Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Month's Worth of Low-Cal Dinners at Home

Before I get to the juicy bits about recipes for dinner I would like to brag on the breakfast I ate this morning and the surprisingly, decent lunch I ate yesterday.  I had to get up super early this morning to meet with a client so initially I started the day with a can of Seattle's Best Coffe Iced Mocha (130 calories).  It is unfortunately loaded with sugar (Boo!) but so tasty.  After meeting with my client I made a quick, easy breakfast of 1 frozen pancake (100 calories).  I thawed it out in the microwave for 10 seconds and finished it in the toaster to get it crispy.  Meanwhile, I measured out a half a cup of frozen wild blueberries (35 calories) and added 1 tsp. of organic, real maple syrup (22 calories).  I stirred the mixture to coat the blueberries with the syrup, and then I heated the blueberries in the microwave for 30 seconds until they were warm.  I topped the pancake with the blueberry compote, poured myself 4 oz. of O.J. (55 calories), and voila!  Breakfast was served!  Total calories added up to 342 if you include my morning mocha.

Now let's go back to yesterday's lunch.  I do not typically eat a lot of frozen, processed entrees.  When I do eat processed foods I usually stick to Amy's Kitchen items, because they are natural and organic.  I strayed yesterday on a whim.  Sorry, Amy's.  I went to the grocery store hungry, which is a big no, no.  I found myself distracted by the Weight Watcher's Smart Ones.  I couldn't peel my eyes off the Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach.  That sounded fantastic, and I was hungry!  I thought, "how bad could it be, and it's only 280 calories!"  I nuked it for lunch and added 2 tsp. of grated parmesan (20 calories) to kick up the flavor.  Much to my surprise it was delicious!  It was a modest portion, but each bite tasted like heaven!  It reminded me of a recipe that I have been meaning to try for dinner sometime, Penne and Asparagus with Ricotta Cheese.  I think I got the recipe from the book, I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening by Devin Alexander.

Dinner is by far the hardest time to eat low-calorie.  It takes some planning.  I would also like to point out that it is really easy to be famished by dinner time if you don't eat a well-balanced afternoon snack.  Dinner should be a healthy balance of good carbs (think high-fiber!), protein, and a little bit of fat.  I would suggest eating  a little bit lower calorie for breakfast, lunch, and snacks so that you can have a substantial dinner of 500 to 600 calories.  Since this is the most tempting meal to overeat it just makes sense to plan to eat a little more at dinner but with restraint.  I researched some of the highest rated recipes from some great recipe websites.  I haven't tried every single one of these, but they all sound fantastic.  Feel free to post recipe links and reviews in the comments.  Here are my picks for meals to try at home in no particular order:

(Click on the links for the recipes.)

Sauteed Chicken Breast with Creamy Chive Sauce, 1 breast, 244 calories
Sauteed Green Beans & Cherry Tomatoes, 1 cup, 71 calories
Mashed Potatoes, 3/4 cup, 178 calories
Total Calories = 493

4 oz. Filet Mignon, seasoned with sea salt & pepper, grilled, 202 calories
Mashed Garlicky Potatoes, 3/4 cup, 217 calories
Portabella Gravy, 44 calories
Green Giant Steam in the Bag Green Beans, 3/4 cup, 25 calories
Total Calories = 488

Mushroom Gorgonzola Soup, 275 calories
4 oz. Filet Mignon, seasoned with garlic salt & pepper, grilled, 202 calories
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus w/Balsamic Glaze, (My guest post on Eat Yourself Skinny!), 103 calories
Total Calories = 580

Alfredo Pesto Chicken, 1-6 oz. Breast, 231 calories
Whole Wheat Spaghetti, 1 cup cooked, 176 calories
Frozen Peas, boiled or steamed, 1/2 cup, 62 calories
Total Calories = 469

Healthy Chicken Parmesan, 1/2 recipe, 402 calories
Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream, 1/4 recipe, 156 calories
Total Calories = 558

Spinach and Mushroom Veggie Lasagna, 1/12 recipe, 337 calories
Pepperidge Farm's Frozen Garlic Texas Toast, 1 slice, 150 calories
Total Calories = 487

Pork Chops w/ Gorgonzola & Pears, 618
8 Asparagus spears, steamed or roasted, 19 calories
Total Calories = 637

Pulled Pork, 2/3 cup, 220 calories
Sara Lee Whole Wheat Bun, 200 calories
Oven Sweet Potato Fries, 1/2 large sweet potato, 122 calories (or Alexia Sweet Potato Fries, 10 pieces)
Pickles, 2 sandwich slices, 10 calories
Total Calories = 552

Broiled Center Loin Bone-in Pork Chop, 3 oz. yeild, 204 calories
Barbecue Sauce for basting, 1/4 cup, 50 calories
Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, 324 calories
Wilted Spinach (fresh), season w/nutmeg, salt, pepper. 1 1/2 cup (measured raw),  20 calories
Total Calories =  598

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken w/Potatoes, 285 calories
Green Giant Baby Brussel Sprouts & Butter Sauce, 1/2 cup, 60 calories
Baby Carrots, cooked, 1/2 cup, 27 calories
Total Calories = 372

Pea and Pesto Soup, 1/4 recipe, 163 calories
Rotisserie Chicken Breast, no skin, 5 oz., 172 calories
Whole Wheat Spaghetti, 1 cup cooked, 176 calories
Classico Alfredo sauce, 1/4 cup, 80 calories
2 tsp. Grated Parmesan, 20  calories
Total Calories = 611

Blue Cheese Burger, 2 oz. patty, no bun, 335 calories
Bacon, 1 medium slice, 46 calories
Wilted Spinach (fresh), season w/nutmeg, salt, pepper. 1 1/2 cup (measured raw),  20 calories
Alexia Rosemary & Garlic Oven Fries,  8 pieces, 110 calories
Total Calories = 511

Bacon Cheeseburger, 1/6 recipe, 498 calories
Zucchini Oven Chips, 1/4 recipe, 75 calories
Total Calories = 573

Arroz Con Pollo, 3 oz. or 1/6 recipe, 196 calories
Steamed Brown Rice, 1 cup,  216 calories
Kuner's Southwestern Refried Beans w/Roasted Chiles, 1/2 cup, 130 calories
Total Calories = 529

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas, 2 enchiladas, 392 calories
Kuner's Southwestern Jalapeno Black Beans w/Lime Juice, 1/2 cup, 130 calories
Total Calories = 522

Easy Veggie Quesadilla, 274 calories
Green Rice, 1/4 recipe, 153 calories
Total Calories = 427

Chicken Fajitas (with all the fixin's), 1/8 recipe, 278 calories
X 2  (Make sure you click through to the measurements of the condiments.)
Total calories = 556

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken, 2/3 cup, 155 calories
La Tiara Taco Shells, 3 shells, 120 calories
2% Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 1/4 cup, 80 calories
Fresh Tomato, diced, seeded, 1/4 cup, 8 calories
Romaine Lettuce, shredded, 1/2 cup, 4 calories
Kuner's Southwestern Pinto Beans w/Jalapenos, 1/2 cup, 130 calories
Total calories = 497

Fish Tacos with Black Beans, see my October 6, 2011 post.
Total calories = 446

Giada's Pasta Ponza, 1/6 recipe, 414 calories
Breaded Tilapia Fillet (frozen), 1 fillet baked, 200 calories
Total calories = 614

Breaded Tilapia Fillet (frozen), 1 fillet baked, 200 calories
Lemon Caper Mayo, 2 Tbsp., 71 calories
Chef Meg's Simple Quinoa and Vegetables, 1/2 cup w/2 tsp. viniagrette, 293 calories
Total calories = 564

Lemon-Artichoke Chicken, 1 breast, 437 calories
Whole Wheat Spaghetti, 1/2 cup cooked, 88 calories w/2 tsp. Grated Parmesan, 20  calories
Baby Spinach (fresh), season w/nutmeg, salt, pepper.  Wilt.  1 and 1/2 cup (measured raw),  20 calories
Total calories = 565

Spaghetti Carbonara, 412 calories
Garlic Bread, 78 calories
Total calories = 490

Jamie Oliver's Proper Bloke's Sausage Fusilli (Madeover),  1/4 recipe, 569 calories
Total calories = 569

Hungry-Girl Pizza Swap, 1 pizza, 290 calories (I prefer to sub in Turkey Pepperoni for the Sausage.)
Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad,  196 calories (Use pre-grilled or leftover chicken to make it super easy.)
Total calories = 486

Baked Glazed Ham, 4 oz., 160 calories
Reduced Fat Scalloped Potato Gratin, 1/6 recipe, 260 calories
Steamed Broccoli, 1/2 cup, 25 calories
Total calories = 445

Sirloin steak, seasoned with sea salt & Montreal Steak seasoning, broiled, lean, 4 oz., 212 calories
Loaded Baked Potato, 382 calories (I prefer the broccoli on the side.)
Total calories = 594

Sirloin steak, seasoned with sea salt and pepper, broiled, lean, 4 oz., 212 calories
Sauteed Peppered Mushrooms, 1/4 recipe, 56 calories
Hungry Girl Hustle N' Brussels Foil Pack (at bottom of the newsletter), 1/2 pack, 182 calories
Total calories = 450 calories

Oven-Baked Crispy Chicken Tenders w/Coleslaw, 519 calories
Tartar Sauce, 27 calories
Green Giant Steam in the Bag Green Beans, 3/4 cup, 25 calories
Total calories = 571

Penne Alla "Not-Ka," 1/4 recipe, 371 calories
Large Shrimp, broiled, 4 pieces, 22 calories (Serve with the past or the salad.  Your choice!)
Alton Brown's Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing, 1/4 recipe, 118 calories
Total calories = 511

Pepper and Lemon Crusted Salmon, 1 fillet & 1/4 asparagus, 459 calories (This recipe if from a BBC blog so be sure to convert the oven temp to 350 degrees.)
Sunshine Rice, 1/3 cup, 180 calories
Total calories = 639

Easy Salmon Cakes, 1 patty, 324 calories
Creamy Dill Sauce, 1 Tbsp., 28 calories
Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, 1 cup, 149 calories
Wilted Spinach (fresh), season w/nutmeg, salt, pepper.  1 1/2 cups (measured raw),  20 calories
Total calories = 521

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