2021 Food Trends — breakfast is in, so are cookies

The Food Network is predicting that 2021 will be a year of big breakfasts, cookies and easier ways to find “healthy” foods, although what healthy emans depends on who is using the term, as ever.

The pandemic disrupted the usual breakfast routine for 80% of Americans. Less commuting to work and school meant more time for the most important meal of the day and food manufacturers are adapting. Look out for more convenient breakfast foods that are packed with functional ingredients like protein and fiber, such as Jimmy Dean Casserole Bites and Flourish Pancake Mix. Also expect familiar brands to up their breakfast game with tempting offers like Cinnabon’s CinnaBiscuit Chicken Sandwich,” Food Network reports in a piece entitled The Biggest Food Trends We’ll Be Talking About in 2021.

You can read all the predictions by clicking on this link.

A Record Year for Nosaltnofatnosugar.com Thank You All

We had a record number of visitors to our No Salt No Fat No Sugar Journal in 2020, more than 34,600 people, eclipsing our old record set in 2017.

“Covid and the move to more eating at home sent a lot of people looking for healthier recipes like we provide,” says site Founder and Editor John N. Frank. “While a lot of people were binging on chips and junk food, I’d like to think some realized they need to get the salt, fat and sugar out of their diets as they think more about what they eat every day.”

This site’s recipe page remains its most popular feature.

Frank started the blog in late 2012 after his first angioplasty to open a blocked artery which nearly killed him. He’s since had a second stent inserted in a different artery in 2017.

He has utilized his prior experience as a food journalist to find or modify recipes to get out the excessive salt, bad fats, and high amounts of sugar that many Americans eat every day without realizing what’s in their food.

Frank recently was named a 2020 top executive by Marquis’ Who’s Who in recognition of his career in journalism, his work on this blog, his efforts to start a small theater and his volunteer work with Mended Hearts, a national peer-to-peer support group for those dealing with heart disease.

“I’ve been stuck inside all year like everyone else but I’ve tried to keep busy,” he jokes.

Pandemic Cooking: A Quick, and Tasty, Tilapia Recipe

I’ve been eating a lot more fish since my heart issues started back in 2012, but fish preparation can sometimes confuse people and take time. So when I came across a recipe called Easy Baked Tilapia (or Cod), how could I not check it out, and try it?

I used tilapia and the result was a very tasty dinner that was, indeed, easy to make. I made one major change to the recipe, however, switching in olive oil where it called for butter in the topping to get a healthier fat into the mix.

My baked tilapia just after it came out of the oven. Using panko breadcrumbs cuts the salt in the dish since they normally have less salt than regular breadcrumbs.

Also, because I had five large tilapia fillets instead of the four in the original recipe, I doubled the amount of everything to make the topping, which worked out great. I also used bottled lemon juice since I did not have a fresh lemon.

So, as with any recipe, be prepared to adjust depending on what you have available for cooking.

Here are the details:

Easy Baked Tilapia

  • PREP TIME 5 minutes
  • COOK TIME 15 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME 20 minutes
  • SERVINGS 4 servings
  • AUTHOR Holly Nilsson
  • COURSE Dinner
  • CUISINE Asian

Ingredients
4 filets white fish such as cod or tilapia
½ lemon
1 ½ tablespoons melted butter

Topping

  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon butter melted (I used olive oil instead)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Rinse tilapia filets, pat dry and place on a pan sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the filets.
  • Top with the Panko mixture.
  • Cook 15 minutes or just until cooked through and fish is flaky.
  • Broil for the last minute if desired

And kudos to Spendwithpennies.com for also listing the nutrition information for the dish.

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Calories: 240, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 100mg, Sodium: 203mg, Potassium: 532mg, Vitamin A: 390IU, Vitamin C: 8.5mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 1.3mg

I think using the oil instead of the butter likely cut some, if mot all, of the saturated fat content too.

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.

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.

Stuffed Zucchini and Red Peppers ala Giada

I always enjoy watching Giadi De Laurentiis’ cooking shows, even though she often uses more fat or salt than I can eat on my restricted diet. But this recipe for stuffed zucchini and peppers caught my eye because it uses ground turkey instead of ground beef.

True, it calls for dark meat turkey, which is the highest inf at of any turkey meat. But you can easily substitute lean to extra lean ground turkey to cut the fat substantially.

Zucchini on the gas grill, basted with olive oil and Italian spices.
I normally grill zucchini but I may try stuffing them next.

Having ketchup in here surprised me too, I’d say use it or not to your taste and if you do use it, use a salt-free, low-sugar variety.

So, the ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, grated

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 large egg

3 tablespoons ketchup

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano

1/4 cup dried plain bread crumbs

1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat

2 zucchini, ends removed, halved lengthwise and crosswise

1 short orange bell pepper, halved and seeded

1 short red bell pepper, halved and seeded

1 short yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce Continue reading “Stuffed Zucchini and Red Peppers ala Giada”

Pandemic binge eating: foods to avoid before bedtime

A lot has been written about people overeating during the Covid-19 pandemic. And why not, with all the tension and changes in routine the pandemic has brought into our lives?

My low-fat, low-salt home-made pizza.

If you’re trying to get a grip on your pandemic eating, try starting with not eating for at least two hours before you go to bed. And, according to this piece on Foodnetwork.com, avoid these eight foods before bedtime:

  • Pizza
  • Coffee
  • Soda
  • Orange Juice
  • Wine
  • Spicy foods
  • Burgers
  • Sugary cereal

Why? Read all about it by clicking here.

 

Pandemic food storage tip: You can freeze ground beef for up to four months

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused almost everyone to do more home cooking, and more food shopping to go with it. Which means we’re all storing more food in our pantries, refrigerators and freezers. So it’s a good time to remember some food storage safety advice.

Hamburgers are an American staple, especially during the summer grilling months. If you’ve bought ground beef to make them, or bought them already made, how long can they be kept? Some people think once you freeze food, it can stay in the freezer indefinitely.

96% lean ground beef
96% lean ground beef is great, if properly stored and handled.

Well, not exactly. This piece in Myrecipes.com suggests four months is the amount of time you can keep ground beef in the freezer. If you bring it home from the store and stick it in the fridge, don’t leave it there more than a day, two at the most, the article notes (I’d say a day tops to be safe).

I usually immediately divide a one-pound pack into four burgers, wrap them in some type of cling wrap, and freeze them.

Continue reading “Pandemic food storage tip: You can freeze ground beef for up to four months”

Another Pandemic Shortage: Propane for backyard barbecues tough to find

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about all sorts of food and home supply shortages — try buying disinfectant hand wipes if you don’t believe that. I stumbled across the latest shortage just before July 4th — propane tanks for backyard barbecues are non-existent at most of the usual places.

I went to five places one day, mostly Walgreens that carry the propane brand I usually buy with rebates it offers, and none had any. I then started calling places instead of driving, and was told much the same thing, whether it was a local home center or my neighborhood CVS — tanks are scare and stores never really know when a delivery is coming or how much they’ll receive. Continue reading “Another Pandemic Shortage: Propane for backyard barbecues tough to find”

Pandemic snacking: Try sugar-free chocolate pudding

A lot has been written about people gaining weight while they sit home in quarantine because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The so-called “Quarantine 15” likely resulted from people loading up on high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar snacks. It’s been difficult for me not to do the same, and I have had my mini-binges as stress levels rose to hideous heights.

All you need to make pudding at home.

But I have found one snack that has no sugar and minimal fat — sugar-free chocolate pudding. You can buy it in pre-made cups, but those became harder and harder to find in my area as the pandemic persisted, so I bought the box variety instead and made it myself.

Chocolate pudding comes in two varieties, instant which requires no cooking, and the old-fashioned regular kind which requires you to do some very simple cooking. You can use either low-fat or no-fat skim milk, thus controlling the bad-fat levels you eat in the pudding you make.

The instant kind just requires you combines the powdered pudding mix with milk and mix it for a few minutes. I use an electric mixer but you can do it by hand with a whisk or fork too. The traditional kind requires heating the milk in a small pot on your stovetop and adding the mix, combining them in the pot.

This is my production from two boxes of pudding mix.

One regular-sized box requires two cups of milk, a pint, so two boxes work with a quart. I found a larger size box as well that requires three cups of milk.

Once mixed, you pour it into whatever small serving bowls or glasses you want and then put it in the refrigerator to cool and thicken.

If you need some chocolate every day, this I a great way to get it. Enjoy!

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