Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nutritious, Easy And Affordable Meals

(NAPSI)-To help keep rising food prices from taking a bigger bite out of your grocery budget, consider stocking up on inexpensive and nutritious staples. Foods like canned tomatoes, pasta sauces, paste, juice and salsa are not only versatile but offer important nutrients like vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber.

In addition to being a vegetable that even the pickiest of eaters like, tomato products are good partners with other healthy foods because they offer great flavor and texture. Right after being picked from the vine at peak ripeness, the tomatoes are cooked and sealed in containers. This heat processing seals in their full sun-ripened flavor and keeps them safe from salmonella and other food-borne pathogens. Plus the heating process provides an enhanced value of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fight disease.

For families looking to get the most from their food dollars, the Tomato Products Wellness Council offers some recipes for quick-and-easy family favorites. Each recipe can be prepared in three easy steps and costs less than $1.00 per serving.

Penny-Pinching Gazpacho

(serves 4)

This recipe uses canned diced tomatoes instead of fresh ones, which can cost more. Per serving, this recipe costs only $0.97, is just 132 calories and has more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

Ingredients

1 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes

2 cups of tomato juice, low sodium

½ medium cucumber, diced

½ medium green pepper, diced

½ cup medium onion, finely diced

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil Black pepper or hot sauce to taste

3-Step Prep

1. Combine all ingredients; mix thoroughly.

2. Refrigerate; serve cold.

3. If desired, top with croutons.

Cost-Conscious Chili Con Carne

(serves 8)

Using turkey instead of beef gives you a great, meaty taste for less cost. Per serving, this recipe costs only $0.95, is just 308 calories and has 45 percent of your daily dietary fiber needs.

Ingredients

1½ lbs. 93 percent lean ground turkey

1 40½-oz. can of kidney beans (1 large can)

1 18-oz. can of tomato paste

1 chopped onion

2 teaspoons chili powder

¾ cup water

3-Step Prep

1. Brown turkey in pot over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, then serve.

For more information and recipes, visit www.tomatowellness.com.

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