The winds have stopped howling and our basements are significantly less soggy than 12 hours ago. Facebook statuses have returned to random personal updates and twitter no longer looks like a CNN breaking news feed. Everything is basically back to normal. Except one thing. That HUGE arsenal of food you stockpiled in the panic room. If your pantry looks like Costco on stocking day Food Advocate Karen Nudelman’s here to help.
You do not, I repeat, do not have to host a party every weekend for the next month to get rid of the mixed nuts and Oreos. And believe me; no one wants your spam. (Really? Spam? Did you think that one through?)There’s nothing wrong with snacking in moderation. Most health minded people will agree that the occasional portion sized bowl of potato chips is good for the soul. The buy one, get one free 24 pack of portion sized potato chips? Um…not so much. Think of this as the Halloween of doomsday events. You don’t eat your Snickers bars all in one night…you carefully dole them out over time so you don’t wind up having root canal. So, with that in mind, let me offer a few suggestions for stretching it out:
Ramen Noodles: College kids love them, twenty-somethings eat them to afford their tiny apartments, but we can amp up the flavor and nutritional value of these heat and eat treats. Toss the flavor packet (it’s too high in sodium anyway), and cook the noodles in boiling water. Watch them carefully, I bet they
will cook in no time at all. Drain them and set aside. In a sauté pan on medium heat, add ½ tablespoon of canola oil. After it’s hot, add a diced scallion (green onion) & 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger. After a minute, add 1 diced carrot & 1 diced pepper (or julienne them if you’d like!) Cook until softened. Take
the cooked ramen noodles and add them to the pan. Heat them for 2-3 minutes, and then take the pan off the burner. While off the heat, add 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil.
Boxed brownie mix: A really cool way to make this dessert with a twist is to replace the egg & oil the instructions call for and exchange it for a 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree. Not pumpkin pie puree, just plain pumpkin. I know, it sounds weird. If I didn’t try this myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. Take the instant
batter and mix that pumpkin right in. Add nothing else. Then, bake as instructed. Don’t expect your normal brownie, expect something different and special.
Doritos, Nachos & Chips: This is a great opportunity to turn mindless snacking into mindful eating. The chips become the vehicle for getting the good stuff in. In a large pan, heat ½ tablespoon of canola oil and add 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. When onions soften, add 2 diced peppers (a
green and a red) and 1 diced zucchini. Season with ½ teaspoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Open a 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes and add them, as well as 15 oz. can of black beans (rinse well first). Add any fresh herbs you like (cilantro or mint might be good!) After the mixture is cooked through, place in a bowl, sprinkle some shredded cheese and use it as a dip.
For more ideas on transforming your stockpile of doomsday food, check out Karen’s other recipes and more on Cooking with Karen.