Friday, February 9, 2007

Spice Up Your Life

Lately Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones frozen meals have been staples in my meal plan due to my extremely busy schedule. Healthy or "diet" foods often carry the reputation of being bland; and, if you are like me, you can not STAND tasteless food. I firnly believe that eating should be about sustenance, health, and taste.

One way I make sure I get my taste fix and stick to my weight loss plan is to arm myself with spices. Today at lunch my supervisor sat staring at his Lean Cuisine Lemongrass Chicken, which everyone agreed is one of the best of the variety. I suggested that he add some Thai Curry Paste to make it palatable. I thouht this would be a great tip to share with you. Here are my tips to spicing up your low-fat frozen meals (and other dishes as well):


Mexican (you aren't likely to find any other cuisine frozen meals) - My favorite is Desperate Dan's Chipotle Hot Sauce. I found it in a wine/gourmet food shot when I put it on a bland veggie pizza and WHOA! This sauce is all natural and made right her in Baltimore. It is simply THE best hot sauce I have ever tasted in life, but I don't recommend it to those who don't like spicy foods. Other options: cilantro, adobo seasonings.


Fresh herbs make everything taste better (I have a rosemary plant in my kitchen). However, many people shy away from fresh herbs because they can be expensive and have a short shelf life. Recently, I have fallen in LOVE with Gourmet Garden. These herbs in a tube can give you a fresher flavor than the dried variety and they have a long shelf life. For Italian dishes try rosemary which adds a deep mellow flavor to a meal. Basil and parsley add a kick and don't forget the Italian staple --oregano! I also like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar that adds a depth and sometimes "meaty" flavor. Experiment with the different flavors.

East Asian

Thai - Thai Curry Paste is available in Whole Foods and most grocery stores. This paste is very spicy and a little goes a long way. Fish Sauce and cilantro are great as well.

Indian - Buy some garam masala, a spice used in a lot of Indian cooking, and sprinkle a little on your meal.

Browse your local Asian market for goodies like sweet chilli sauce and different varieties of soy sauce.


Any meal can benefit from a little salt and pepper. Invest in some Kosher Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper. You can buy some peppercorns (there are MANY different varieties, and invest in a grinder/spice mill. McCormick also has mini grinders available in the $3 - $4 range that have black peppercorns, peppercorn medleys, and combine peppercorns with other seasonings such as sea salt and garlic.

The point is to EXPERIMENT!

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