NYS Certified Nutritionist

Raiding the Cabinet to Whip up a Nutritious Dinner

Some of us are in our 8th week of isolation, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. I have taken it as a personal challenge to create simple, nutritious meals, using staples I normally keep in my kitchen. These meals have a bonus, as they are inexpensive, and can be made in quantity so I can freeze the leftovers in labeled zip lock bags for future use.

Last night’s dinner was a hearty bowl of black bean soup, yet another half-scratch creation. I started with the contents of two cans of an organic black bean soup in my saucepan. To the soup I added a can of reduced sodium sliced carrots with the juice , a can of rinsed/drained black beans, 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, and a heaping cup of frozen corn kernels. As I heated the mixture, I added seasonings: ground cumin, cocoa powder, Moroccan spice blend, roasted garlic powder, chili powder, and reduced sodium soy sauce, adding a complexity salt lacks…adjusting the seasonings as it cooked.

I simmered the soup, covered, on a low heat for at least 2 hours, adding a bit of water if it became too thick, and stirring to prevent sticking. The soup contained all I needed for a well balanced dish, knowing I could serve it over rice, atop a sweet potato, or with a whole grain bread. Instead, I hunted in my kitchen cabinet, and found a can of store-brand, thinly sliced potatoes in fluid. The entire contents of the can contained 160 calories.

Preheating the oven to 425 degrees, selecting the convection option, I placed a sheet of heavy foil on a large cookie sheet, and sprayed it with canola oil. I drained the potato slices, and shook them in a large baggy with a rounded tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1/4 tsp. of salt and some black pepper until the slices were coated. I placed the white slices on the prepared cookie sheet, and lightly sprayed them with the baking spray. Within about 40 minutes or so, the slices had begun to caramelize, losing their excess moisture. When they achieved the right color, I placed them on a plate.

My dinner was a steaming, fragrant bowl of exotic black bean soup, served with oven fried potato slices- crunchy and chewy, and dipped in my favorite ketchup. Yum!

I hope I have inspired you to create your own unique, satisfying, and nutritious meals from the treasures you always have in your own kitchen. Stay home, and stay safe.

Dateline: Latham, Albany County, New York