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Apr. 3rd, 2015

Turkey Bacon Egg Boats (95 calories)

A while back I had a pack of turkey bacon to use up & wanted to try making egg boats with them in the muffin tin. (I have a weakness for food made in muffin tins!) I found a lot of recipes using regular bacon, but I wasn't sure if the times & temperatures would be the same. After a while I stumbled on some cooking directions here. They turned out so tasty, and low-cal too!

Turkey Bacon Egg Boats (95 calories), plate

For each boat you will need ~

1 large egg (70)
1 slice of turkey bacon (25-35 calories)
Dash of salt & pepper (0)

1) Preheat oven to 350. Overlap the ends of a slice of turkey bacon and place in muffin tin, flat edge down.

2) Fill the center of the bacon with the egg and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for 17 minutes (or 15-16 minutes if you are planning on reheating them later).

Turkey Bacon Egg Boats (95 calories), pan


Tips -
  • Anything with egg can be a pain to clean from the pan, so you may want to spray or rub a little oil in the bottom first (it might add 5 calories).
  • The bacon does not crisp up in this recipe & is more like a slice of ham. If you like a crispier bacon, try cooking it in a frypan before adding it.

    These egg boats are super quick to make, and just as simple to make for 1 person or a large crowd. You can play around with toppings like cheese and green onions, and they are easy to customize for picky eaters. You could also beat the egg first and try adding in some veggies & potatoes! Though some days, simple is best. :)

  • Mar. 30th, 2015

    5:2 Scottish Stew (201 calories)

    A few weeks ago I attempted to make a 200 calorie stew roughly based on Lavender & Lovage's Highland Stew. I didn't have any barley at the time, so I really upped the lentil amount and the whole thing ended up a pile of brown-gray mush. Tasty mush, but it did not look very appetizing!

    So I went back to her recipe and worked a lot closer to it this time, mostly just changing the weight amounts to cup measurements. And we ended up with a delicious and colorful dish! Next time I will probably switch to red lentils so the cooking time isn't as long, and regular barley (if I can find it!), but in the meantime I wanted to share the current recipe.

    5:2 Scottish Stew (201 calories)

    (For those of you counting calories, I've added the amount for each ingredient so you can easily make tweaks without having to re-calculate everything. Anything marked with an asterisk* will vary a lot based on what you buy, so make sure to compare your label.)

    4 cups water (0)
    2 cups potato, small cubes (200)
    1 cup diced onion (60)
    1 cup carrots, chopped (52)
    1 cup celery, thinly sliced (20)
    1 Tbsp. minced garlic (0)
    1 Tbsp./3 cubes chicken bouillon (20)

    1/3 cup dried green or brown lentils (93)
    1/3 cup quick cooking barley (160)
    4 oz. turkey kielbasa (200*)
    1/2 tsp. salt (0)


    1) In a large pot, add the water, potato, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and bouillon. Bring to a boil over high heat.

    2) Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the lentils. Simmer 45 minutes.

    3) Stir in the barley and kielbasa and cook for 15 minutes. Serves 4.

    Calories - 201 for 1/4

    Mar. 27th, 2015

    5:2 Update - Week 10, 2 months

    So, I was originally planning on posting a 5:2 update every three weeks with a list of the meals we made for diet days (as well as a progress report on how much weight & inches I've lost so far). But as I looked over our meal plans for the last few weeks, I realized it just looked like a list of all of the recipes I've posted here recently! And that's pretty boring. For the sake of adding a photo, I will say that my favorite recipe since the last update was probably the Chicken & Mushroom Chow Mein.

    5:2 Chicken & Mushroom Chow Mein (191 calories)

    The other problem with measuring and posting an update every 3 weeks is that it sometimes coincides with my bloaty week, and you can't get any kind of realistic numbers until that's over. So I'm thinking every 4 weeks would be a better time to do measurements & updates, and then I don't have to worry about that little issue. It looks like that will usually fall right around the month mark (since I started 5:2), so that's nice timing too.

    Progress ~
    I've lost about 5 lbs. since my last update for a total of 14 lbs! I've also lost another inch off my hips and thighs.

    Backsliding ~
    Lately I've been averaging about 1.5-2 lbs. a week, but week 8 I actually lost a crazy 2.5 lbs! And so the next week I thought, 'I should live it up a little! I don't need to lose that much a week.' Unfortunately that week we also had ice cream, jelly beans, and Nutty Butty Bars in the house, and so 2 weeks later I was only down 1 lb. While I'm bummed that I basically lost a week or two of progress, it was a good reminder not to go overboard on the non-diet days, and to limit how many bad foods we have at once!

    I'm pretty excited to see what the next few weeks brings! Planning meals is usually the worst part of 5:2 to me, but I've got lots of new ideas brimming right now & can't wait to share the results.

    Mar. 26th, 2015

    5:2 Green Bean Pancakes (100 calories)

    I know, green beans + pancakes sounds a little gross. But these aren't syrupy sweet pancakes, more like a thin eggy omelet. Whatever you want to call them, I have been enjoying this recipe from Soy & Pepper for a while now. But I had to change things up a little, of course! First, I like to mix each pancake individually so I know exactly how much to use (and so I can play around with add-ins, as you'll see below). And while they were good with soy sauce on top, they are incredible with teriyaki sauce mixed in!

    Green Bean Pancakes (100 calories)

    (For those of you counting calories, I've added the amount for each ingredient so you can easily make tweaks without having to re-calculate everything. Anything marked with an asterisk* will vary a lot based on what you buy, so make sure to compare your label.)

    1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1/4" slices (20)
    1 egg, lightly beaten (70)
    ½ Tbsp. teriyaki sauce ("Soy Vay" brand, 5*)
    Cooking oil (5)

    Green Bean Pancakes, prep

    1) First you'll need to cut up your green beans, which is the most time consuming part. I use kitchen scissors to quickly snip them, & you can do two at once. Cut enough to fill up 1/2 cup (or cut up a bunch ahead of time and measure it out).

    2) In a small bowl or cup, lightly beat your egg and mix in the green beans and teriyaki sauce.

    3) In a small non-stick frypan (about 8"), add 1/4 tsp. (or a spray) of oil, then spread it around and wipe it out with a paper towel to leave a trace amount. Heat the pan over medium heat.

    Green Bean Pancakes, cooking

    4) Add the egg mixture and spread out the green beans evenly in one layer. Cook for about 1.5-2 minutes, until the bottom is set and lightly browned. Flip and repeat for the other side. (For additional pancakes you may need to reduce the cooking time slightly.)

    Calories - 100 per pancake



    These pancakes are delicious for breakfast or lunch, or I've also used them as a side dish! Just cut one in half and overlap to fit nicely on your plate.

    Green Bean Pancakes, as a side

    And you can have a lot of fun subbing half of the green beans with other ingredients. This is a great way to use up a little bit of leftover meat, veggies, mushrooms, or rice. What I do is fill up about half of my 1/2 cup measuring cup with another ingredient, then top it off with the cut green beans and cook like normal. (Of course you'll have to adjust the calories a bit to match.) Here is a pancake that is half mushroom rice and half green beans ~

    Green Bean & Rice Pancake

    And you know what is surprisingly tasty mixed in? Hot dogs! I use half a hot dog and cut it length-ways into fourths and then slice that up thin so I have lots of tiny pieces. This is my favorite combination so far.

    Green Bean & Hot Dog Pancake

    Mmmm, these are so unique and tasty, I hope you give them a try! I've got another 100 calorie recipe in the works that I'll be sharing soon.

    Mar. 23rd, 2015

    Chicken, Corn, & Roasted Potato Chowder

    While Just One Cookbook mainly focuses on Japanese recipes, in the past she occasionally shared other favorite recipes, like this delicious Chicken & Corn Chowder with Roasted Potato. It quickly became a favorite in our house too, though I did make a few small changes (like using way less broth). I was surprised to calculate the nutritional info and see that even with heavy cream, a big bowl is only about 330 calories! Of course, it's so good, you'll probably want to go back for seconds.

    Chicken, Corn, & Roasted Potato Chowder, 1

    (For those of you counting calories, I've added the amount for each ingredient so you can easily make tweaks without having to re-calculate everything. Anything marked with an asterisk* will vary a lot based on what you buy, so make sure to compare your label.)

    1 lb. potatoes, cut into ½” cubes (422)
    1 large onion, diced (60)
    2 Tbsp. olive oil (240)

    5 cups water (0)
    3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (11 oz., 374)
    1 can cream style corn (301*)
    1 can whole sweet corn, drained (272*)
    4 tsp./cubes chicken bouillon (20)
    1 tsp. ground Thyme (or 1 Tbsp. fresh) (4)

    1 cup heavy cream (800*)
    1 tsp. salt (0)
    1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (1)
    6 Tbsp. Real Bacon Bits for garnish (or crumbled, cooked bacon) (150)


    1) Preheat the oven to 375 F. Arrange the potatoes and onion on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and mix well to coat. Roast for 45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. (This can be done ahead of time and frozen to make dinner super quick!)

    2) In a large pot (4 quart), bring the water to a boil. Add the potatoes, chicken, both cans of corn, bouillon, and thyme to the broth. Bring it to a boil again, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. While simmering, skim the foam from the top for a cleaner broth (optional).

    3) Add the heavy cream, salt, and pepper, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve into bowls and top with bacon. Serves 8.

    Calories - 331 for 1/8

    Chicken, Corn, & Roasted Potato Chowder, 2

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    Mar. 20th, 2015

    Asian Chicken Over Noodles (Fail)

    The sauce on this Slow Cooker Chicken with Cashews recipe looked so tasty, I gave it a try for my weekday lunches (minus the cashews, because I didn't have any on hand). I generally don't like the texture chicken gets in the slow cooker, so I decided to just make it on the stove. And there is really no reason to throw this one in a crockpot ~ after browning both sides of the chicken, just add the sauce, warm it through, and the chicken is cooked through anyway. The result?

    Asian Chicken over Noodles

    The sauce has potential, but all I could taste was the vinegar! What a shame. I added more brown sugar and that really did help, but next time I'll definitely halve the vinegar (or less), and maybe replace the ketchup with oyster sauce. I think it's worth trying again.

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    Mar. 18th, 2015

    Simple Miso Soup (103 calories)

    Miso Soup is a staple of Japanese cuisine. It's often served with a bowl of rice for breakfast, and is used as a side dish for many meals. With a few ingredients you can throw together a big bowl of this tasty soup in about 5 minutes!

    Miso Soup, 1

    The basic ingredients of Miso Soup are miso paste and dashi. For the miso you can either use Shiro (white), Akai (red), or Awase (a mix of the two). I always buy Awase, but our store was out so I used half of each for this recipe. On the right you can see the instant dashi bouillon. Hondashi is the brand name, and this is the kind you will most likely find in the store. For this recipe you'll also need some tofu, green onions, and some dried wakame seaweed if you can find it. Now let's make some soup!

    Miso Soup, 3

    (For those of you counting calories, I've added the amount for each ingredient so you can easily make tweaks without having to re-calculate everything.)

    1 1/2 cups warm water (0)
    1 1/2 Tbsp. miso paste (45)
    2 1/3 oz. firm tofu (1/6 of a 14 oz. block), cut into small cubes (55)
    1/4 tsp. dried wakame seaweed (optional, 0)
    1/2 tsp. instant dashi granules (0)
    1/2 green onion, thinly sliced (3)


    1) In a microwave safe container, measure out your water. Pour a little of the water (about 1-2 Tbsp.) into your soup bowl and mix it together with the miso until you create a smooth paste.

    Miso Soup, 2

    2) Squeeze the tofu to drain them and then add them to the water along with the wakame. Microwave for 2 minutes (longer if needed, until nice & hot).

    3) Meanwhile, sprinkle the dashi and green onion over the miso paste. Just before serving, pour the hot water into your bowl and stir to mix well. Serves 1.

    Calories - 103

    (Note - Boiling the miso paste slightly alters the flavor, kills beneficial bacteria, and reduces it's health benefits. If you need to reheat the soup, try not to bring it to a boil.)



    Since this soup is so low in calories, there is plenty of room to add in some extras! I normally make mine with 1/4 of a block of tofu, which adds 30 calories. And I'd definitely recommend throwing in some Shirataki noodles for 0 calories!

    Shirataki Noodles - Zero Calories

    Try experimenting with different meats, root veggies, greens, and mushrooms. Here are some other common ingredients ~

    2 oz. mushrooms (13 calories)
    1/4 cup carrots (13)
    1/4 cup potatoes, cubed (25)
    1 oz. shrimp (28)
    1 oz. fish (30-40)

    Add the extra ingredients to the water and microwave longer if needed until very hot. Itadakimasu!

    Mar. 16th, 2015

    Grilled Pork Belly Skewers

    We love getting crispy pork belly skewers from our local Japanese restaurant, so Justin has been itching to try making some at home. A few weeks ago we tried this delicious recipe. The marinade was wonderful!

    Pork Belly Skewers

    Justin tried to cut the pork belly lengthwise into thin strips, but it was difficult to do and ended up a bit too uneven. Some areas grilled up thin & crispy while the thick spots just seemed fatty, and I really hate biting into a giant chunk of fat! As tasty as they were, I think the marinade would be just as heavenly on a leaner cut of pork next time, but I'm not sure if I can convince Justin of that! (I'll at least take over the cutting next time and cut across the meat to make small pieces like he did in the recipe.)

    Mar. 13th, 2015

    5:2 Thai Red Curry Soup (191 calories)

    This soup is a lighter version of our favorite Chicken Satay Noodle Soup. While that soup is deliciously peanutty, this version focuses on the mildly spicy red curry kick. Shirataki noodles are the perfect substitute for the thin rice noodles!

    5:2 Thai Red Curry Soup, 1 (191 calories)

    (For those of you counting calories, I've added the amount for each ingredient so you can easily make tweaks without having to re-calculate everything. Anything marked with an asterisk* may vary a lot based on what you buy, so make sure to compare your label.)

    4 cups water (0)
    2 Tbsp. soy sauce (20)
    1 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter (90)
    1 Tbsp. tomato paste (15)
    2 tsp. red curry paste (10*)
    2 tsp. chicken bouillon (10)
    1 tsp. minced garlic (0)
    1 tsp. grated ginger (1)

    3.5 oz. Shirataki noodles (0)
    3.5 oz. cooked chicken, chopped or shredded (119)

    2 cups savoy cabbage, shredded (38)
    1/3 cup apple juice (40)
    1 green onions, thinly sliced (5)
    1 cup bean sprouts (34)


    1) In a medium sauce pan, add the water, soy sauce, peanut butter, tomato paste, red curry paste, bouillon, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium.

    2) Drain the Shirataki noodles and rinse well, several times. Add the Shirataki and chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes. While the soup simmers, skim off the foam for a cleaner broth (optional.)

    3) Add the savoy and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the apple juice. You can use the green onions and bean sprouts as a garnish or stir them in. Serves 2.

    Calories - 191 for 1/2

    5:2 Thai Red Curry Soup, 2 (191 calories)

    Mar. 11th, 2015

    Secret Ingredient - Shirataki Noodles

    Did you know there is a noodle with zero calories? Shirataki noodles are made from the root of a yam (the konjac) and are almost all fiber. They are thin, white, chewy, and take on the flavor of a sauce or broth. I had used this Japanese ingredient in block form before, konnyaku, but had not tried the noodles until our recent low-calorie diet kick.

    Shirataki Noodles

    When you open the package, the liquid has a bit of a fishy smell. Rinse and drain the noodles several times before cooking, and after boiling the smell is gone. You can also use them in a stir-fry, but so far I have only tried them in soups. The texture is chewy, like the rice noodles you find in Pad Thai or Pho. There are also "Tofu Shirataki" variaties that mix in a little tofu to mimic the color and texture of egg and wheat pastas.

    One word of warning ~ since these noodles are so high in fiber, eating too much at once can give you an upset stomach if you are not used to it. I tend to eat way less fiber than I should (like half of the recommended amount), but I used a 7oz. pack of noodles in a 4 serving recipe with no problems. When I ate half a pack my tummy got a little grumpy though! I should probably start eating these more often!

    You can find Shirataki noodles at the Asian market (and some grocery stores) in the refrigerated section. At my store they are near the produce section, alongside the tofu, and only $1.50. Friday I will share a yummy soup that I made with these, so go grab a pack!

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