Anyone who has undertaken a “lifestyle change” (read-diet) knows that coming up with new and healthy dinner alternatives can be challenging. I still have my old favorites (grilled meat and veggies), but here are two new ones that are adaptations of favorite fast food/restaurant food.
1 Boboli prepared whole wheat pizza crust; 1 small can tomato paste; Italian seasoning/oregano/basil/garlic salt; 1 pkg. prepared roasted chicken pieces (from deli or cold case); veggies to taste (I use chopped onion, sliced green/red/yellow peppers, mushrooms, and black olives); 1 cup lowfat pizza cheese
Preheat oven to 425. Take tomato paste and put in small mixing bowl; add one can water, and 1/2 tsp of each of the spices. Mix well, allow to sit.
Take out pizza crust; lightly brush with olive oil. Smooth tomato paste mixture thinly over crust (it makes enough for two pizzas!). Top with all the veggies, chicken, and then about 1 cup pizza cheese.
Put pizza in oven and bake 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting with a pizza roller. Nearly guilt-free pizza pleasure!
Homemade Healthy Taco Salad:
1 pkg of lettuce shreds (found with the bagged salads); 1 pound super lean ground beef (93% or better lean); 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained; 1 small can Mexican corn, rinsed and drained; 1 envelope taco seasoning; black olives; Mexican blend cheese; fat free sour cream; salsa; 1 whole wheat tortilla, thinly sliced across in strips
Preheat oven to 400. Prepare tortilla “straws” by taking the strips and putting on a cookie sheet. Lightly spray with Pam/cooking spray, then lightly sprinkle with salt or salt substitute. Put tortilla straws in oven and bake 8 min. or so until lightly browned. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan, brown the lean ground beef. When it is no longer pink, drain all remaining grease…I even take a paper towel and press and blot the pan until it’s all gone. When you have removed the grease, add the taco seasoning packet. Add only a quarter cup water, and stir until well mixed. Simmer and stir 5 min.
To prepare salad, fill salad bowls with lettuce shreds, and top with the hamburger mixture. Garnish with the Mexican cheese (sparingly, unless it’s lowfat), black beans, Mexican corn, black olives, salsa, and one dollop of fat free sour cream. Arrange straws around edge. When you cut up the salad, the salsa, sour cream, and taco meat mixture mix to produce the salad “dressing”, so none is required. None of the fat/calories of the Taco Bell 800 calorie plus version! (I’m not slamming Taco Bell…I do love their new healthier al fresco items, but the taco salad has been a favorite since college, and it’s nowhere on the healthy menu!)
There are lots of healthy alternatives out there…a little ingenuity and experimentation can yield great results when you love food, but don’t love the fat and calories of restaurant versions.