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Archive for August, 2009

burrito 003

A few weeks ago I linked to an article that discussed the food-borne illnesses that seem to have cropped up from eating frozen pot pies. Today I want to talk about my philosophy on frozen dinners and the place they can have in your home meal repertoire.

I can understand the urge to buy a frozen pot pie. I just made a pot pie myself a few weeks ago, and it’s not 30-minute dinner. It’s about a three-hour process, all told, although one of those hours is baking and cooling. Nor am I immune to buying frozen dinners. Actually, I think frozen dinners can be a healthy part of an overall home-cooking strategy that keeps you out of more-expensive sit-down restaurants. I do, however restrict myself to one brand: Amy’s.

In the article on frozen food safety, Amy’s was the only company that took pains to guarantee its ingredients’ safety and go on the record as doing so. And all of their products I have tried have been, in my opinion, uniformly healthy and delicious. They use high fiber and whole wheat ingredients when possible, and make sure to include plenty of protein and veggies. I’ve tried two paneer-based (homemade cheese) indian curries, an indian samosa, a frozen pizza, and am about to try the afore-pictured burrito. They’ve all been excellent — even better than average restaurant quality.

Now I know what you’re thinking: why should I pay extra for organic frozen dinners? Let me turn that question around on you. Is $2 really too much to pay for an occasional frozen burrito? $4 for a nice Indian meal? Think about how much they’d cost in a restaurant and probably not be nearly as good for you.

Besides, we’ve already established that frozen dinners should be an exceptional indulgence, not the rule (which, coincidentally, is how I also view meat . . . ). I eat a frozen dinner a few times a month, at most. There are fast ways to get fresh food on the table, and we’ll be talking about that here. But for nights or days when there is just no other way (you can’t cook (Plan A), and you’ve run out of leftovers and your own frozen provender (Plan B)), wait till you find Amy’s on sale at the store and stash some in your freezer (Plan C). You’ll be glad you did.

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When you’re cheap like me, it’s easy to have your honey go to sugar during the winter because your place gets too cold (I’ll go as low as 65F, and my sister has a friend who keeps her house at a spartan 60F).

Honey never spoils, so that’s easy (if a bit time-consuming) to correct: just put the honey in a hot water bath and heat and stir until it becomes clear.

However, there’s an even better solution. Keep your honey in clear or opaque containers, and set it in a south or west facing windowsill that gets plenty of sun. The beautiful amber color will warm your home, while the sun warms your honey every day and keeps it liquid as long as possible.

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