Target is carrying 93% lean ground beef

A recent ad for Target’s food selection included 93% lean ground beef. While not as lean as what I buy, it can be a good choice if you can’t find the 96% lean.

Lean beef is the only kind I eat on my post-angioplasty diet these days. I’ve mentioned how I found 96% lean ground beef at a supermarket chain here in Chicago, Jewel. That remains the leanest ground beef I’ve seen in a supermarket.

This recent Target add included 93% lean ground beef.
This recent Target add included 93% lean ground beef.
Target 93% lean ground beef
Target 93% lean ground beef

But a recent ad for Target’s food selection included 93% lean ground beef. While not as lean as what I buy, it can be a good choice if you can’t find the 96% lean. With most places selling either 85% or at most 90%, this 93% lean ground beef stands out as a good choice if you have a Target with a major food section nearby. Continue reading “Target is carrying 93% lean ground beef”

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Doc’s Gourmet Ketchup — not a low-salt favorite of mine

All the low-salt, low-sugar ketchups I’ve found are considerably more expensive than regular brands, so if you buy one, the taste should work for you, it’s too expensive to buy something you’ll ultimately not use. Sorry Doc.

Ketchup is a must-have condiment for me, but traditional brands are loaded with salt and sugar, so I’m constantly on the lookout for low-salt alternatives. I’ve already done a taste test of two brands, Westbrae and LocalFolks.

Recently I tried another brand, Doc’s Gourmet Ketchup. Doc’s has 65 mgs of sodium and 3 grams of sugar in a tablespoon compared with LocalFolks which has 25 mgs of sodium and 2 grams of sugar, so ingredient-wise it’s already at a disadvantage. I recently did a side-by-side test of the two on turkey meatloaf I made.

Doc's ketchup, on the right, is brown, not red like LocalFolks, on the left. Doc's also doesn't taste like ketchuo.
Doc’s ketchup, on the right, is brown, not red like LocalFolks, on the left. Doc’s also doesn’t taste like ketchuo.

The Doc’s was severely disappointing, tasting more like a peppery barbecue sauce than a tomato ketchup. It’s brown color belies its barbecue sauce taste as does the liquid smoke listed as an ingredient. I don’t want to throw the remainder of it away, so I’m saving it to use on some chicken that I grill this summer to see if it tastes better as a barbecue sauce than as a ketchup.

All the low-salt, low-sugar ketchups I’ve found are considerably more expensive than regular brands, so if you buy one, the taste should work for you, it’s too expensive to buy something you’ll ultimately not use. Sorry Doc.
John

Asparagus cooking, storing tips to help save money

I liked the advice about cooking at high heat and pre-heating a baking sheet, both of which I’ll try.

Asparagus is a veggie I’ve been eating a lot more of since my 2012 angioplasty. But it can be expensive, $3 a pound and more, so I tend to only buy it on sale. Whatever the price, I’m always up for tips on how to prepare it and how to preserve it longer so I don’t waste as much, part of my new push for better meal planning.

So I was pleased to see some tips from my supermarket chain Jewel that I actually found helpful rather than silly as I do many cooking and food tips from food stores.

Asparagus area  great side dish.
Asparagus area great side dish.

You can read the tips here. I never knew the one about wrapping the bottom of asparagus in a damp paper towel to help it last longer in the frig.

I also liked the advice about cooking at high heat and pre-heating a baking sheet, both of which I’ll try.

I like topping asparagus with low-salt panko breadcrumbs and putting them under a broiler to crisp.

You can find other asparagus recipes in a post I wrote about 25 veggie cooking ideas.
John

Diet Pepsi dropping aspartame = consumers being heard

Food and beverage companies will make anything they think people will buy in massive quantities. So the way to get them to stop making things you consider unhealthy is to stop buying them

Pepsi announced last week that it was dropping aspartame from its Diet Pepsi, a victory for consumers who fear aspartame even though government regulators and soft drink makers say its safe.

Love every sip? Not lately, consumers have been shunning diet sodas, worried about aspartame and other sweeteners used. So Diet Pepsi is switching to Splenda.
Love every sip? Not lately, consumers have been shunning diet sodas, worried about aspartame and other sweeteners used. So Diet Pepsi is switching to Splenda.

Food and beverage companies are in business to make money, not to harm or kill people as some critics seem to think. The manufacturers will make anything they think people will buy in massive quantities. So the way to get them to stop making things you consider unhealthy is to stop buying them, which is pretty much what has been happening with diet sodas in recent years.

Splenda will be the new sweetener in Diet Pepsi. Will that switch reverse the slide in diet soda sales? I’m guessing no, people seem to fear all sweeteners these days, from sugar on down. Stevia is one new darling, several sodas are already out sweetened with that. I’ve written about a brand I tried with Stevia, you can read about it on this link.

Give it some time and I’m sure someone will find something bad to say about it too. We are simply in an era of vast distrust of all processed foods.
John

Lean ground turkey, let’s review how to find the leanest variety

I’ve warned you that not all ground turkey is all that lean, read the nutrition label to find the leanest variety your food store offers.

Ground turkey has replaced ground beef in a variety of dishes I make, from meatballs to tacos because it is, or at least can be leaner than most ground beef offerings. But I’ve warned you before that not all ground turkey is all that lean, read the nutrition label to find the leanest variety your food store offers.

Which is leaner? Do you see the different descriptions? No? Another reason to always read nutrition labels.
Which is leaner? Do you see the different descriptions? No? Another reason to always read nutrition labels.

Some brands offer lean and extra lean ground turkey. I recently found another variation of that in the Honeysuckle brand, made by food giant Cargill. It offers white meat ground turkey and breast meat ground turkey. You would think white meat would be the leanest, but the breast meat offering is leaner, 1.5 grams of fat per four ounces compared with 8 grams in the other variety.

Why? I’m guessing skin is ground along with the meat for the higher fat one, it adds flavor and moisture. When you find these two types, buy one of each package to mix in a turkey meatloaf to get some flavor and lower fat content overall.
John

Lettuce tacos? Why not, try them

This experience will get me to try to wrap other things in the romaine heart leaves, send me ideas that you’ve tried.

I seem to be talking about tacos a lot lately, but that’s because I’m again enjoying them after finding a way to make them low-salt and low-fat. Using lettuce as the outer skin for a taco gets a lot of attention online, but I had never tried it until lately.

My verdict — I liked it and likely will try it again. True, there is shredded lettuce in the ingredients I put in, so it’s a bit like having a lettuce sandwich, but there are enough other ingredients to balance that out and keep it tasty.

I created my lettuce taco with this variety from Costco, which advertises it's well-suited to use for wraps.
I created my lettuce taco with this variety from Costco, which advertises it’s well-suited to use for wraps.
You can see the result here, it was very tasty.
You can see the result here, it was very tasty.

I used romaine lettuce hearts, a variety Costco sells that advertises on its packaging that it’s well-suited for wraps. It really was, the leaves are crisp and hold their own when filling is added. You can see one here along with my other alternative wraps, which I’ve written about before, a low-salt soft tortilla and one I tried to shape into a hard taco shell with mixed results.

This experience will get me to try to wrap other things in the romaine heart leaves, send me ideas that you’ve tried.
John

Food hack test: making tortillas into taco shells

I’ll try this hack again with a deeper cup and see if that helps. It was fun to have a hard shell again, especially one that was low in salt, in which to put my low-fat ground turkey mixture.

Food hack was a new term to me until very recently. I wrote about 28 Brilliant Food Hacks that seemed like good ideas, including one in which you can turn a soft tortilla into a hard taco shell.

A brilliant food hack? Using a cup to turn a tortilla into a hard taco shells didn't go exactly as advertised.
A brilliant food hack? Using a cup to turn a tortilla into a hard taco shells didn’t go exactly as advertised.

But I tried that one recently and it left a bit to be desired. The problem may have been that the cup I used, you put the tortilla in a coffee cup and then put it a microwave to harden, was too small for the tortilla.

I started with these flat, low-salt tortilla shells from Trader Joe's.
I started with these flat, low-salt tortilla shells from Trader Joe’s.
...and ended up with this slightly round taco shell
…and ended up with this slightly round taco shell

You can see the result here, the tortilla curved on one side, the side in the cup, but remained largely open on the other. A second attempt in which I tried to push it deeper into the cup caused it to split in the middle.

Why not just buy taco shells? Because all I’ve seen are extremely high in salt but I have managed to find low-salt tortilla shells.

I’ll try this hack again with a deeper cup and see if that helps. It was fun to have a hard shell again, especially one that was low in salt, in which to put my low-fat ground turkey mixture.
John