Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuna Sandwich

This entire meal is only 262 calories, no lie!

~1 can of tuna in water, comes to 1/2 cup total
~2 Tbsp. Naturally Yours (the best!!!) fat free sour cream, comes in the black & white "cow" container
~1/4 cup chopped celery
~1 tsp. dried minced onion
~1/2 tsp. dried dill

Mix all the ingredients, put it on a slice of whole wheat bread, top with tomato slices, serve with 3 oz. (3/4 cup) of baby carrots:
Only 262 calories for all this!! Yes!! 2.3g fat, 33g carbs (5.3g fiber, 8.6g sugar), 27.8g protein (all that protein is also going to help control hunger) You could add another slice of bread & some lettuce, and still come in under 400 calories. So awesome!

400 Calories

This is a long-term post that will probably get edited a gazillion times, because I will keep adding to it. My goal is to create a list of 400-calorie meals that balance filling with flavor - how much bulk can I get for a decent amount of good flavor? Of course, you can make any meal 400 calories if you make the portion-sizes small enough, but that doesn't necessarily make it filling or satisfying. Steak and lasagna? Sure, but only a couple bites of each, not very filling. So, here's an evolving list of meals - constantly under construction. I calculate all my nutritional data using the tools on www.myfooddiary.com.

Whole Grain Cereal & Fruit
1 cup whole oat cereal, 1 medium banana, 1/2 cup frozen blackberries thawed, 2/3 cup 1% milk
Total calories - 329 calories, 3.3g fat, 71.1g carbs (9.5g fiber, 31.5g sugar), 10.5g protein
You could add 4tsp (a little over 1 Tbsp) of sliced almonds for 60 calories and another 2g of protein


Tuna open-face sandwich with tomato slices & baby carrots
Only 262 calories for all this!! Yes!! 2.3g fat, 33g carbs (5.3g fiber, 8.6g sugar), 27.8g protein (all that protein is also going to help control hunger). Add another slice of bread and some lettuce for about another 100 calories, still under 400.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Banana Fat-Free Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream

I was inspired by a post on HWHL, so I set to work making banana frozen yogurt instead of just plain frozen banana.

Simple ingredients:
3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt (no added sweetener)
1/2 large banana (60g)
2 1-tsp. packets of artificial sweetener (sweetener is separate, that way you can control the amount of sweetener in the recipe and what kind you want)

Calories - 150, 0.5g fat, 27.5g carbs, 9.5g protein

Chop the banana in chunks. This probably isn't necessary, but I did it anyway.

Fat-free plain yogurt.

The ingredients in a food processor. After making it this way, I decided a blender would do fine, and be easier anyway. Less parts.

Blend it all until it is smooth and creamy. Then freeze it in a countertop electric ice cream maker, or just put it in any small container and freeze it in the freezer. Honestly, this recipe needs to be tripled to work in the kind of countertop ice cream maker that uses a thick frozen tub to freeze everything. The one-serving portion was too small to properly turn into smooth ice cream.

Mmm... so good! Sweet, but tangy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Spinach Artichoke Dip

To die for, I'm telling you! So good!

The original recipe came from a Pampered Chef mini-book. I've changed a few things, to reduce the fat and calories. Here are the ingredients:

~10 oz. frozen cut spinach, thawed and drained (you can do this in the microwave)
~2 6oz. jars of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
~1/2 cup Miracle Whip Light salad dressing (original recipe is mayonnaise)
~1/2 cup light sour cream (original recipe is regular sour cream)
~3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (NOT the powdered stuff in a can!!)
~2 tsp. minced garlic (the kind in a jar, soooo much easier than peeling and chopping cloves of garlic, which is what the original recipe called for)

All the ingredients. Yep, I live in a small town, Walmart shopping is the thing.

Chopped spinach, heated in the microwave and drained. This is also a Tupperware bowl - a microwave colander that fits inside the microwave bowls. Very handy for nuking veggies like spinach that need to be drained.

All the raw ingredients.

Everything mixed together.

I cooked this in my Tupperware microwave Stack Cooker (love this set!) for 5:30 until the cheese was melted and bubbly. You can also bake it in an 8x8 baking dish at 375 for 20 to 25 min. Serve with crackers or crusty bread slices.

Per 1 oz./28g serving, approximately 1 Tablespoon:
50 calories, 3.1g fat, 3.3 carbs, 1.5g protein

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Indoor S'Mores a.k.a. Crack

Seriously, no joke. This treat is addicting. I don't make it very often for that reason. If I do, then I eat the whole pan. No lie. It's pathetic.

Here is the recipe:

2 Tbsp. butter (I use generic Smart Balance to make the fat "healthier")
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 11 oz. bag of milk chocolate chips (not semi-sweet, unless you like that, whatever)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups mini marshmallows
8 cups graham cracker cereal

Spray a cookie baking sheet with non-stick baking spray. In a large bowl, pour in the cereal and marshmallows. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, corn syrup, and chocolate chips, just until it's all melted and bubbling. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and marshmallows. Stir until everything is coated and then immediately pour out onto the baking sheet. Spread around. Cool, then you can tear off chunks or cut into bars.

Per 1 oz. serving:
115 calories, 2.9g fat, 20.7g carbs, 1g protein

Corn Chex for the graham cracker cereal (pictured here), you can also add peanuts (pictured here). Calories with Corn Chex and 1 cup peanuts - 119 calories, 4.2g fat, 18.6g carbs, 1.9g protein

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies

I nabbed this out of a Betty Crocker mini-book called Christmas Cookies Dec/Jan 2010 No. 258 p. 27. Here is my version - almost identical, but of course I had to increase the flour for high-altitude cooking, and I added salt:

1-1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
2 cups brown sugar
6 egg whites (or use 4 whole eggs)
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. orange zest (takes 2 oranges)
2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups all-purpose white flour (2 cups in the orginal recipe for low altitude)
4 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups dried cranberries

Cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the eggs and everything but the flour, oatmeal, and cranberries. Now add the flour. Mix in the oatmeal and cranberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. For lower altitudes, cook a few test cookies first for baking time.

Per 1 oz. or 28g baked cookie (1.1 oz. or 31g of dough):
116 calories, 4.6g fat, 17.2g carbs, 1.6g protein

Strawberry Rice Crispie Treats

So, I'm cruising down the aisles of my local Wal-Mart, checking out the Valentine's Day treats and other displays, and my eye catches a bag of strawberry-flavored heart marshmallows. I'd been having an obsession lately with Indoor S'Mores (awesome barpan treat version of the campfire classic), and I thought, "Hey, I bet those would make great Rice Crispie treats for Valentine's Day!" And sure enough, they were awesome! So, here's a tricked-out version of an old classic treat.

Strawberry Rice Crispie Treats

~6oz. butter (yep, use butter... and yep, this is double the butter in the original Rice Crispie treat recipe. Ever wonder why your rice crispie treats are hard as a rock and not chewie? It's because you need to use more butter!)
~1 10oz. bag of marshmallows, strawberry-flavored (if these are only seasonal and you can't get them later on in the year, you could probably just add a few drops of red food coloring and 1/2 tsp. of strawberry extract flavoring)
~6 cups of crispy rice cereal (any brand will do)
~about 1 cup of white chocolate baking chips
~non-stick baking spray

A Wilton heart pan, great for molding these goodies! I found it at Walmart. Each heart is approximately 1 cup.

Spray each heart with non-stick baking spray, then sprinkle white baking chips in the bottom of the pan.

Put the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, then pour in the whole bag of marshmallows. (Yep, those two bowls are Tupperware, I used to sell it years and years ago. If you don't have a set of the special microwave cooking bowls called Stack Cooker, get one, it's been 15 years and I still use mine. Find a set on eBay or see a Tupperware dealer.)

Nuke the butter and marshmallows for about 1 minute, the marshmallows are now big and puffy. Stir the marshmallows and butter, then nuke one more time for about 45 seconds.

Pour in the 6 cups of cereal and stir.

Everything mixed together. Spoon the mixture into each heart, pressing down with your fingers (grease them first with the non-stick spray.)

Wah-lah! Heart-shaped Rice Crispie Treats. You can get 8 of them out of the recipe, but only if you work fast to shape the last 2 hearts while the mixture is still warm. Put the pan in the freezer or fridge for a minute or two, then flip the 6 hearts out onto a baking rack. Hurry and mold 2 more hearts. All that sticky marshmallow mix will come off your bowls and spoons with warm/hot water.

Per 1oz. serving of the rice crispies only, w/o the chips:
120 calories, 3.5g fat, 21g carbs. 0.9g protein

For the 2oz. heart treat, with 12g or 1-1/2 Tbsp. of the white chips, it is:
304 calories, 10.1g fat, 50.1g carbs, 2.5g protein