Where food stores are headed — no help and lots of help

Food retailers, from supermarkets to tiny convenience stores, are changing as consumer tastes change and as the pandemic brings about changes in food shopping behavior and at-home eating. Where will it all end?

This piece I read recently looks at two extremes evolving in today’s food retail space — stores with virtually no customer-facing employees and markets that look more like restaurants with lots of employees interacting, and selling, to customers.

No surprise that the store with few employees is from Amazon which is always trying to sell everything faster. Eliminating things like store checkout lines can do that in a supermarket. So Amazon has begun opening stores called Amazon Fresh where people check themselves out as they shop.

At the other end of the spectrum is Dom’s Kitchen in Chicago, started by former executives for the Mariano’s chain (and the defunct Dominick’s chain before that) and embodying a lot of concepts first tried by East Coast-favorite Wegman’s years ago. Dom’s is full of counters where you can buy cooked food to take home and eat. It has some packaged grocery items too, but they definitely play second fiddle to the take-out food.

Continue reading “Where food stores are headed — no help and lots of help”

Love artichokes? Love spinach? Try this spinach and artichoke-stuffed chicken

Here’s another way to liven up some dull chicken breasts — stuff them with spinach and artichokes.

The recipe is fairly straight-forward and includes nutrition information so you can monitor salt, fat and sugar intake from this dish. I’m a little surprised it isn’t higher in sodium given the cheese used. Hopefully the reported numbers are correct.

Click through to get all the details.

Continue reading “Love artichokes? Love spinach? Try this spinach and artichoke-stuffed chicken”

Pandemic food price gouging – demand advertised sale prices

The continuing increase in food prices throughout the pandemic has been well documented, in posts I’ve written and elsewhere. And I’ve given tips on how to cope, such as shopping dollar stores that stock produce and buying essential items in bulk.

Today, I ran into one of the most egregious examples of pandemic food price-gouging I’ve seen. My local Jewel, an Albertson’s chain in Illinois, had advertised filet mignon for $5.99 for a six-ounce steak.

Filet is normally the leanest cut of steak and so fits in my efforts to minimize my fat intake. Because it is an expensive cut, I’m always watching for deals and so jumped at the chance to buy some 6-ounce fillets for $5.99 each.

When I arrived at the meat counter of the Jewel in Wilmette, Il., a neighboring suburb, however, the signs posted said the filets were $6,99 each, not the advertised $5.99. Asking the meat counter attendant got me no answer, he had to follow what the sign said, he told me.

So I went to the store service counter. The person there had no answer for the disparity and so called the head of the meat department. She replied that store had decided to charge $6.99, not the advertised $5.99. But since I had complained, she would sell me some for $5.99

Continue reading “Pandemic food price gouging – demand advertised sale prices”

Another flavorful way to cook white-meat chicken — and it’s fast!

Early on in this blog I wrote a post asking how many ways someone could prepare white-meat chicken. I was making the transition to how I had always eaten to eating only items my nutritionists had recommended after my first stent was put in, back in 2012.

I’ve since found and written about many options for making the driest part of chickens, the white meat, tastier and more palatable.

Check my recipe page for some of those past recipes. This post will look at a new, simple variation I recently came across, 10-minute chicken.

The ingredients, with my notes about them, are:

  • 4 thin chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) (be sure they’re thin, the thicker the chicken, the longer you need to cook it)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (one for rubbing and one for cooking)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (leave this out,m you don;t need it)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic (pressed)
  • 2 teaspoons parsley (dried)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I’m not a fan of hot peppers, I’d substitute Mrs. Dash chicken spice mix instead)

Then,:

  • Rub the chicken breasts generously with oil. Season with all of the seasonings.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat another 2 tablespoons of oil and add the chicken breasts. Cover the pan with a lid, leaving a small gap for steam to escape. Cook for 3 minutes without touching the pan or the chicken. Once the tops of the chicken turn white, flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and serve immediately.

Remember to always cook chicken thoroughly. If you can cut it and see red meat or meat that looks more like jelly, it’s not done, the meat should be white all the way through the entire breast.

Pandemic stock-up: essentials I’m buying online these days

I’ve been writing a great deal about how the Covid Pandemic has impacted people’s food shopping habits and product availability. You can click here to see a roundup of my posts. With low-salt products disappearing from mainstream supermarket shelves these days, I’ve been forced to do more shopping online.

Shipping charges generally make online shopping more expensive, so I’ve responded by buying non-perishable items in bulk. Here’s a look at items I have now — a six-bottle case of Mrs. Dash salt-free teriyaki sauce and Mrs’ Dash sloppy Joe, taco and fajita seasoning packets.

I have stocked up on some items I found locally, like Localfolks low-salt, low-sugar ketchup and barbecue sauces. One Whole Foods in my area carries Localfolks, I’m hoping it doesn’t stop any time soon.

You can also see a giant box of low-salt crackers from Costco.

I wrote some tips for bulk storage back in December, you can review those by clicking here.

The No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Journal celebrates a milestone — 800 posts!

What you’re reading now is the 801st post in the history of the No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Journal. When we started in late 2012, we never imagined we’d still be going all these years later.

Our initial goal was to help people who, because of heart disease or other ailments, had to radically change their diets to cut salt, fat and sugar. Those three things are in almost everything Americans routinely eat, so eliminating them is a herculean task.

But we have persisted and you have responded, making our No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar Recipe Page the most popular thing on our site. Do a search for such recipes and we will be at the top of your search page just under the paid placements.

Happy 800 posts to us!!!!

When the Pandemic hit, we pivoted to posting recipes that would work for families stuck at home together. We also starting labeling posts with topics such as Pandemic Shopping, to let you know about which no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar items were disappearing from local stores shelves and how to find them in alternate outlets.

We’re on track for a record year for views, thank you, and keep coming back! And tell your friends.

Eating less salt, fat and sugar can benefit anyone, not just those with health conditions already. Hopefully eating healthier can help you not get some of the health conditions that originally prompted the launch of this blog.

Stay safe, stay masked, get vaccinated and stay no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar.

Another recipe for tomato lovers — roasted tomatoes

If you’re like me, you’re growing tomatoes in your backyard this summer. Here’s a recipe to turn them into a tasty side dish — roasted tomatoes. I’ve written about making a roasted tomato sauce in the past, if that interests you, click here to read about it.

The roasted tomato recipe comes from the Food Network site and chef Ina Garten. While the recipe details roasting in an oven, you could easily do this on an outside grill as well.

Ingredients

12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed

4 tablespoons good olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (leave this out or substitute Mrs. Dash salt substitute)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes.
  3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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