Friday, April 17, 2009

Organic Panic

I often get emails in my inbox from family and friends and friends of friends or family...
What should I feed my toddler? What could I pack for lunches? What are healthy snacks?
You get the idea. They are all looking for advice or nutrition counsel.

Here's the most recent request from my second cousin:
"I have a friend who is due to have a baby. Some friends and I are trying to make them some meals that they can have in their freezer for after the baby is born. The wife only eats organic. We thought some soups might be nice--any other ideas, Nora?"

This is a difficult request because for most of us, we do not keep an organic kitchen, much less an organic pantry. Here's what I told her for her non-organic friends to try to make:

-organic pasta dishes made with multigrain pastas because they freeze better...any "baked ziti" type recipe will work here with sauce, meat and cheese-- organic ground beef in smaller packages is cheaper, and the sauce can be purchased as a unit. Same goes for mozzarella cheese.
Don't worry about spices and herbs or garlic or olive oil not being organic.

-soups are great too...but remember that organic broths are more expensive and I think Costco has a pack of organic chicken broths that would serve well here. An easy chicken soup can be made with an organic store roasted chicken (try Whole Foods). Check here for my recipe.

- muffins are a great addition to the meals-- they can be frozen fully cooked. All my postpartum friends love muffins as an easy healthy snack. Try for an organic pancake or muffin mix and then add your own mix-ins. It can be difficult if you don't buy organic eggs and milk but they can be bought in smaller quantities.

-marinate an organic steak in some olive oil/rosemary/garlic in a ziploc bag and then they can just grill or freeze it. This plus a bag of organic salad would be an easy and great meal.

-Jumbo organic baked potatoes with purchased toppings like cheese, green onions-- even include this with:

- organic chili since all the ingredients can be bought in cans, this is an easy way to make sure it is all organic plus the organic ground beef can be cheaper than all the other organic meats.

- one of my favorite is Lentil casserole which would be very easy to make organic and it is super cheap...for the recipe visit here.

- Leftover grilled salmon (just buy wild cohoe salmon-- don't bother with organic here) with steamed green beans (easy to buy the frozen organic package) with a rice pilaf (again, easy to buy the organic quick-cook package). I cook extra of this meal and freeze a few for Travis' lunches.

-Chicken pot pie-- this is easy when you combine packages of frozen organic mixed vegetables with an organic cream of chicken can of organic soup plus a small package of organic chicken breast boiled and cut into chunks and then put it into a premade organic frozen crust. Usually the frozen crusts come in packs of two so just use the other frozen crust to form the top crust. The whole thing can then be frozen.

-Mexican meals like burritos can be easy because you can buy organic canned beans, tortillas, cheese and then a quick pack of rice and your in the game... a homemade salsa can be organic with the quick salsa recipe and a bag of organic chips. The frozen burrito thing is great too because it helps with lunches as well.

Hope this helps Annette!

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