Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy Friday!!

I have been waiting for this day since... well, Monday! I'm looking forward to a fun labor day weekend with NO major plans which is kind of exciting! Chargers game tonight, then bootcamp tomorrow a.m. but those are the only plans for the entire weekend! Considering I can tell you what I'm doing for the next 6 weekends in a row- this is kind of a treat :)
With the heat- cooking seems like the last thing I really want to do- but I'll share some of easy dinner ideas below. Most of these are little or NO prep.
Trader Joes Apple Almond Stuffed Pork Chops. How much does that not sound like diet food?? Well it is and it was an amazing discovery that I now eat about once a week. This week I made it for Jules & she was a huge fan as well. This delicious "comfort food" is only 190 calories each!!!! And they are SO good. Pair it with a side salad & you're set. This is another one that's pretty impressive looking- so no need to tell anyone you didn't make it yourself. Oh, and they're only $6.95 for two. What a deal :)

Trader Joes Stuffed Bell Peppers. Have you noticed I like TJ's? And Stuffed foods?? These are one of my favorites on the days that you would rather die than eat another chicken salad :) These are found in the prepared food section of Trader Joes, they are pre-cooked and just need to be reheated. It's basically lean turkey and rice stuffed into a giant roasted red bell pepper. Great comfort food. 290 calories each. Also a good one to put with a side salad or some steamed veggies, they look a little lonely on a plate by themselves.

Scallop & Spinach Salad. More creative than chicken- scallops add a good flavor and go really well with other toppings/dressings. I like to pan grill scallops (and they are best when served right out of the pan- so I usually prep the salad first and add them at the end). Spinach is SO good for you and really low calorie- it also helps fight bloating. So start with a few cups of spinach and I like to add almond slivers and sliced strawberrys. Keep the dressing fairly simple with a homemade balsamic (1 part olive oil, 2 parts balsamic vinager). And finally top with the grilled scallops. This one looks fancy enough to be served at a restaurant and tastes that good too!

Asian Chicken Salad. I think the key with salads is finding fun ingredients to keep them from getting boring. In this one- you start with your basic romain chopped lettuce & then add the following:
-Coleslaw lettuce. (this is not coleslaw, it's the broccli or cabbage slaw that comes in bags pre chopped but not yet prepared with mayo)
-Edamame. Did you know that you can buy pre-shelled edamame beans? And they are great! I actually bought a frozen bag at Trader Joes and then you boil them and they'll keep in the fridge for a while so I ate them both as a snack & in salad.
-Grated Carrots. Maybe self explanitory, but you take a carrot and use a cheese grader to shave off little pieces. Good for color variety & added flavor.
-Chopped bell pepper. Because I think bell pepper is a good addition to every salad for added crunch factor.
-Sliced cucumber.
-Trader Joe's Snap Pea Crips. I LOVE THESE. In fact I love them so much I am not currently allowing myself to buy them becuase I will eat them by the handful as I cook, or after work, or on the couch... they're dangerous! But a great addition to this salad so I had to include them for the rest of you who have yet to develop this problem :)
-Black Sesame Seeds & sliced Green Onions for garnish. Don't skip the garnish. These make the salad look professional.
And for dressing Trader Joes makes a great Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinagrette. It's not super low cal, 75 calories in 2 tbs so use sparingly but it's worth it. I love the great peanut flavor. To avoid the spice and calories you could swap for their Sesame Soy Vinagerette which I have not tried, but I bet would be good on this salad and is only 35 calories for the same serving amount.
Oh and I forgot the chicken part! Ok... Add chicken to the above salad to make it an Asain Chicken salad. There you go :)

And for dessert- especially during a heat wave like this I'm always craving ice cream & frozen yogurt. Chris and I had lunch today at Togos (which just so happens to be a Togos/Baskin Robins COMBO) and thank god he was there, because left on my own I may havebeen tempted to substitue ice cream for my turkey wrap! Speaking of- Togos has new wrap options with low carb tortillas that come in under 400 calories! And they come with a side of cucumber "chips" which is fun. But if you just have to have some frozen goodness, stick to frozen yogurt or moderaton, Jules just told me that a McDonalds vanilla ice cream cone is only 150 calories! Yummm....
Happy Labor Day!

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