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.

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”

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