10-Minute (Max!) Meals from Canned & Dry/Packaged Foods

Got a can opener? You have practically everything you need to create fast and healthy fare! Contrary to popular belief, canned vegetables easily can be as nutritious as (if not more than) their fresh counterparts. Plus canned foods are processed immediately after harvest, so very few nutrients are lost. On the other hand, fresh produce that sits on the supermarket shelves for a while can lose a significant amount of nutrients.

If you're watching your sodium intake, rinse all canned products (beans, vegetables) before using -- you can easily wash away excess salt. Even better, start with reduced-sodium canned foods.

Dry, packaged goods like prepackaged grains, pastas, breads and pitas make meal preparation quick and easy, while exotic spices and flavored oils turn ordinary dishes into tasty ethnic cuisine.

While many canned and dry, packaged goods are meals in themselves, you can also use them to add flavor, nutrients and texture to everything from omelets and sandwiches to soups and stews. Here are two hearty, filling and lowfat recipes that go from can to plate in 10 minutes or less, plus a shopping list of everything you need to make them.

Shopping list for canned and dry/packaged goods recipes

Super Speedy Pasta and Bean Soup

Canned goods/quick-cook dry-packaged aisle

- 5 (14.5-ounce) cans low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

- 15-ounce can cut green beans

- 11-ounce can white corn

- 15-ounce can black or white beans

- 2 (6-ounce) cans chicken (Booster)

- 2 (6-ounce) cans small shrimp (Booster)

- 16-ounce box alphabet pasta (or any small pasta)

Mandarin Orange and Pineapple Parfait

Frozen-foods aisle

- 7-ounce can fat-free whipped topping

- 8-ounce container lowfat fruit yogurt -- any flavor (Booster)

Canned goods/quick-cook dry-packaged aisle

- 2 (11-ounce) cans mandarin oranges

- 2 (8-ounce) cans pineapple chunks in juice

- 8-ounce can peanuts

- 12-ounce jar wheat germ* (Booster)

(Note: Because grocery stores vary widely in terms of layout and merchandise, the shopping lists provided in this story are intended only as a general guide.)

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