flounder
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 c. bread crumbs (I use panko crumbs, they’re lower in salt)
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon (I used bottled lemon juice to taste)

Then the steops:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil on a large baking sheet. Season flounder with salt and pepper.

Combine Parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic, and lemon zest. Season with pepper.

Dredge fish in bread crumb mixture, pressing to coat. (I first coated the fillets with egg whites to hold the crumbs on)


Place fish on prepared baking sheet and drizzle with remaining two tablespoons oil and lemon juice.

Bake until golden and fish flakes easily with a fork, 20 minutes.

We had them with a side of steamed green beans for a wonderfully tasty fall meal.

Low-salt product review: Braswell’s Raspberry Vinaigrette

When you have salad almost every day for lunch to avoid high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar alternatives, using oil and vinegar to flavor it up can get a bit repetitive. So I’ve been trying out some low- and no-salt dressing alternatives such as Farmer Boy Lite Greek Dressing, which you can read about by clicking here.

My Braswell’s with my large salad behind it.

Today’s review is of a dressing called Braswell’s Raspberry Vinaigrette which I bought online at the Healthy Heart Market.

I don’t particularly like eating whole raspberries, but I love raspberry flavors and so thought I’d enjoy this dressing. I did. It had a nice raspberry taste and enlivened the flavor of my salad, which that day included beets and artichoke hearts along with romaine lettuce, tomatoes and low-salt olives.

Braswell nutrition information

This dressing isn’t completely salt-free. It has 20 mgs per serving, which is two tablespoons. I put seven tablespoons on my rather large salad, so I got 70 mgs of sodium from this. That’s not an overwhelming amount. The other good aspect of this product is that it’s fat-free.

It also comes in a reusable glass carafe, a nice item if you want to blend your own no-fat, no-salt, no-sugar dressings.

While I bought this online, some research reveals it is available from several local retailers in my area, so I’ll search for it on-shelf and see how the price compares to the online Healthy Heart Market.

Salt-free Product Review: Mrs. Dash Sloppy Joe’s Mix

I’ve long been a fan of Mrs. Dash’s salt-free marinades and salt-free taco seasoning. I recently also tried Mrs. Dash’s salt-free Sloppy Joe mix and found it a great substitute for the salt-ladened Manwich Sloppy Joe in a can I used to buy when my children were young.

The Mrs. Dash product did taste different, I think primarily because of the lack of salt. Manwich Sloppy Joe has 310 mgs of sodium a serving and claims one can is 10 servings!. If you’ve ever made it, you know that’s really not the case. I’d say a can is about three real-people servings, so each person would get about 1,000 mgs of sodium, half a day’s worth.

Our ground turkey Sloppy Joe’s.

The Mrs Dash mix includes:

Sugar, Dried Onion, Brown Sugar, Spices (Black Pepper, Celery Seed, Chili Pepper, Cinnamon, Cumin, Nutmeg), Cornstarch, Maltodextrin, Potassium Chloride, Yeast Extract, Tomato Powder, Dried Red and Green Bell Pepper, Dried Garlic, Citric Acid, Glucose, Natural Flavors, Vinegar.

We tried the Mrs. Dash seasoning with ground turkey instead of ground beef to hold the fat down as well. The combination worked well. I might modify the recipe on the package a bit and add more tomato paste than called for to give it a bit more tomato zwing.

One note, my local food stores don’t carry this product, so I bought it online at the Healthy Heart Market.

Food recall: cut fruit taken off Walmart shelves in 9 states

Attention Walmart shoppers, if you live in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas, you’ll be seeing less cut fruit in the aisles of your local store.

A Walmart supplier is recalling cut fruit in those states because of the possibility of listeria contamination, the Food and Drug Administration announced recently.

An example of the recalled fruit offerings.

“The recall is a precautionary measure due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes detected on equipment used in an area near where these products are packed. FDA discovered these findings during a recent inspection,” the FDA announcement of the recall stated. The distributor involved is called Country Fresh.

The FDA noted that “the products were packaged in various size clam shell containers (see photos). The “best if used by” dates are between October 3, 2020 and October 11, 2020 and the products are as follows:”

UPCItem DescriptionBest if used by:
68113118012APPLE GRAPE TRAY w/ CARMEL 2 lbs 10oz10/7/202010/8/2020
68113118006GREEN APPLE SLICES 32oz10/8/202010/9/202010/10/2020
68113118007MIXED APPLE SLICES 32oz10/8/202010/9/202010/10/2020
68113118004RED APPLE SLICES 14oz10/10/202010/11/2020
68113118010RED APPLE SLICES 32oz10/8/202010/9/2020
68113118014CANTALOUPE CHUNKS 10oz10/3/202010/4/202010/5/2020
68113118015CANTALOUPE CHUNKS 16oz10/3/202010/4/202010/5/2020
68113118023SEASONAL FRUIT TRAY 40oz10/3/202010/4/2020
68113135509SUMMER BLEND 5oz10/3/202010/4/2020
68113135510TROPICAL BLEND 5oz10/3/202010/4/2020
68113118037MANGO CHUNK 10oz10/3/202010/4/2020
68113118038MANGO SPEARS 16oz10/4/2020
68113118039PINEAPPLE GRAPE MANGO BLEND 16oz10/3/202010/4/202010/5/2020
68113118042PINEAPPLE CHUNKS 10oz10/3/2020
68113118046PINEAPPLE CHUNKS 16oz10/4/2020
68113118043PINEAPPLE CHUNKS 42oz10/10/202010/11/2020
68113118044PINEAPPLE SPEARS 32oz10/5/2020
68113118047RED GRAPES 10oz10/4/2020
68113118048SEASONAL BLEND 10oz10/3/202010/4/2020
68113118049SEASONAL BLEND 16oz10/3/202010/4/202010/5/2020
68113118050SEASONAL BLEND 32oz10/5/2020
68113118069SEASONAL TRIO 32oz10/3/202010/4/202010/5/2020

A Pandemic Food Find: salt-free Farmer Boy Lite Greek Dressing

Oil and vinegar was the salad dressing we used when I was growing up in my Italian-American household and it has been my go=-to choice since my first angioplasty in 2012. That’s because almost all commercial salad dressings are loaded with fat, salt and sugar, liklely why we enjoy them.

I’ve written about carrying my own oil and vinegar in handy small bottles when eating out to avoid restaurant dressing choices.

But all that said, I’m always on the lookout for alternatives. And I found one recently on the Healthy Heart Market, a product called Farmer Boy Lite Greek dressing. It has zero salt, a relatively low three grams of sugar and 2.5 grams of fat per serving with no saturated fat. (You can see the nutrition panel below by sliding the center line, a new feature on my blog.)

I bought a bottle to sample it and have been enjoying it since. Irt is a bit peppery for my taste but that’s often the case with products that take out salt and sugar or fat. Pepper is added instead to give it some flavor.

Also keep in mind, a serving is two tablespoons. I have not measured how much I use on my typical lunch salad (which can be pretty large), but I’m guessing it’s more than that.

Also keep in mind, it costs $5.99, plus shipping, for a 16-ounce bottle. If you can find it at a local store, you can save the shipping cost. The manufacturer sells it for slightly less, but you have to buy six bottles at a time. The company site notes a forerunner of the dressing has been available in the Clearwater, Fl. are for more than 30 years. The Lite version is relatively new, it says.

The processor’s site doesn’t have a list of retailers carrying the brand, I’ll contact them to see if I can get more information.

Some spice blending tips to spice up your pandemic cooking

Having a local source of great spices, I’m not talking about the pre-packaged kind in the supermarket, but fresher and specially blended spices, is a great aid in coming up with fun dinner options, even during this pandemic.

In the Chicago area, we have The Spice House, which has a variety of blends, including an entire section of salt-free mixtures for people like me trying to cut salt from our diets.

Salt-free spices are a must-have for any kitchen.
Salt-free spices are a must-have for any kitchen.

If you don’t have such a place, you can get creative and make your own blends. Here are a few from The Spice House to get you started. How much of each you blend is the art of it, experiment and see what works for you and the people at your table. Continue reading “Some spice blending tips to spice up your pandemic cooking”

How about eating that freezer-burned food? Yes and no

With everyone stocking their freezers during the pandemic, it’s likely whatever ends up at the bottom or back of your freezer will develop freezer burn. You know, that look, a frosty layer and a bit of discoloration.

Is such food still edible? Mostly yes but sometimes no, according to a recent piece on CookingLight.,com.

What do you do with freezer-burned food like this?

” USDA officials say that any meat affected by freezer burn is safe to eat. While your steak may taste a little ‘off,’ you won’t actually be at any greater risk for foodborne illness,” the article states. 

But don’t let freezer burned meats defrost on a counter and check the packaging.

“You should never leave freezer-burned meat out on a counter for an extended period of time. Bacteria can grow rapidly, thanks to the melting ice that has formed on the exterior of the meat (rather than on the interior, which can preserve the meat for longer periods of time). Continue reading “How about eating that freezer-burned food? Yes and no”

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