Caring for our family and others includes finding ways to give them good nutritional meals and that can be a challenge. What are you to do when they will only eat familiar vegetables from childhood: green beans, peas, corn and potatoes? Green beans were often cooked in bacon grease and laden with bacon pieces. Peas and potatoes may have been swimming in a rich, creamy white sauce and butter. Take away the sauces and you are left with a plain dish that can get old quickly.
Let’s face it, vegetables from the can night after night can be boring at best and not all that nutritious. Personally, I prefer frozen or fresh vegetables; however, time constraints and budget often pull me to the pantry to grab a canned vegetable to heat quickly for dinner. Here are a couple of ways dress up those plain vegetables without adding a lot of calories and fats.
GREEN BEANS ITALIAN STYLE
Drain and rinse two cans of green beans; stir in one can of chopped Italian tomatoes; heat thoroughly and serve.
Now that was easy, wasn’t it? Experiment with other additions and you’ll be surprised at how a plain ole can of green beans will look more appealing and taste great.
For a more festive meal; try replacing the traditional calorie-laden green bean casserole with this recipe.
FESTIVE VEGGIE CUPS
Drain two cans of green beans, rinse, and heat in skillet with small amount of olive oil. Season to taste — experiment with basil, dill or other herbs.
Trim crusts from eight slices of whole grain bread, lightly butter. Carefully push center of bread slices down into a muffin tin. This will form a pocket with four corners sticking out. Toast slightly in oven. Scoop a couple of spoons of warmed green beans and top with pimento, slivered almonds, chopped onion, a sprinkle of grated cheese or Parmesan, or a dollop of sour cream.
Many homemakers are planning their meals around what the market has in their sales ads this week. Often you can find even the low-sodium and low-sugar items on sale as well. When you do, stock up on those. If not, most vegetables can be rinsed before heating or adding to a recipe without losing flavor. The key is to find nutritious foods that will actually be eaten.
Bottom line: be brave, experiment. Do all you can to make mealtime a special time with your family as you enjoy the bounty God has provided. Let me hear from you with your ideas. Enjoy!
Susie Kinslow Adams