Recipe Swap: Skinny dishes for new year, new you
Editor's Note: Ok, it's now 2016 and it's time to lose that extra five pounds from the holidays. Or at least talk about it. Anyway, you still have to eat, so here's some advice and recipes to get you started.
Have you hopped on the “lose weight” bandwagon yet this year? Lots of folks do lots of crazy things to follow a diet that promises quick loss of an unbelievable number of pounds. But the challenge is as much about what you eat as it is how much you eat.
If you’ve ever survived for three to four days on undressed salad with saltine crackers and water in order to squeeze into a favorite outfit for a special occasion, you know that sometimes miracles do happen. But, boy at what a cost!
Such efforts just aren’t sustainable. Once the goal is met, you’re so starved for real food you end up gaining back all that was lost plus a few pounds more. Slow and steady is a much better way to go. What you need are satisfying meals that are low in calories but high in nutrients and especially high in flavor. All the recipes in this week’s collection were chosen on that basis.
Ranch Ham and Cheese (306 calories per serving) is comfort food in a skinny format, with Jiffy Pork Skillet (263 calories per serving) coming in a close second. Squash Apple Soup and Special Occasion Salad are less than 100 calories each. And you’ll swear diet time is over when you taste the Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake recipe – just 170 calories per serving, but very rich and satisfying.
To make sure all the weight lost comes from the spare tire around your middle rather than from your wallet, shop the commissary for all the ingredients.
Squash Apple Soup
• 3 ribs celery, chopped
• 1 large apple, peeled and chopped
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth, divided
• 2 (12-ounce) packages frozen cooked winter squash, thawed
• Salad croutons and grated Parmesan cheese, optional
1. In a large saucepan, sauté the celery, apple and onion in oil and butter until tender.
2. Stir in garlic, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute longer.
3. In a blender, combine 1 cup broth and the vegetable mixture; cover and process until
4. Return to saucepan; add squash and remaining broth. Heat through.
5. Serve with croutons and cheese, if desired.
Yields: 7 servings
Nutrition Analysis: Per 1 cup serving (without croutons and cheese):
• calories: 97
• fat: 4 g total fat (1 g saturated fat)
• cholesterol: 7 mg
• sodium: 620 mg
• carbohydrates: 15 g
• fiber: 4 g
• protein: 2 g
Special Occasion Salad
• 1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
• 1 (5-ounce) package fresh arugula
• 1/2 cup dried cherries
• 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1. In a small bowl, combine the spinach, arugula, cherries and almonds.
2. Combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper; drizzle over salad and toss to coat well.
3. Sprinkle with goat cheese and serve immediately.
Yields: 16 as a 3/4-cup side salad or 6-8 as a main dish
Nutrition Analysis: Per 3/4 cup serving:
• calories: 83
• fat: 7 g total fat (2 g saturated fat)
• cholesterol: 9 mg
• sodium: 121 mg
• carbohydrates: 5 g
• fiber: 1 g
• protein: 2 g
Jiffy Ground Pork Skillet
• 1 1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta
• 1 pound ground pork
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
• 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook pork and onion over medium heat until meat is no
longer pink; drain.
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Bring mixture to a boil.
4. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
5. Drain pasta; add to skillet. Stir in zucchini. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until
zucchini is crisp-tender.
Yields: 6 servings
Nutrition Analysis: Per 1 1/4 cup serving:
• calories: 263
• fat: 12 g total fat (4 g saturated fat)
• cholesterol: 50 mg
• sodium: 339 mg
• carbohydrates: 22 g
• fiber: 2 g
• protein: 18 g
Ranch Ham and Cheese Pasta
• 1 (16-ounce) package penne pasta
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 1 cup fat-free milk
• 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
• 1 teaspoon garlic salt
• 1 teaspoon salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
• 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
• 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 cup (8-ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
• 2 cups cubed fully cooked lean ham
• 1 1/2 cups (6-ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
• 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, melt butter; whisk in flour until smooth.
3. Gradually add milk and seasonings. Bring mixture to a boil; cook and stir for 2
minutes or until thickened.
4. Reduce heat; fold in sour cream until blended.
5. Add ham and cooked pasta; cook until heated through.
6. Remove from heat; stir in Mexican cheese blend until melted.
7. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve.
Yields: 10 servings
Nutrition Analysis: Per 1 cup serving:
• calories: 306
• fat: 9 g total fat (5 g saturated fat)
• cholesterol: 27 mg
• sodium: 612 mg
• carbohydrates: 38 g
• fiber: 2 g
• protein: 20 g
Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup sugar (plus additional for ramekins)
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 Meyer or regular lemons (up to 3)
• 3 large eggs, separated
• 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 pint raspberries, for garnish
• Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease eight 4- to 5-ounce ramekins or ovenproof
custard cups; sprinkle with sugar to coat bottoms and sides. Shake out
2. On a sheet of waxed paper, using a fork, combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar and salt.
3. Grate 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon peel and squeeze 1/2 cup juice.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon peel and lemon juice.
5. Whisk in melted and cooled butter and milk. Gradually whisk in flour mixture.
6. In another large bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites
until foamy. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form
when beaters are lifted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
7. Add one-third of beaten egg whites to yolk mixture; stir gently with a rubber
spatula until incorporated. Gently fold in remaining whites until just incorporated.
Ladle evenly into prepared custard cups or ramekins.
8. Arrange ramekins 1 inch apart in large (17x13-inch) baking pan. Fill pan with
enough hot water to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Carefully transfer
pan to oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cakes are golden brown and
tops rise 1/2 inch above rims.
9. Cool cakes in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Using a sturdy metal spatula, carefully
remove ramekins from pan with water and transfer to wire rack to cool
15 minutes longer.
10. Run thin knife around edge of ramekin. Place small serving plate on top of
ramekin and invert plate and ramekin together; remove ramekin. Repeat with
11. Garnish each cake with raspberries and mint sprig. Serve warm.
Yields: 8 cakes
Nutrition Analysis: Per 1 cake serving:
• calories: 170
• fat: 6 g total fat (3 g saturated fat)
• cholesterol: 92 mg
• sodium: 145 mg
• carbohydrates: 25 g
• fiber: 3 g
• protein: 4 g