Refrigerator Secrets from Kathleen Zelman (cont.)

These weekly menu plans take into account market specials promoted in the weekly advertising circulars, creative use of leftovers, and ingredients I have on hand. For example, I love the roasted chicken sold at my grocer's. We'll eat it hot with healthy side dishes one night, then use the leftover meat for an entree salad with greens and veggies the next night.

Planning ahead ensures that I have all the ingredients I need on hand and takes the guesswork out of what to have each night.

Keep It Safe and Clean

You will definitely find thermometers in all compartments of my refrigerator to ensure safe temperatures. If you don't already have one, I highly recommend purchasing a thermometer that can be easily hung from a wire shelf or attached to the side wall, and is visible when you open the compartment doors.

Be sure to keep your refrigerator and freezer clean, by wiping up spills and debris whenever they happen. This will minimize bacterial contamination to fresh food. Once a week, wipe the interior down with a mild bleach solution to keep it sanitized.

And to help keep things yummy, here's an easy recipe for the veggie-lover's summer standby, gazpacho.

Easy, Super Nutritious and Low-Calorie Gazpacho

1 64-oz. container low-sodium tomato juice
1 64-oz. container spicy (or not) vegetable juice
2 12-oz. cans low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Juice of 2 fresh lemons and 1 fresh lime
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
3 large seedless cucumbers, finely chopped
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
Optional: Avocado and light sour cream for garnish

  • Chop all vegetables by hand or pulse in a food processor.
  • Mix all ingredients together except garnish and chill several hours.
  • Serve cold with or without a little chopped avocado and a tablespoon of light sour cream as a garnish.

Yield: 12 servings

Per serving: 100 calories, 4.5 g protein, 18.5 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g fat, 0.1 g saturated fat, 2.8 g fiber, 512 mg sodium.

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