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Week's worth of dinners features low-cal entrees

by JANET K. KEELER Tampa Bay Times on April 25, 2013 10:50 AM


Skinny soup: Whether you’re the bride or groom, or any other wedding participant wanting to make sure that special outfit fits fabulously, you might want to eat light in the days leading up to the big event. This special wedding edition of Stir Crazy is going low-cal, starting with a simple Vegetable Soup.

You can use anything you have on hand, but here’s one combination: Saute diced onion and garlic in a wee splash of olive oil. Add chopped carrots, green peppers and celery. Saute for another 10 minutes. Pour in a box of vegetable broth, bring to a simmer and add diced zucchini, a can of drained white beans and 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. When zukes are soft, the soup is done.

Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Apple slices on the side.


Breakfast for dinner: Mushroom Fontina Omelet is a filling meal, especially when paired with fresh fruit. The recipe for this omelet, from a cookbook by the editor of Self magazine, is made in a large skillet and then cut in wedges, sort of like a frittata. It’s under 300 calories per serving.



1 tablespoon olive oil

10 ounces (about 4 cups) mushrooms, such as cremini or white button, sliced

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

8 eggs

1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Nonstick cooking spray

1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, mushrooms, onion, rosemary, salt and crushed red pepper (if using).


Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms release their liquid and shrink by half. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Place the eggs, yogurt and basil in a large bowl. Whisk well. Heat another large skillet over high heat. Remove the skillet from the burner and coat with cooking spray. Return the skillet to the stove. Reduce the heat to medium and add the egg mixture. As it cooks, pull the cooked edges of the eggs back toward the center of the pan and tilt the pan to allow some of the uncooked mixture to settle around the edge.

Repeat two or three times until you have a thicker center, and the eggs are almost cooked through.

Spoon the mushrooms over half the egg mixture and top with Fontina. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook 1 minute. Tip the pan forward and flip the empty side of the omelet over the half with the mushrooms. Cover to allow the cheese to melt, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, cut into four wedges and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Nutritional information per serving: 288 calories, 23 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 460 mg sodium.

Source: “The Drop 10 Diet Cookbook” by Lucy Danziger (Ballantine Books, 2013)


Rotisserie chicken: Use a store-bought roasted bird for Chopped Chicken Salad, but go easy on the high-calorie dressing and cheesy add-ins. To a pile of lettuce, mix in diced cucumbers, scallions, tomatoes, carrots, green peppers and any other low-cal veggies you’d like.

Dress with a light vinaigrette then layer sliced chicken on top. Got to have some carbs? Try a few whole wheat crackers.


Shrimp of a dinner: There’s just a measly 7 calories in 1 boiled, medium shrimp, so consider Peel-and-Eat Shrimp for dinner tonight with lightly dressed coleslaw studded with pineapple chunks.

Boil the shrimp in a couple of teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning and serve with cocktail sauce made from ketchup and horseradish.


Go grill: If you’re not at a rehearsal dinner tonight, splurge at home and make Asian-Grilled Salmon served with whole wheat couscous and sauteed zucchini. To make the salmon, brush it with a mixture of soy sauce, Dijon mustard, minced garlic and a little olive oil. Let sit for about 10 minutes to soak in flavor.

Grill over high heat for about 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

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