Category Archives: Main Dishes

My Pick: Lentils and Spinach

Lentils are delicious. If you haven’t experienced lentils, then you need to fix that. Immediately. They’re easy and difficult to mess up, which I greatly appreciate.

For this dish, start with some diced carrot and onion.

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Then rinse some lentils and throw them in. I just used the whole bag. Because I’m like that. Lazy.

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Stir it all together in the pan for a while.I believe simmering gently is the traditional cooking method for lentils, but I was just curious to see how frying it would work. (Calm down, not deep frying or anything. I had used a TINY bit of oil for the onions and carrots, so there was still enough moisture to “fry” the lentils. Sheesh.)

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Mix it all up. Take a few green onions and chop them up.

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Mix them in with the onions, carrots, and lentils. Season it as you like. I added garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Then work a bag of spinach in. Spinach wilts like crazy so it might initially seem like way too much, but it will fit. Trust me.

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Getting there…

 

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And ta-dah!!!! It’s truly delicious!

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If you love sesame… well, first off, we could probably be best friends, because I love sesame and food preferences are probably the number one factor in friend compatibility. Or not. Actually, I’m guessing that’s not true at all.

But, if you love sesame, you should try this. I drizzled sesame oil over mine and added toasted sesame seeds. It was SO INCREDIBLY FANTASTIC.

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I am having trouble finding accurate nutritional info for lentils (the ranges are all over the place!). Just know that this is a low-fat, high protein, and pretty darn good for you meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Healthier Fried “Rice”

A re-post of something from a previous round… Craving fried rice? Here’s a healthier substitute!

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Everyone loves chicken fried rice, right? So savory but loaded with oil and carbs. Carbs aren’t all bad, but eating cups of white rice probably isn’t the best way to kick off your weight loss program.

What to do? I replaced the rice with quinoa. In case you aren’t familiar with it, quinoa contains more high quality protein than any other grain. It is a complete protein grain and provides all the essential amino acids in a balanced pattern, close to the ideal set by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. It’s wheat-free/gluten-free. It’s pretty perfect.

There’s no official recipe, but here’s what I did:

I started by taking a 12 oz box of plain quinoa and boiled it with 2 cubes of chicken bouillon. I let it cool off a bit and then put it in the refrigerator to cool off.

Then I chopped some carrots, yellow onion, and green onion.

First into the pan: yellow onions. I sauteed them in a tiny dab of canola oil until they were translucent. Then I added the carrots and let them soften a bit. Then came the green onions. I cooked them together for a few minutes until they looked like this:

In a separate skillet, I took three eggs and whisked them together with about a tablespoon of water. I cooked them in a non-stick skillet and only added salt and pepper.

I took some chopped broccoli florets and sprinkled with a little bit of teriyaki sauce. I let it get a little brown before taking it out of the skillet.

I took some cooked chicken (cooked the previous day in a crockpot with chicken broth, onion, and garlic) in teriyaki sauce.

Once everything was warmed up, I mixed the quinoa with about 2 tablespoons of canola oil. I then added salt and pepper and stuck it on the griddle. Once the quinoa started looked nice and toasty brown, I added the other ingredients in. It was a messy mix… my kitchen floor is covered with random grains and veggies now.

As it cooked, I added more pepper and soy sauce.

Here’s the finished product:

Verdict: It tastes better than it looks! Well, it looked a little better than this, but I have a really old camera and I’m not much of a photographer. :) As I was cooking it, my husband came into the kitchen with a wrinkled nose and said, “It smells healthy. Really healthy.” He said it wasn’t his favorite, but he DID eat three bowls of it. My 7-year-old ate it enthusiastically and kept saying it was delicious. My 3-year-old wouldn’t touch it at first, but ate a few bites when I fed it to him and told him it was “puppy food” for my puppy (he’s going through a phase right now…). You could easily leave out the chicken (and egg if you don’t eat them) and make it a vegetarian meal thanks to the protein provided by the quinoa.

First Up…. Macaroni and Cheese!

Okay, you guys like macaroni and cheese, don’t you? It showed up over and over and over again as the favorite dish you’d like to see lightened up… Your wish is my command! Let me start out by saying typical homemade macaroni and cheese has 400-600 calories per serving, which is NUTS!

I found this recipe at Gina’s Weight Watchers Recipes. You should check it out her site for the full recipe. I’ll just show you the steps. Her recipe has just under 300 calories per serving, which is still a little high, but so much better than it could be. Coming soon, I’ll post one with 200 calories and one with 100 calories… With mac and cheese, I think it’s similar to “you get what you pay for”– The 300 calorie option is definitely my favorite.

Enjoy!

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Start with a little diced onion.

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Melt some butter in a big pot and throw in some flour. You’re going to make a white sauce, baby!

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Add milk and chicken broth VERY gradually. Patience, my friends! This is a labor of love!

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Add whole grain noodles. I like the “Barilla Plus” brand.

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Add cheese to the white sauce and then stir in the noodles. YUM.

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Add a bunch of spinach. Because spinach is awesome. Seriously.

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Stick it into a greased casserole pan. Heat your oven to 350.

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Realize you don’t have any whole wheat breadcrumbs, but then realize you’re super crafty and can MAKE your own breadcrumbs. Put the whole wheat bread in the toaster and crumble it up. Yes! This is genius!
Or…. put the bread bag directly on the hot stove… and melt the bag.

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I. Am. Awesome.

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Mix the “breadcrumbs” with parmesan cheese, italian seasoning, and garlic powder.

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Sprinkle it on top and bake for a long time. I think Gina’s recipe says 20 minutes, but I probably did 20 and then broiled it on low for 5 to get the top nice and toasted.

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All plated up and ready to eat!

Zucchini Pizza Pie

You might be thinking zucchini and pizza? Ew. But stay with me. Shredded zucchini is incredibly versatile. It adds moisture and flavor without the strong taste you might associate with a green veggie. It’s mild. Really. You’re going to have to trust me on this and just try it, meow.

So, I found this recipe at eat8020.com, which is a really great site! Everything on it tempts me. This particular recipe is called July Pizza Pie.You should click on the link for the full recipe and for higher quality photos. 🙂

Mince some garlic.

Blend some sundried tomatoes and ricotta.

Use a whole grain flatbread. I thought it was really tiny, which is why I took this photo… It turns out it was much smaller than what she called for in her recipe. Ohhhhhhhhh….

Spread the sundried tomato mix.

Grate some zucchini.

Gather your toppings: zucchini, red onion, lowfat cheese, tomatoes…

Assemble the goodness…

Bake in the oven until golden.

And serve with some greens. Yum!

Porteenie “Burger”

Want a delicious vegetarian sandwich? Well, here’s an option! Portabello mushrooms are used frequently as a meat substitute. I think they’re super tasty and can’t get enough… My husband and kids disagree. So, I don’t get to use them as main course entrees for dinner… but I do indulge every now and then.

Start with some porteenies. Aren’t they cute???

Stick them on a hot, nonstick skillet and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar.

Flip them over once. Cook until they’re nice and golden.

Grab some kind of 100-calorie sandwich bread. I chose the Goldfish bread, mainly because it’s cute. My kids like it and I must admit, I enjoy my food just that much more if it’s cute, beautiful, or if it amuses me.

See? Super duper cute! It even has a smile!

Then layer that baby with lettuce, thinly sliced cucumber, the porteenie, sliced tomatoes, and some red onion. Okay, so I only added the red onion because it has such a lovely purple color and I hear that some people really like the zing it provides… But I’m somewhat of a wuss and really can’t do raw onion very well. So… it came off before I ate it.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on, put the top piece on, and you have a pretty hearty vegetarian sandwich! Enjoy!

Bruschetta Tortellini

Whenever I have red tomatoes, I feel the need to buy basil. When I have basil AND tomatoes, I MUST make bruschetta. And when you have bruschetta (okay, FINE… I know it’s not bruschetta. The toast is bruschetta… but I call diced tomatoes, garlic, and basil bruschetta. Deal with it.), it is absolutely delightful to add fresh mozzarella. And if you want to make it more of a meal, you can add cheese tortellini. It’s pretty enough for company. 🙂

Boil cheese tortellini in a big pot of water.

Take beautiful tomatoes, basil, and garlic and mix them together. Good job! You’re a phenomenal cook!

Drizzle a little olive oil in, salt and pepper it, and add the diced fresh mozzarella. If you can do this, you know the way to win my love. Seriously.

Make it meal-worthy and add some cheese tortellini. No need for any kind of special sauce. This bruschetta is juicy enough to coat it.

Or put it on little toasts. Or do both. And add a side of zucchini ribbons. YUM.