With another hard winter forecast, the meals you and your family eat can go a long way toward keeping everyone healthy.
This winter, think hearty comfort food. Search online for “cold weather comfort food recipes” — you’ll find thousands of them. Lean toward casseroles (one dish, little cleanup), meatloaf, pot roast (another one-dish meal), Italian dishes such as baked ziti or spaghetti, pot pies, chili and stews, beans and chowders.
The benefit of comfort meals is that they elevate the mood on cold, gloomy days, and if your larder is stocked with the ingredients, it keeps you from going out in the cold or wet weather, or battling for the last loaf of bread in the store if a storm is coming.
Stocking up means planning, however. That’s where understanding some of the psychology of grocery stores comes in handy. Have you noticed that the dairy case is usually in the back corner of the store? Milk is one of the most frequently purchased items, so by putting it far from the front door, customers are forced to walk past thousands of items on the way to the milk. The store hopes you’ll put extra items in your basket. Therefore, shop from a list … with a little wiggle room. Be ready to take advantage of a genuine bargain if you spot one, but know that the weekly sales ads touting bargains might not be any cheaper than the price you usually pay.
Basics to keep on hand: pasta of all types, tuna, cheeses, jar spaghetti sauce, eggs, jar gravies, mix, powdered milk, potatoes, rice and canned soups.
If you’re stuck for something different, go online to allrecipes.com and search for recipes by ingredients. You list what you have on hand, and you’ll find recipes for all meals during the day that you can make without another trip to the store. Also see the meal planners that will generate a shopping list for you.
Another good site is www.supercook.com, with a list of basics down the left side. Click the items you have on hand, and it also will show you dozens of recipes you can make with those ingredients. The more ingredients you can click, the most recipes you’ll be shown. Hint: click your meal, such as breakfast or dinner, first so you’ll be given the appropriate list of ingredients.
BY David Uffington
(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.