While I would love and adore to buy everything organic, local, and all that jazz…it is simply not feasible (for me) for a lot of reasons. Accessibility and cost being the main barriers. It’s also not feasible because I would have a husband ready to go ballistic over my spending and… well, I just don’t have $700 a month to spend on food…for 2. And if I did, I don’t know that spending all that money on food is how I would LIKE to spend such large amounts of money. I like vacations and shoes far too much for that… 😉
Now some of you are probably thinking, “But you’re a dietitian and you are what you eat.” And I agree with that statement entirely. However, I still think shopping smart is something I am not only learning how to do more effectively, but I feel it’s making me a better practitioner in the process. Generally speaking, people do not have unlimited, or even plentiful funds for which to buy groceries. As much as I like rare cheeses and to support organics, I have to prioritize where my money is spent. And I try to do my best with my garden and shopping locally and organic, when possible…especially when it comes to meat and dairy. Keeping my grocery costs within a budget (albeit pretty flexible) is important to me as a consumer, and as a practitioner.
Now might be a good time to mention the updated “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists. Here’s a great way to prioritize where to and where not to spend your money on organic produce:
- Dirty Dozen: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, bell peppers, potatoes, blueberry, lettuce, kale/collard greens.
- Clean 15: onions, corn, pineapple, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, mushrooms
Back to the recipe. Not only did it catch my eye because it contained some of my most favorite foods, but it struck me as a quick, easy, healthy, and cheap meal. And that…it was 🙂 I dare say this was one of the best meals we’ve had in awhile, and it really does accomplish so much with flavor, hands-on time, and cost. Oh, and one-bowl clean-up, too!
4 4-ounce white fish fillets, such as tilapia
salt and pepper, to taste
4 Tbsp Smart Balance Light, softened
2 Tbsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups corn kernels
1/2 red onion, minced
2 scallions, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat to 450 degrees
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix together the butter, 1 teaspoon chipotle, orange zest, half the garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl until well-combined. Spread butter mixture over the fish.
Combine the beans, corn, onion, scallions, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, orange juice, remaining chipotle, remaining garlic, scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.
Lay four 14-inch lengths of foil on the counter and divide the bean mixture evenly over the lower half of each piece of foil. Top with fish, and fold the foil over the fish, folding the edges to seal.
Arrange the packets in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the fish is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully open the packets and sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve. Yield: 4 servings.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 327 calories; 8.3 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 551 mg. sodium; 35.8 g. carbohydrate; 10.3 g. fiber; 32.5 g. protein
Result: So, I found the perfect meal…and this is it! Not only is it delicious (really, really, really, delicious)…but it’s also uber healthy — carb-controlled, low in sodium (for a meal), high in lean protein, and packed with fiber! It’s also cost effective…and creates just one dirty bowl leaving very little clean-up! 😀
Money Matters: The most expensive ingredient was the tilapia which was on sale for $3.99/lb. Navel oranges were $0.50 and the not-quite in-season corn was $0.98 for the 2 ears that I used. The can of beans was $1.19 and the rest accounted for small additions to the total. The meal total was $8.29 for 4 servings, equaling $2.07/serving!
Cost savings tip! I use a LOT of chipotles in adobo sauce in my cooking! While these flavor-packed peppers are commonly found in the ethnic aisle of any grocery store, you often use a very small portion of the can. Don’t throw out the leftovers — freeze a pepper or two (with sauce) in an individual ziplock and pull them out as you use them!
This is the first of several new recipes I am including in a second round of a “Money Matters” series. I hope you guys enjoy!
I slept like a baby after a 9pm workout last night. I have been busy prepping for this weekend when we will be hosting about 18 guests. Until last night, I hadn’t worked out since the duathlon on Sunday and my body was feeling sore and achy from the lack of movement. I could tell my sleep patterns have been messed up, as well. Exercise…it does the body good!!
And hallelujah! It is FINALLY Friday! I’ve been thinking it was Friday since Wednesday morning and alas, it is here 😀
Question: What do you buy organic, if anything?