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Thursday, December 30, 2010

400 Calorie Dinner - Roast Turkey and Rice Pilaf

Today's 400 Calorie Dinner:
  • 4 oz Roast Turkey (Butterball Ready to Roast Turkey Breast)
  • 1/3 cup Brown Rice Pilaf (recipe below)
  • 1 cup Anything Goes Creamy Vegetable Soup (recipe below)
  • 1 medium orange
This dinner contains:
  • 406 calories
  • 7 grams fat
  • 9.1 grams fiber
When I need a healthy meal without much thought, I like to use a turkey breast.  Butterball makes a ready-to-roast turkey that goes straight from your freezer to the oven.  The only thing I don't like about it is that you roast it in the inner plastic bag.  I am really trying to get rid of plastic in the kitchen since I am not convinced of its safety, especially when heated.  I have, in the past, thawed the turkey and removed it from its plastic bag.  I rubbed olive oil all over the roast and then made a foil tent to help keep the turkey breast from drying out.  It takes a couple of hours to roast the turkey.  I highly recommend an oven-proof temperature probe that has an alarm when the foods reaches the temperature you desire.  For turkey, the internal temperature needs to reach 165 degrees.  The key to a moist turkey roast is pulling it out of the oven right at 165 degrees and allowing it to sit covered for about 20 minutes before you slice into it. 

The rice pilaf is pretty easy to make as well since it is cooked in the electric steamer.  This does require some advance planning.  I soak the brown rice overnight in 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  I find this improves the texture of the cooked rice, as well as increases the available nutrients by reducing the phytic acid in the rice.  If you are accustomed to white rice, then I recommend giving the soaking a try.

The vegetable soup requires a little bit of prep work, but it is a great way to use up leftover steamed vegetables.  My kids don't like eating regular vegetables, but for some reason don't mind them pureed into a soup.  So if you have picky kids, you may want to give this a try.    I have given the recipe for the veggies that I used, but feel to experiment with what you have available.  You can also use whatever spices you like.  It's a really flexible recipe.  I used a stick blender to puree it, but you can certainly leave it chunky.  My kids eat it better when they can't identify the vegetables!

Brown Rice Pilaf Recipe
  • 1 cup brown rice, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped finely
  • 1 cup chicken stock (homemade if you have it)
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Saute the vegetables in the butter until onion is translucent.  Combine with the drained rice and spices in a steamer bowl.  Steam for 1 hour.

I use an electric rice steamer for this recipe.  I never have much luck making rice on the stovetop.  However you could certainly make it on the stove.  You might want to increase the chicken stock to 1 1/2 cups though.

Anything Goes Creamy Vegetable Soup Recipe
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 6-8 cups chopped vegetables
  • 6 cups chicken broth (homemade if you have it)
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • salt, pepper, and spices to flavor
I used a large head of broccoli, 1 cup frozen spinach, 3 large carrots, and 2 stalks of celery for around 6 cups of veggies.  Oregano gives this soup a nice flavor, but feel free to experiment.

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until the onion is translucent.   Add the chicken broth and chopped veggies to the pan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the veggies are cooked.  Puree with a stick blender, then add milk.  Add spices, salt, and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

400 Calorie Dinner - Ham and Potato Casserole

Today's 400 calorie dinner:
  • 1 slice Ham and Potato Casserole (recipe below, 1/12th of the recipe)
  • 1 cup steamed Broccoli Florets
  • 10 Ranier Cherries
This dinner contains
  • 394 calories
  • 12.3 grams fat
  • 8.5 grams fiber
When most people find out I am a registered dietitian, they automatically assume that I am going to tell them they have to get rid of all their favorite foods and start eating rabbit food.  While there are some dietitians like that out there, that is not how I operate.  I love food!  My job is to help you find ways that you can still eat your favorite foods in moderation and still achieve optimal health.  I enjoy taking a relatively unhealthy recipe and find ways to make it healthier.  

This 400 calorie dinner was invented as a way of using up leftover ham from Christmas.  Since it contains eggs, it is equally good as a 400 calorie breakfast as well.  This recipe includes one of my favorite healthy food finds: Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar.  Unlike fat-free cheese, it melts wonderfully.  Using it allows you to still enjoy melty-cheesy goodness without all that extra fat.  Plus it tastes great!

Ham and Potato Casserole
  • 2 tbs coconut oil.
  • 3 lbs organic potatoes, washed and shredded
  • 3/4 lb lean ham, diced
  • 8 oz Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar, shredded
  • 8 pastured eggs
  • 1 cup non-fat sour cream
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the coconut oil into a large roasting pan and stick in the oven to melt.  (You can also use butter or olive oil.  I just prefer to use coconut oil because of its stability when heated.) Remove the pan from the oven after the coconut oil has just melted.  (It only takes a few minutes.) Tilt pan to coat.  Toss shredded potatoes in the oil and spread evenly in the pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients.

When shredded potatoes have baked for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and top evenly with the diced ham, and then the shredded cheddar.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sour cream until smooth.  Pour over the casserole.  Top with the diced onions.  Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, if desired.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until a temperature probe registers 165 degrees.  (If you used a 9x13 inch pan, it may take a little longer.)

Divide into 12 portions.  Use 1 portion for each 400 calorie dinner served.

I have included this post as part of the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Welcome to 400 Calorie Dinners!

My name is Jennifer and I specialize in 400 calorie dinners.  Having spent my twenties overweight (obese really), I finally learned that losing weight and keeping it off was going to entail keeping track of what I ate.  Along the way, I learned to pack a lot of nutrition into a little calories.

After losing 100 pounds, I went back to school and became a registered dietitian.  I wanted to help others lose the weight and keep it off.

Knowing that many other people in this country struggle with their weight, I founded 400 calorie dinners to provide sensible meal recipes choices without all the work of figuring calories.

I hope they are helpful!
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Jennifer Voss is a registered dietitian, licensed within the state of Ohio. On this blog, she discusses general nutrition information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. Any specific medical or nutrition-related health concerns should be directed to a registered dietitian or medical doctor who is familiar with your medical history.