If I was truth-telling, this page would be filled with recipes for greasy sloppy joes and turkey reubens and French onion soup—those are my actual favorites. But, for the purpose of this particular forum, the recipes featured here will be favorite diet-friendly meals, side dishes and snacks. So, my dear cookers and bakers and sauteers, have at it.
Martha Stewart’s split pea soup with ham: I used a ham steak (easily available at Key Foods) in place of the ham bone. This soup didn’t need a lot of salt (probably because of the ham) and is tasty with a few tablespoons of 20-cal-per-tbsp Asiago cheese melted on top.
Golden lentil stew: I realized I had several bags of lentils in my cupboard, and nowhere for them to go. A quick search of “lentils” on MarthaStewart.com revealed this recipe. The spices, if you don’t have them, are definitely an investment. The taste, however, is worth the expense. I left out the pasta, and I also recommend substituting raisins for dates because they are cheaper, more flavorful and you probably already have them in your kitchen.
Cheesy cauliflower with chives: Cauliflower is a tough vegetable without some sort of added flavor, so this recipe’s cheese and chive additions give it flavor
Garlicky kale: Similar to cauliflower, I have to dress up greens like kale and Swiss chard to make them palatable. This recipe works since it pretty much just tastes like garlic
Sweet potato fries: If you’ve been reading the Food Journal, you’ve probably seen how partial I am to these. As a substitution, I’d recommend 1 tbsp. of EVOO instead of vegetable oil.
Tomato and eggplant curry: I had to put down my fork and walk away from this incredible curry dish before I devoured the entire thing. The recipe calls for additional salt, added to taste, and I definitely think you need it—Lynne and I ended up adding table salt as we ate, which was less ideal than having added sea salt while cooking.
Chicken salad: I don’t like to cook chicken too often because I can never seem to get it the taste or consistency I want. So when I stupidly bought 2 chicken breasts the other week, I didn’t know what to do with them. This chicken salad recipe took care of that. And a tip: spread on Wasa crackers for low-cal snack/lunch.
Chicken curry: I really like the Dr. Gourmet website because it includes nutrition facts, which many sites often don’t. I am terrible at approximating calories, so this is especially helpful to me. As I’ve professed above, I am terrible at cooking chicken. But with all the spices in this dish, it’s pretty hard to mess up. My recommendations: at 1.5 cups of frozen green beans and 2/3 cup of frozen broccoli for added volume and nutrients; if you have the following spices, I also recommend adding some turmeric, coriander and freshly cracked black pepper.
Crispy apricot pork chops: Although I bought apricot jam for this and never used it again, it was still a very flavorful recipe on a lean cut of meat. Plus, don’t you have some bread heels you’re looking to get rid of? This is your answer.
Maple mustard pork tenderloin: I will admit, I last had this back when I wasn’t dieting, which is why I didn’t blanch at the idea of putting a 1/2 c. of maple syrup on something. Sure, spread over several servings it isn’t terrible, but it’s not great. Still, I included this recipe because it was the freaking tastiest pork marinade I have ever had. It was amazing. I ate it for days and looked forward to lunch. Highly recommended.
Steamed mussels: I was always scared to make mussels in my own home because I assumed I would mess it up and poison myself. Surprisingly, I made these and survived. Still, this recipe is to die for. Get a multigrain baguette, toast it in the oven and prepare to dip away. My recommendation is to go a little easy on the wine, especially if you get a cheaper wine. Also, add some garlic and be liberal with the shallots. I personally despise parsley, so feel free to leave it out since I did and nothing suffered. Added bonus: mussels are cheap, low-cal and and excellent source of protein.
Salmon with dill mustard sauce: I am not good at eating fish; I don’t particularly like fishy fish. I do like salmon, and sometimes it’s fine with just some lemon and a bit of Splenda. But, if you want to spice up your salmon, I recommend this glaze. At first, when I dipped my finger in the bowl, I wasn’t impressed. If that happens to you, soldier on and trust me when I say that it will turn out well once on the salmon. Oh, and I substituted agave nectar for brown sugar, but that only worked out so-so.