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.

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.

Pandemic Food Storage Tips: Keeping grapes and mushrooms fresh longer

The Covid-19 pandemic sent grocery sales soaring early this year. Reports say that peak has leveled off in more recent months, but sales are still up significantly year-over-year in the supermarket business.

And because we’re buying more, I thought this would be a good time to review how to keep the items we buy fresher longer, especially when it comes to perishable produce.

Trout, with mushrooms as a garnish.

So here are two articles from Myrecipes.com that give tips on storing mushrooms and grapes. Continue reading “Pandemic Food Storage Tips: Keeping grapes and mushrooms fresh longer”

Pandemic grocery shopping: most consumers still wary

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing as we approach fall, most consumers are still worried about catching it when they go grocery shopping, according to a new survey.

Of the 1,150 people surveyed, 75% say they worry about catching Covid while grocery shopping. The survey was done by Charleston|Orwig, a strategic marketing and communications agency, and Menu Matters, a strategic consultancy in foodservice.

People are still concerned about catching Covid-19 in grocery stores.

“As more consumers are out and about, any activity is seen as a concern. Grocery shopping is no different,” said Maeve Webster, president of Menu Matters, in a release. “Even though supermarket managers made positive changes during the pandemic, this survey shows they haven’t yet fully addressed consumer concerns.” Continue reading “Pandemic grocery shopping: most consumers still wary”

7 pandemic food shopping trends

The food business is keeping a close eye at how people’s food shopping habits are being changed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

We wrote about an early study of shopping habits. Now, the New York Times has done some good, old-fashioned reporting, talking to a variety of industry sources and looking at a variety of surveys, to come up with its own seven trends of pandemic shopping. Its findings echo those of earlier research.

The Covid-19m pandemic has changed how we grocery shop.

People are taking fewer trips to the supermarket and planning their shopping lists more, the Times reports.

Trips are now very business-like with people wanting to get in and out as quickly as possible.

Stores are responding by cutting down on the variety of products they offer, figuring people are there now for their tried and true choices, not new and unproven products. Continue reading “7 pandemic food shopping trends”

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”

Pandemic summer shopping tip: Carry a cooler or insulated bag when you food shop

The pandemic has changed how we grocery shop, cutting down drastically on the number of trips to the store we make each week. In colder times, you could leave food from one store in your car while you ducked into another to grab a few more items, but summertime is different (as is shopping in perpetually warm climates).

Cooking Light recently had a piece on the dangers of leaving groceries in your car, you can read it by clicking here. One of the tips it suggests is something I’ve been doing for years  – bringing a large cooler filled with ice or reusable ice packs.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how we grocery shop.

I started that practice years back when Costco was still selling fat-free chocolate frozen yogurt in its food court and I would stock up on yogurt swirl cups every week. Costco stupidly cut chocolate frozen yogurt two years ago, something I wrote about in a rage, and now has almost no carryout items at its food courts because of Covid-19. Continue reading “Pandemic summer shopping tip: Carry a cooler or insulated bag when you food shop”

More pandemic food casualties: Salt-free teriyaki sauce, low- and no-fat cheeeses

Healthier food options have definitely been casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic. With demand up because people are eating at home more, food processors have stepped up production of their most popular offerings — normally the least healthy ones — and dropped healthier ones. The same is true for mainstream supermarkets which are having trouble keeping their shelves stocked, still today.

Preparing salmon with Mrs. Dash no-salt marinades.
Preparing salmon with Mrs. Dash no-salt marinades.

The latest healthier product that’s become impossible to find in stores near me — Mrs. Dash sweet teriyaki sauce.

Mrs. Dash teriyaki is salt-free, a miracle when it comes to anything with an Asian flavor to it. I use it constantly on fish and in stir fry veggie, chicken and shrimp dishes I create.

In normal times, I could buy it locally at Food 4 Less, a Kroger store in my area.

But the pandemic has wiped it from the shelves here. Checking the store website, it’s not even listed for shipment. Continue reading “More pandemic food casualties: Salt-free teriyaki sauce, low- and no-fat cheeeses”

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”

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