Fresh Fridays

July 25, 2014
Vol. VI No. 14

In This Issue
Do you think healthy eating and cooking require hours in the kitchen?

In survey after survey, consumers say the main barriers to healthy eating are time, expense, and lack of motivation and knowledge. We're here to knock down the time impediment, and give you tips that will help you make healthy, crowd-pleasing (and self-pleasing) meals in minutes. One bonus: often saving time means saving money.

Keep your pantry or cupboard stocked.  With a fully-stocked pantry or cupboard, it's a snap to make a Mediterranean meal in minutes. Make quick, affordable Mediterranean meals with basic Mediterranean staples, such as pasta, beans, olive oil, vinegar, whole grains, canned or dried tomatoes, nuts and peanuts, herbs and spices, potatoes and sweet potatoes, canned or pouched tuna or salmon, and chicken or vegetable soup stock. These nonperishable items can be purchased when they're on sale and then stored for those days when time is at a premium.

Be organized.  Restaurant chefs have to be organized. It's helpful for home cooks, too. Chefs call it mise en place, a French phrase which means "putting in place", as in set up. You'll happily find you can save time in the long run if you prep all ingredients -- or make your own mise en place -- before cooking. After meal clean-up can be minimized if you clean as you cook.  

Don't peel your produce.  The Mediterranean Diet features plenty of vegetables. You'll save time if you skip the peeling whenever possible.  Instead, wash produce thoroughly and get the extra fiber and nutrients in the skins.   

Canned and frozen.  Find healthy convenience foods, like canned beans, canned or pouched tuna, frozen vegetables or canned and jarred tomatoes, and use them as the base for a healthy Mediterranean meal. Match them with other ingredients such as whole grains, spices and herbs or marry a canned version with a frozen ingredient for an extra fast and healthy meal. Fresh isn't the only option.

Cook batches of whole grains ahead of time.  Whole grains are a perfect foundation for delicious Mediterranean meals. Pick your favorite whole grain(s), cook large batches and freeze for future Mediterranean meals. Oldways founder Dun Gifford's favorite quick dinner was a whole grain mixed with sautéed greens and a wide variety of spices and herbs.

Cook one thing and use it in many ways.  For example, roast a chicken on the weekend and use the meat in meals throughout the week: (1) sliced and served hot immediately after roasting; (2) topping a green salad for lunch the next day; (3) mixed with pasta or rice and a vegetable; or (4) make soup. Another example: grill several eggplants for a side dish, and transform the leftovers into fabulous pita sandwiches and the base for an eggplant main dish.

Make double batches and freeze.  You can save precious minutes at the end of a long work or school day if you take time on a weekend to make a Mediterranean soup or stew. Make a double batch and freeze in containers for future fast, healthy, delicious dinners.

Use leftovers to create new dishes.  Don't throw leftovers away!  Spruce up pasta or other whole grain bases with leftovers. Or, combine leftovers from several meals for a totally new Mediterranean dish!

Use time-saving equipment, such as crock pots and pressure cookers.  A crock pot is the slow-cooking way to make time-saving meals. Simply, start your slow-cooking crock pot before you leave home in the morning, and you'll come home in the evening to a ready-cooked meal. Alternatively, a pressure cooker can transform ingredients that usually take a long time to cook (like beans, rice and other whole grains) into table ready dishes (soups, stews, risotto) in a fraction of the time.   

Do you have other time-saving tips for quick and healthy Mediterranean meals? We'd love to hear from you. Send us an email. Also, try all five of these Mediterranean Meals in Minutes and let us know your favorite!

Click on the titles or photos below to link to the recipes.
This ultimate comfort food recipe takes only as long as it takes the spaghetti to cook, and can be modified to include other ingredients such as mushrooms or peppers or other spices. 

Recipe, content, and photo courtesy of Barilla and Academia Barilla.
The avocado from California adds a creamy touch to garden-fresh bruschetta, and is a perfect addition to any summer meal.

Recipe, content, and photo courtesy of the California Avocado Commission.
This is a light, refreshing, chilled soup that's very easy to make. Perfect for a hot summer day when you don't want to cook.

Recipe by Duskie Estes, owner and executive chef of ZAZU Restaurant + Farm, as well as Iron Chef contestant for the California Walnut Board. Content and photo courtesy of the California Walnut Board.
Simply grill potato planks (try russets, reds or yellows) for 10 minutes on each side. Then top them with your favorite Mediterranean mixtures, like a bruschetta topping. The possibilities with grilled potatoes are endless and definite crowd pleasers!
Recipe, photo, and content courtesy of US Potato Board.
A perfect combination of Mediterranean ingredients for a simple, quick and flavorful salad that brings to mind an image of eating with a view of the Mediterranean Sea.

Recipe courtesy of Mooney Farms. Content courtesy of Oldways. Photo:

Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be. 

To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:     

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)        





Let the old ways be your guide to good health and well-being.       



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March 15-22, 2015
Aegean Coast
and Istanbul
Join Ana Sortun and
Oldways in Turkey for
a week-long journey
from the Aegan coast
and on to Istanbul.

Contact Abby Sloane
at 617-896-4875
for more information.


Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe François
  In Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day, the authors show readers how to use their ingenious technique to make lightning-fast pizzas, flatbreads, and sweet and savory tarts from stored, no-knead dough.



by Lorna Sass
This award-winning book offers a mouthwatering array of extraordinary dishes that can be prepared in minutes, using a pressure cooker. Newly updated and revised for contemporary tastes and more efficient machines.


by Susie Middleton
Middleton shares her love of great-tasting veggies with a guide to stocking up the pantry, shopping for vegetables, and cooking those veggies in nine different ways. This book is uniquely organized by technique so that cooks can add new ways to cook veggies to their weeknight repertoires.

by Rozanne Gold
Throughout her culinary career, chef Gold has given much thought to the notions of simplicity and sophistication in cooking. Now, after years of experimentation, she has come to this conclusion: Simplicity is the art of combining a few essential ingredients with a minimum of effort in order to create food that neither looks or tastes like a shortcut; food that is authentic enough to serve with pride and savor with pleasure.

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