Here are five things that make wholesome eating easier:
* Peppercorns: For the pepper grinder, of course. This spice does more in less time for fewer calories than anything anyone cares to add to vegetables, meat or starchy foods. Unsalted baked potatoes become palatable with freshly ground pepper. So does beef. Keep a pepper grinder near the cooking area.
* Wine: And not the cooking sort, either; it's heavily salted. Wine is an unsurpassed flavor enhancer. In cooking, calories boil away with the alcohol. If you're afraid your wine will turn to vinegar with too little use, buy dry vermouth or a domestic sherry, which are both fairly stable and almost as versatile.
* Miscellaneous flavor enhancers: Ginger root, grated or julienned, adds flavor to meat and vegetables. And it stores nicely in the refrigerator. Ditto prepared horseradish and mushrooms. Grated citrus rind (cut off when you've used the juice from oranges, lemons and limes for another dish) freezes well and adds zest to sauces and quick marinades. Curry powder perks up the flavor of vegetables, eggs and chicken.
* Turkey breast cutlets: Or some other form of easy-thaw meat or seafood. Indeed, some fish fillets don't even need thawing before baking. Resist the temptation to thaw them on the counter, which takes longer and increases the possibility of deterioration. Immerse them in tepid water and they'll be ready to cook much more quickly, but then do cook them immediately.
* Plain yogurt: It sounds a bit bizarre, perhaps, but 1 cup of this combined with a tablespoon or two of flour can make a cream gravy with the zip of sour cream and the too-often-neglected calcium of milk.