Since the day I became a Registered Dietitian I have heard one excuse more than any other – eating healthy costs too much money. When I began couponing and telling others about it, the main excuse I heard was, “I never get coupons for healthy food.” Y’all, both of these are just that – excuses! Eating healthfully on a budget is possible! When I make my grocery list each week, I start with the sales. I may not have a coupon for every sale item on that list, but by simply purchasing sale items, you will be saving money.
Please don’t discredit the nutritional value of a frozen (without sauce) fruits and vegetables, either. Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked and frozen when ripe and therefore often flavorful, and preparing foods for freezing is minimal processing. The frozen items that have sauces and flavoring can have quite a bit of added stuff that I try to avoid, so I just go for the straight-forward foods.
Today I’m going to share a recipe that I came up with to take advantage of the sales on the healthy foods in the frozen section. The simple, and goes-on-BOGO-sale-about-once-every-6-weeks, frozen pea. I know, I know, peas have a bad reputation. So many of us think of them as the mushy, tasteless, straight-out-of-a-can mash in the school cafeteria. I cannot think of anything more disgusting personally. However, a fresh pea is firm and sweet. Frozen peas still retain these characteristics and by sautéing with extra virgin olive oil (hello good source of omega-3 fat!) and onion, you draw out the sweetness and keep the crisp texture of the pea. I promise this dish is nothing like the peas you remember from childhood.
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt +1/4 tsp to taste during cooking
- 1/4 tsp black pepper +dash to taste during cooking
- 2.5 cups frozen sweet peas
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in skillet. Once oil is hot, add onions and toss with spoon to coat. Allow onions to cook 2-3 minutes and add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the onions start to soften. This about 3-5 additional minutes. Add frozen peas and sauté another 10-12 minutes, now over low heat until the peas are tender-crisp. Give a quick taste at this point.
You may want to add another dash or two of salt and a pepper. The additional salt will bring out the natural sweet flavor of the pea and the pepper will add a fun little kick to the onion. I always add this additional pinch of seasoning, but I know that taste is highly personal and some may not like it, so I encourage tasting before adding. Serve warm.
This quick and simple vegetable is a staple in my house. It is fast, healthy, tasty, and so easily fits into my frugal ways. Give it a try! I think you will be surprised.