Scrumptious Survival Suppers

Here's a list of food to have on hand when you're tired, or starving, or fresh out of ideas, but don't want to eat junk food. I found this list in a book I've been reading lately: Passionate Longevity: The 10 Secrets to Growing Younger, by Dr. Elaine Dembe. I've appreciated her suggestions so much that I thought you might find it helpful as well.

From her ideas you really can create some scrumptious survival suppers that answer the call of hunger and at the same time maintain your desire to eat healthy.

QUICK PASTA: Always have fresh pasta on hand-the kind that comes sealed in a tray or bag so it keeps for about a month in the refrigerator. It will cook in only 1 or 2 minutes. To partner with it, be sure to have broccoli florets in your crisper (which also cook in 1 or 2 minutes minutes).

And in your cupboard you'll want tomato sauce and tuna. So in about 5 minutes you can sit down to a meal of quick pasta with tuna, broccoli and tomato sauce, all topped with Parmesan cheese.

EASY SALADS: Have you noticed what a chore it is to wash and spin-dry lettuce when you're tired? So another item to always have on hand is a bag of pre-washed and dried lettuce or garden greens. You can easily toss this with an always-on-hand can of salmon or solid white tuna and other veggies such as cucumber, red pepper, celery, and carrots.

If you have plain yogurt in the fridge, then you can make a healthy dressing by mixing in black pepper, dill, lemon juice and some parsley.

PIZZA: If you have individual pizza crusts in the freezer and fresh cut-up veggies in the crisper, you can whip up a healthy supper in no time. I like to make up a batch of pizza crusts once a month and freeze them separately. And once a week I fill refrigerator keepers with cut-up vegetables.

Then on one of those nights that you're just too tired to put a lot of effort into a meal, defrost one of these crusts and decorate with spaghetti sauce (or simple tomato sauce), red pepper, zucchini, snow peas, broccoli, baby spinach leaves, sliced onion, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, or any other vegetable you like.

Add grated mozzarella, Parmesan or another cheese you have on hand. Bake at 425 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes.

COOKED RICE: Always good to have in the fridge. Top this with tuna or salmon and steamed vegetables. Pour a little low-sodium soy sauce over it and voila, dinner is served.

PLAIN YOGURT: This last suggestion is mine (not sure what Dr. Dembe would think of it). Plain yogurt can do so many things, that it's just smart to always have it in your refrigerator. Whether you use it to substitute for sour cream, add it to baked goods, or use it in place of cream cheese for frosting, it simply answers a lot of needs.

And when it comes to a simple, healthy, and easy "supper," try this: Blend plain yogurt with lots of fresh fruit, 1/4 cup of whole oats, 7 or 8 whole almonds, and 1 cup of baby spinach or other greens. This makes a protein-packed, fiber-loaded, vitamin-filled and satisfying meal with next to no effort at all.

I'm sure you savvy Cook'n cooks have other tricks up your sleeve for scrumptious survival suppers. Take a minute to share your thoughts...we love hearing from you!


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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