From The Nutritionist

Anita Shaffer
Author:
Anita Shaffer, RD

Pressed for Time, But Want to Eat Healthier? Go for Fast Food!

If you’re super busy (and who isn’t these days), and you need a quick and easy meal for you or your family, fast food and take-out can be tempting solutions. But with a little planning ahead, and keeping the right foods on hand in your refrigerator and pantry, you can put together a healthy meal in about the same time it takes you to scoot through the drive-through. Taking a few minutes to prepare quick and healthy meals yourself more often can give you more control over what you and your family are eating, save you money, and be a wonderful way to share time with family and friends.

Get a game plan. Taking a few minutes once a week to plan ahead for a week’s worth of meals can pay off later. Sketch a quick menu for dinners for the upcoming week, write a grocery list for what you’ll need, and make one trip to the store to get the goods.

Stock up on foods that are quick to fix. Pre-washed and cut lettuce salad blends, cherry or grape tomatoes, pre-shredded or cut carrots, broccoli florets, tipped green beans, and snow peas are convenient to throw together a salad, and these no-waste forms of vegetables can be quickly steamed, sauteed, or dipped into reduced fat dressings or dips. Chunk light tuna in water, canned beans, grilled chicken breast strips, 98% fat free ham are ready to go lean proteins you can use to top salads. Raw chicken breast tenders, beef stir-fry strips, thin boneless pork chops, and frozen peeled shrimp (just rinse under cold running water for a minute or two to quickly thaw) can be quickly sauteed or grilled. Eggs are a high protein powerhouse and cook up in little time. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain corn or flour tortillas, and whole wheat rolls and bread are quick, versatile foods that are full of fiber to help keep you feeling full.

When it comes to convenient foods you can use to prepare fast, nutritious, and satisfying meals, Campbell can help. Below are some of my personal favorite time-saving Campbell’s products, and how I’ve used them to create quick, crowd-pleasing balanced meals for my own family of five after a busy day of work, errands, chauffeuring my kids, and whatever else my crazy schedule includes.


Product Picks Benefits Quick as a flash entree suggestions Super speedy side dish suggestions
Prego® Heart Smart™ Italian sauces- Traditional, Mushroom, Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic, Ricotta Parmesan
  • Provide 40% of daily vegetables*
  • Low in fat and saturated fat
  • Product certified by the American Heart Association**
  • Sauté extra lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken in a skillet. Drain off any fat, add a jar of sauce, and heat until bubbly. Serve over hot cooked whole wheat pasta.
  • Boil the water and cook the pasta while you’re fixing the sauce. Both will be ready at the same time in about 15 minutes.
  • Side salad: Toss some pre-cut, pre-washed lettuce salad mix with some grape tomatoes, olive oil, and red wine vinegar
  • Bolthouse Farms® Baby Cut carrots or Fresh Crinkle Cut Carrot Chips, pre-cut broccoli florets, or cucumber slices with Bolthouse® creamy yogurt or vinaigrette dressings
  • Your favorite variety of steam in the bag frozen vegetables, cooked in the microwave- season with salt-free herb/spice blends and a little olive or canola oil to boost the flavor
  • Sliced fresh fruit, like oranges, apples, pears, banana or melon
  • Berries that are ready to rinse and eat, such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
Campbell’s® Healthy Request® Chunky™ Soups
  • Low in fat and saturated fat
  • Product certified by the American Heart Association**
  • Can be combined with fast cooking whole grains for a satisfying main dish (see suggestions at right)
Try these soup varieties over these quick-cooking whole grains for a meal that’s ready in less than 10 minutes:
  • Grilled Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Hearty Bean & Ham with Natural Smoke Flavor, Split Pea with Ham, or Sirloin Burger with Country Vegetable Soup over instant brown rice
  • Old Fashioned Vegetable Beef, Roasted Chicken with Country Vegetables or Beef with Country Vegetables over whole wheat elbow macaroni or whole wheat couscous
  • New England Clam Chowder, Chicken Corn Chowder or Chicken Noodle over whole wheat biscuits
Campbell’s® Skillet Sauces
  • Use to cook a flavorful dish on your stove top with just 3 easy steps, in only 15 minutes
  • Pair any one of the varieties - Marsala with Mushrooms and Garlic, Creamy Chipotle with Roasted Corn and Black Beans, Fire Roasted Tomato with Red Bell Peppers and Chilies, Scampi with White Wine and Garlic, Thai Green Curry with Lemongrass and Basil or Toasted Sesame with Garlic and Ginger- with the protein suggestion on the package
  • Serve over instant brown rice, whole wheat couscous, or whole wheat noodles
Campbell’s® Slow Cooker Sauces
  • Take a few minutes the night before or in the morning to combine a few simple ingredients in your slow cooker with these great tasting sauces, and your evening meal is ready to eat when you get home
  • Varieties include Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork, Beef Stew, Buffalo Chicken, Hawaiian Pork, Mexican Shredded Beef, Moroccan Lemon Chicken, Shredded Beef Taco, Southern BBQ, Sweet Korean BBQ, and Tavern Style Pot Roast
  • Team up with instant brown rice, whole wheat couscous, or whole wheat noodles, or a whole wheat roll or biscuit

*Each 1/2 cup serving of sauce provides 1 cup equivalent of vegetables. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2½ cups of a variety of vegetables per day for a 2,000 calorie diet.

**While many factors affect heart disease, diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. Please note that the Heart-Check Food Certification does not apply to recipes or information reached through links unless expressly stated.


Eat well my fast-paced friends, and remember to take the time to enjoy your quick and easy meals and the good company you share them with!

-Anita


Anita’s Bio:

Anita has over 25 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian. She received her Bachelor of Nutrition Science degree from Drexel University and completed her clinical dietetics training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. Her diverse professional experience in the food service industry includes clinical nutrition practice and management, nutrition education program development, food services systems management, and recipe and menu development for healthcare and school food service operations. At Campbell, Anita is the Senior Nutritionist supporting the Campbell Away From Home Division. She collaborates with the Campbell foodservice team to develop and promote innovative products and menu solutions that provide balanced nutrition for food service operators in commercial and non-commercial settings.

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.