The Green Grocer: Beyond TV dinners


It’s the Wednesday after a three-day weekend, and you’re finally starting to get back into the swing of things at work — but it’s been difficult, and you still don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight. Understandable, yet do you really want take-out again? And let’s face it, frozen pizza just doesn’t compare to the real thing.

The co-op to the rescue!

Here’s the deal: Nine times out of 10, cooking from scratch is going to give you a far better meal. That’s just the way it is. For those times you don’t feel like cooking, though, we’ve got you covered with the next best thing: Foods with minimal ingredients that require minimal prep on your part.

Here are our newest favorites for a main dish you just heat and serve:

• Niman Ranch pulled pork with barbecue sauce. This is a great alternative to an otherwise time-intensive dish.

• The Saucy Fish Co. herb-crusted Atlantic salmon with lemon butter sauce (or try Atlantic salmon with chili, lime and ginger sauce or smoked haddock with aged cheddar and chive sauce). You probably won’t believe me when I tell you that their sauces taste like something from a restaurant, so you’ll just have to try it for yourself. Since you cook these from frozen, though, trying it for yourself is a snap!

• Tucson Tamale black bean, corn and cheese tamales or green chile pork and cheese tamales. OK, these may be the exception to the idea that a home-cooked meal is always best. Every person I’ve served these tamales to has loved them and immediately asked me where I got them from.

When you are ready to start cooking again, make the salad featured below. It’s super easy, extremely refreshing, and stars as a side for dinner and lunch the next day.

Southwestern Bean Salad

Dressing ingredients

• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Salad ingredients

• 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (or two cups dried beans, soaked and cooked)
• 1 cup fresh or canned corn kernels
• 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
• 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
• 1/2 cup red onion, diced


In a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.

Add the vegetables to the dressing and toss until vegetables are evenly coated. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, mixing occasionally.

Before serving, adjust seasoning or lime juice as desired.


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