Those who are following this blog may remember that last week, we took a look at the produce section at my local supermarket. Today, we’re visiting the meat counter.
It’s certainly more convenient to obtain precooked luncheon or canned meats from other sections of the grocery store instead of cooking meat yourself. However, for health reasons some of us should not consume the added salt, MSG, and other ingredients that are used in the production of prepared meats.
It is advantageous to use product from the meat counter. You can opt to season your meat any way that you wish. And if you are concerned about fat and cholesterol, you can choose among several low fat options. For example:
Red meats. Stew meat is an economical cut of beef that can be prepared on the weekend, then re-heated for lunches during the work week. Below, we see a photograph of extra lean stew meat.
Years ago, I learned how to cook beef stew in a wonderful way. I used to work at a local auto repair shop as a data entry clerk. The family who owned the business was Persian, and they always served their workers a delicious home-made stew at lunchtime. The owner’s wife gave me the following recipe:
Persian Crock Pot Stew
- 1/2 cup green onions, minced
- 1/2 cup parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
- 1 cup fresh spinach, minced
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3-4 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 2″ cubes
- 1 cup beef broth (you can use dried bouillon dissolved in 1 cup water)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried celery flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 can of kidney beans, drained (make sure you use kidney beans without sugar or additional sweetener)
- Juice of one lemon
1.Thoroughly rinse the first four ingredients. The easiest way to mince is with a food processor. Otherwise, pull out a knife or cleaver and start chopping.
2.Saute the minced greens in 2 tablespoons of oil for 10 minutes in a saucepan. Then place in the crockpot. Wash out the saucepan.
3.Brown the meat in 1 tablespoon oil in the saucepan and then add to the crockpot.
4.Add the next five ingredients to the crockpot. Cover, turn to Low, and cook for 8-9 hours, or until the meat is tender.
5.Drain the kidney beans and add to the crockpot.
6.Add the lemon juice to the crockpot. Stir.
7.Cover the pot and allow to cook on Low for another 1/2 hour. Season to taste.
8.This stew is delicious over rice or as is with pita bread. It re-heats well and stays warm for hours in a Thermos because of its soupiness. You can also microwave to warm or use the miniature CrockPot lunch warmer referred to in a previous article.
Poultry. I see the butcher is offering skinless chicken breast. Perfect! Without its skin, chicken has much less fat and cholesterol. I can put some breasts into a foil-lined baking dish, add a little salt and pepper, turn the oven on to bake at 350 degrees, and cook for 40 minutes. (It’s done when there’s no sign of pinkishness in the breast when sliced in half).
I will let the meat cool, wrap tightly in Saran wrap, and store in the frig. It’s a great, low-fat addition to salads, sandwiches, or pre-made soup. Suggestion: Cook your fowl on the weekend to eliminate prep time during the work week.
Seafood. Many people shy away from seafood simply because they’re not sure how to cook it. However, I’ve discovered that you can cook some fish, such as salmon and trout, in the microwave. It’s easy and makes for a much more efficient cleanup.
Looks like we have some sockeye salmon today. It’s pricier than Atlantic salmon, but in my opinion has much better flavor. So I will ask the butcher to slice off a piece for me.
Steamed Microwave Salmon Fillet
- Place your fillet in a microwave-safe dish. I prefer using a pasta bowl.
- Marinade with your favorite sauce for 1/2 hour. (I’ve used teriyaki marinade, chicken marinade, and plain salad vinaigrette). Today, I’ll be using a balsamic vinaigrette.
- Cover the fish with another smaller plate to make a tight seal.
- Cook in microwave for 4 minutes.
- Remove from microwave and carefully lift the top plate off. (Suggestion: push the top plate away from you to allow steam to escape from opposite side. You don’t want to burn yourself!)
- Eat hot with your favorite side dish. Or let cool, wrap tightly, refrigerate and use later as an addition to your favorite salad. Salmon is delicious hot or cold. Here are some lunchtime suggestions:
- Teriyaki marinaded salmon is good re-heated with rice. Green salad makes a good side dish
- Cold balsamic marinaded salmon is good on top of a Greek-style green salad.
- Cold salmon is also good topped with plain yogurt mixed with chopped fresh dill. Sliced cucumber with vinaigrette is a good side dish. (We’ll talk more about yogurt in my next blog.)
NEXT BLOG: Walking the Periphery: A Trip Through the Grocery Store–Part 3