Canned goods are often an undervalued source of food. However, canned foods have many advantages including:
o Long shelf life – canned goods can often be kept for months or even years.
o Large range of food items such as fruits, vegetables, soups, pasta, beans, lentils, fish, and ham, just to name a few!
o Quick meals and snacks – many canned goods are pre-cooked (like beans, tuna, lentils) and are ready to eat asis or can be quickly added to other foods to make complete meals.
o Affordable – canned foods are often more reasonably priced compared to their fresh versions.
[ DID YOU KNOW? Use the FIRST IN FIRST OUT (FIFO) principle with your canned goods. Remember to use your older cans before any new and to read the “Best Before Date” to ensure the best food safety practices. ]
Here are some tips to use when choosing canned foods:
· Pick canned fruit in juice or water over the syrup versions.
· Rinse your canned vegetables and legumes (like beans, lentils, chickpeas) with water and then drain them to reduce the amount of salt per serving.
· Avoid cans with dents, cracks, leaks or bulges as that may be a sign of botulism (a dangerous food poison.)
· Choose canned fish in water instead of oil.
· Pick “No Salt Added” or “Low Sodium” canned goods whenever possible.
· Refrigerate canned goods after opening; most products should be used within 2-3 days.
Coconut Chickpea Curry
1 tbsp oil (olive, canola, etc.)
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch fresh ginger peeled, minced or grated
1 tbsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/4 tsp salt
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, drain before using
1 14-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
1 16-oz. can cooked chickpeas; drain and rinse before using
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1) In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the red onion with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and starting to brown.
2) Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and ginger; stir and cook for 60 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in the garam masala, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cook for 30 seconds more to toast the spices.
3) Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir well. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3-5 minutes or until the tomatoes are starting to break down and dry up a little bit. Stir in the coconut milk and chickpeas. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.
4) Simmer the coconut chickpea curry for about 10 minutes or until reduced slightly. Stir in the fresh lime juice.
5) Serve hot, over rice or other accompaniments of choice, and garnished with chopped fresh cilantro.
Black Bean Pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 chipotle chile, finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 ounces penne pasta, cooked
Salt, to taste
1 cup cheese (Monterey jack, cheddar, etc.)
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1) Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion until tender, about 5 minutes.
2) Add the garlic and chipotle chili and cook for about 1 minute more.
3) Add tomatoes and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until it thickens a bit.
4) Add the beans and warm through. Salt to taste.
5) When penne is cooked, drain it and return it to its pan.
6) Add the sauce, cheese, and cilantro to the pasta and stir.
Creamy Canned Vegetable Soup
2 cans mixed vegetables, drained and rinsed
2 cans condensed cream of potato soup
1 can tomato soup
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cups water
1) In a large soup pot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil.
2) Stir and simmer soup for 1 hour over low heat.
3) Serve with some whole grains and a source of protein to make a complete meal.