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December 19, 2018

5/4/2018 1:09:00 PM
Going light on sodium this week

Today’s column is about health issues that many of us deal with when preparing meals. One is the sodium that is included in so many, many of the foods we eat. Canned foods are loaded with sodium. Did you know or have you noticed the middle and frozen sections of grocery stores have a lot of  food products with a huge amount of sodium listed on the package?  A dietician we recently spoke with tells us to shop the outside aisles first for fresh fruits, veggies  meats, ice cream and whatever else is fresh. Read the nutritional values on canned and boxed   food. I’m not suggesting that you not buy any of the high in sodium foods. It’s completely up to you. Many cooking instructions on the packaging tell us to add salt to the water before cooking but I don’t follow that. A relative of ours, who is a dietician, would say if you don’t salt your food you will have the true flavor of it. I know that some salt enhances the flavor but don’t overload on it. Try not having a salt shaker on the table. That probably wouldn’t fly! You could do what one of our daughters has done. She plugged 2 of the 4 holes on the shaker with glue. Her husband never knew the difference as he sprinkled the salt over his food.

Be sure you check with your doctor and/or dietitian concerning your diet.

And so I have recipes that have lower sodium in the ingredients.


Low Sodium Beef and Rice
1-1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 T. olive or canola oil
1/2 c. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-6 oz. each cans low-sodium V-8 or tomato juice
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 t. Italian seasoning
1 t. sugar
 2 t. red wine vinegar (cider vinegar can be used)
1/2 t to 3/4 t. hot pepper sauce
Salt substitute to taste – optional
1/2 c. diced green or sweet red pepper
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1-1/2  T. cornstarch
3 T. water
3 c. hot cooked rice (1 c. uncooked)

Cook beef, onion and garlic in oil in a Dutch oven or large sauce pan over medium – high heat until meat is no longer pink. Stir to crumble meat; pour off fat.  Add next 8 ingredients. Add to beef mixture. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Over medium heat stir in  mushrooms; cook 5 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water, stirring until smooth. Add to beef mixture stirring until sauce is thickened and veggies  are tender. Serve over rice.   Makes 6 servings.  73 mg. sodium per serving. Note: Many recipes call for a very small amount of seasoning, as in 1/8 tsp. A good way to season food at the table especially when using salt is to put a small amount of salt in the palm of your hand. With the other hand take out a pinch or two and sprinkle onto your food.


Chicken Paprika
3 lb. chicken cut into serving pieces, skinned, or 6 chicken breast halves
2 T. olive or canola oil
1 T. lemon juice
3/4 t. paprika
1/4 t. each, pepper and tarragon leaves, crushed

Place chicken pieces in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan lined with foil. Brush lightly with oil. Sprinkle with lemon juice, paprika, pepper and tarragon. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until tender. Makes 4-6 servings.  Three ounces cooked weight equals 63 mg. sodium per serving. For  tarragon leaves, crush a small amount in the palm of your hand, measuring out the 1/4 t. you need. If adding more than 1/8 or 1/4 tsp. dried leaves , no need to crush.


Low Sodium Spaghetti Sauce
 1/2 c. finely diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive or canola oil
1/2 c. finely diced carrots
1/4 c. finely diced celery
1 t. crushed oregano leaves
1 t. crushed basil
1/4 t. pepper
2 – 8 oz. cans, no salt added, tomato sauce (Hunt’s makes no salt added sauce)
1 - 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes, or 2 c. home made  with liquid

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, sauté onion and garlic in oil. Add onions; sauté until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, oregano, basil and pepper. Cook Stir in tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes, breaking tomatoes with a spoon. Simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Makes about 1 quart or 4-6 servings of sauce.  125 mg  of sodium per 4 servings.

Note: I have a couple of tips for you that I use often: When spaghetti sauce is about ready to serve, combine 1 level tsp. cornstarch with about 1 Tblsp. water, mixing until smooth. Add to spaghetti sauce; cook for 1 minute stirring constantly until slightly thickened. This will keep the sauce from being watery on your plate. You can add cooked ground beef and/or  sliced pepperoni or sauted mushrooms if you wish. Also, when cutting canned stewed or whole tomatoes I use a scissor to cut them, right in the can or jar, before adding to the sauce. Works great!

Thought for the Day: Diet—something to take the starch out of you. 

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