Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Awesome low-cal recipes

The Lovely Spouse is on a calorie-restricted diet at the moment. Which means, among other things, that in order to support him I've been looking for new recipes that fulfill the calorie restriction and are yummy enough to forget about the diet. This week I found two that fit the bill and thought you all might like to know.

The first recipe is Moosewood Restaurant's Herbed Fish in a Packet from the Moosewood's Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook. I bought this book when I lived in my very first apartment and haven't parted with it since. In fact my copy is probably due for replacement after the spine split. I always use salmon (wild-caught, if available - Kroger has them filleted, deboned, vacuum-packed and flash-frozen in the frozen seafood section) with this recipe in addition to sweet basil and rosemary (from the garden, if possible - if you're allergic to rosemary, substitute with fresh tarragon). The fish comes out very moist and full of rich, herbal flavor. I've had several people tell me they won't eat salmon unless it's used in this particular recipe. It takes around 30 minutes to prepare, including cooking time. And each serving is about 175 calories, mostly protein and very little fat. Recipe is conveniently on-line if you're shopping with your smart phone and left the book at home.

The next recipe comes from the Food Network website. While doing some research for my own sport-related diet and nutrition plan I keep hearing about how incredibly nutritious lentils are. Thus I decided it was time to give them a try. But where to start? I've only ever had them in Indian food, which, for me is a bit more advanced than just a quick family meal. So I went over to the Food Network website for a search. Most of the results yielded stews, which didn't interest me. Then I saw Giada's Italian Lentil Salad. Since I really hadn't had too many lentils I didn't really know what to expect. However one review caught my eye: "My entire family loved it and helped themselves to more." Sold! There were a couple of substitutions: pecans for hazelnuts (not available this time of year), I left out the shallots because I can't eat uncooked shallots, and generic lentils for Sabarots (Kroger didn't have a selection so I went with what they had). The results were yummy! The vinaigrette is absolutely necessary, so make sure you don't forget it. It lends a wonderful lemony flavor that improves with a couple days in the fridge - the recipe makes a lot so you'll have left-overs. Bonus points for getting The Lovely Spouse to eat grapes. Normally he doesn't like them, but they added a very nice character to this dish. About 30 minutes prep and cooking time, total. Roughly 100 calories per serving. A good mix of protein and carbs and very little fat. Also tastes great heated up in the microwave the next day.

(note: the pictures came from Moosewood's and Food Network's websites)

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