I’m sure many of you like me get home from work and are starving and exhausted and don’t want to labor over a stove like you did over your computer all day. In my current “retired” state, I am still finding that by the end of the day, I have filled my day volunteering to save the children of the world, cleaning the house, playing with the girls, and many other random things that take a lot of energy and time; therefore, I am tired and don’t feel like cooking an involved dinner. I also have the dilemma of craving something other than another lean cuisine and have the ambition to do my Insanity workout, but anything I would order would be a million calories, and I would inevitably fall asleep immediately after eating.
Below are two recipes that feed my cravings without all of the calories. They also require only microwaving and stirring or mixing and baking, so it’s a bit therapeutic and something you can do while watching a movie on the iPad or something on tv.
Red Wine Risotto with Vegetables and Truffle Salt
Serving: 1.25 cup • 272 calories • 9.75g fat • 23.75g carbohydrates
- 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1 3/4 cups dry red wine (I used pinot noir)
- 6 teaspoons tomato paste
- Freshly ground pepper and truffle (or regular) salt, to taste
- 1 can mushrooms (in water, not oil)
- 1 can artichoke hearts (in water, not oil)
- 1 cup English peas (I used frozen peas)
- 1 can stewed tomatoes (no salt added)
- 4 ounces of ground sausage (I used Jimmy Dean spicy pork breakfast sausage)
1. Place broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering.
2. Cook the sausage and set in a strainer to drain off the extra fat/oil.
3. Drain the water from the peas, mushrooms and artichokes, then microwave the mushrooms, peas, artichoke hearts, and stewed tomatoes, and set aside until the end.
4. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is very soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.
5. Add rice in half cup increments and stir to coat.
6. Stir 1/2 cup of the hot broth and about 1/4 cup of wine into the rice; reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed. Add more broth, 1/2 cup at a time along with some wine, stirring after each addition until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
7. After you’ve added 2 cups of broth, start adding 2 teaspoons of tomato paste with each 1/2 cup of broth. Continue to cook, adding broth and wine and stirring after each addition until most of the liquid is absorbed. Season with truffle salt and pepper.
8. The risotto is done when you’ve used all the broth and wine and the rice is creamy and just tender, which takes about 20-30 minutes. At this point, stir in the vegetables and sausage, and stir for another 3-5 minutes. When ready to eat, serve 1 1/4 cup of your creamy risotto and top with a bit of parmesan cheese.
You can easily substitute any number of vegetables and meat or no meat at all. I like how the vegetables add substance and flavor without killing the nutritional value. This makes a total of 8 servings, so you will have plenty left over.
Mexican Style Stuffed Peppers
I love Mexican food. These stuffed peppers are a healthy way to fill that craving, and are packed with protein.
Serving: 1 pepper • 337 calories • 3.2g fat • 58g carbohydrates • 24g protien
- 4 bell peppers
- 1 package Lightlife Ground Mexican (you can substitute this for their Ground Original, which is a bit easier to find at most stores or you could use lean ground beef, ground turkey, shredded chicken, etc.)
- 1 can black beans
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 cup corn (I used frozen)
- 10-15 grape tomatoes, halved (you can also dice a regular tomato if that’s what you have on hand)
- 2 diced jalapenos
- 3/4 cup salsa
- 2-3 tablespoons cilantro
- Hot sauce, to taste (I used Valentina)
- Cayenne, chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste
- 75% Fat-free cheddar cheese, grated
- Fat-free sour cream
Note: you can easily leave out any of these ingredients or add others as you prefer and based on what is in your cabinet. I like my food spicy so I go heavy on the hot sauce, cayenne and chili powder. Also if you leave out the beans, it will significantly cut down on the carbs.
1. Add some salt pepper, cayenne, chili powder and hot sauce to the “meat” and microwave according to the instructions on the package.
2. Dice the onion, jalapeno, tomatoes, and cilantro.
3. Mix all ingredients.
4. Cut top off of peppers and pull out seeds and core; then stuff with mixture.
5. Bake for at least 30 minutes at 375 °F. I cooked these for an hour (because I was playing video games)
6. Cut in half and finish with a bit of grated cheese and sour cream. –>
These are quite filling and excellent left over; the flavors continue to meld together.
Happy healthy eating!