Ah, fast food.
Easy pleasure is the force that always sabotages your best intentions to eat well.
It’s amazing how easy and pleasurable that slice of pizza is . . . or that entire bag of cookies that disappears when you’re deeply engrossed in writing an article.
The best antidote is to have easy and pleasurable meals on hand that also nourish you. And over the year’s I’ve come up with quite a few of them.
Here’s the best part: Time is one of the ingredients I use sparingly.
Because as much as I love quality, carefully produced food. As much as we put in the hours and sweat to grow our vegetables here and raise our chickens, there are many days when time is just not on my side.
I remember interviewing one organic market gardener who ruefully confessed that at the height of the harvest season, she lived on BLT’s. After a full day in the field and at the market, it was easy and pleasurable.
So let me introduce you to one of my favorites for a pleasurable and nutrition-packed punch . . .
One of my favorite fast foods . . .
Now before you start backing up and getting ready to unsubscribe because the smell of fish is just too much, consider this. First of all, sardines aren’t as fishy tasting as you might think.
They’re actually kind of creamy and slightly sweet. And if you prepare them right, they are absolutely scrumptious. For years my kids carried around sardine sandwiches on field trips with their school – much to the morbid curiosity of their classmates.
(I remember one of my chaperonees watching us quietly and solemnly as we wolfed these sandwiches down)
But just as importantly they are probably one of the most overlooked super foods out there.
Here are a few sardine facts:
· Reports have it that 135-year old Charlie Smith (healthy, clear-minded with a wonderful memory) had been living on canned sardines and crackers for the last 30-40 years of his life.
· Canned sardines have the highest RNA content of any known food. Eating foods high in RNA provides your body with the materials to produce human nucleic acids. The breakdown of DNA and RNA in the cells is believed to be one of the main factors in aging and degenerative disease. Fresh sardines have 343 mg RNA/100 g and canned sardines have 590 mg/100 g. (Salmon only has 289 mg/100g)
· 4 oz. of canned sardines have more omega-3 fatty acids (1.8 g) than 4 oz. of fresh, cooked salmon (1.7 g). (Although canned salmon has 2.2 g.)
· Sardines are also rich sources of calcium and iron.
Now here’s how to put this nutritionally dense food to work for easy and pleasurable eating . . .
Favorite Sardine Recipe #1
Sardines, Kale and Spaghetti
This recipe combines not only the easy goodness of sardines but three other favorites:
Lots of garlic just does a body good with all its blood pressure lowering, immune boosting properties.
Kale is packed with all kinds of good stuff like calcium, vitamins A and C. It has at least 45 different flavonoids (special antioxidants) and loads of fiber. Best of all it’s a rich store of isothiocyanates, special compounds found in the cabbage family that seem to be powerful warriors in the fight against cancer.
I also happen to love kale because it’s great-tasting, grows wild in my garden and lasts until February. I can dig it out of the snow and it’s still fresh and crisp when I bring it in to cook.
And finally, for all you pasta lovers, the easy to make spaghetti. (I always make 3 boxes at a time. Once I have the water boiling might as well cook a bunch and use it in several different meals!)
I go for the whole grain, high protein versions so I won’t miss a nutrient when I lunch.
2 servings of cooked spaghetti (whole grain or high protein versions preferred)
4 leaves of kale, chopped with stems (the best part!)
2 cloves garlic, smushed and left on the counter for 15 minutes to let the good compounds in garlic activated
3 T olive oil
Hot pepper sauce (my favorite: scotch bonnet or habanero sauce)
1. Put the oil in the pan and add the garlic and kale. Careful not to heat the oil too much before adding the garlic since you don’t want to burn it.
2. When the kale is slightly wilted, add the spaghetti. Keep the heat at medium-low so the spaghetti doesn’t burn. Let the steam from the kale and oil soak into the spaghetti as it heats up.
3. Remove spaghetti and kale from the pan onto two plates. Open the sardines, drain them and place the contents on top of the pasta.
4. Grate some pecorinho cheese on top, sprinkle some pepper and hot sauce on too.
5. Dig in!
This meal will really fill you up with good stuff – and it’s delicious. I could eat it every day! And if the spaghetti’s cooked already, it literally takes 10 minutes to prepare.
Favorite Sardine Recipe #2
When my kids were young, I got concerned about the high mercury content in tuna and turned to sardines as an alternative. They both admit they don’t like the crunch of the bones (I do) but they ate plenty sandwiches made with this nonetheless.
This mash is terrific on some rice with a little sprouts. It makes a great sandwich, especially with a slice of just-picked tomatoes. You can even add a slice of mozzarella and toast this combo. YUM!
And (yes, I am a strange food experimenter) for some reason it tastes delicious on top of my favorite lentil soup recipe which I’ll share later.
2 cans sardines
1 dollop of mayonnaise
4-6 T chopped red onions
a little fresh parsley or chervil, minced
a dash of pepper
a dash of garlic powder
Mash up everything in a nice bowl. Mix it thoroughly and serve.
There, pretty simple – huh?
After preparing and tasting one of these meals – not to mention how good it makes you feel – you’ll understand why sardines are one of my favorite fast foods.
If you have a yen for seafood in general, you might want to check out some of these other fish recipes at Life As Mom.
Sarah Clachar created Your Healthy Home Biz based on her experience of building a natural health copywriting business at home. YHHB combines her wealth of knowledge as a health writer and researcher with that of being a home business owner. YHHB gives home business owners specific strategies, tips and inspiration on how to run your home business without running yourself into the ground. Get weekly tips sent right to your inbox plus the invaluable but free guide “The Easy Way To Sneak Exercise Into Your Workday And Get More Done” when you fill in the optin form on the right.