300 calorie meals can boost that new year's resolution

January 9, 2013 10:21:04 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


So, how are we doing? Nine days into 2013, and it's safe to say a notable percentage of Americans who resolved to drop a few pounds are slip-sliding away. If you made that resolution, no doubt your commitment is built of sterner stuff. If you're counting calories in a quest to a healthier weight, perhaps a few suggestions for meals that are 300-calories-or-less will shore up your arsenal. 


Trimming calories doesn't have to mean throwing out flavor. Today's recipes deliver satisfying taste and a bit of zest. 


How about a cheesy tomato tart? This one from Cooking Light is meat-free and cream-free, but olives, shallots and herbs add richness.  


Chef Ed Kenny of Honolulu offers a pan-roasted fish with Mediterranean sauce. He (naturally) likes to use Hawaiian fish, like mahimahi and onaga (long-tailed snapper), but any type of meaty, white fish will work. 


For a new take on huevos rancheros, try your eggs baked right in a pastry. The recipe for this crescent tart seasoned with chipotle powder and oregano, served with black beans, comes from Betty Crocker. 


Feeling like steak? Yes, you can watch the calorie count and still dine on filet mignon. Try the recipe for filet with an herb and garlic rub; serve it with potato wedges and broccoli florets.  


Despite all the diets out there, getting to our desired body weight still comes down to calories in and calories out. Reducing the intake can be as simple (I didn't say "easy") as skipping high-calorie, low-nutrition foods, swapping high-calorie foods for lower calorie options and reducing portion sizes.  


Upping calories out can start with something as basic as pledging to add 200 steps to every day and increasing it weekly, or making it a habit to get up during every TV commercial and simply move. Slow and steady wins the race. And remember, the year is young. 






Total time: 32 minutes 


Makes 4 servings (1 filet, 1/2 cup sauce) 




1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 


1 1/2 teaspoons butter 


2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato 


1 1/2 tablespoons capers 


1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 


3 garlic cloves, minced 


1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 


1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives 


1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon 


3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 


3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided 


1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 


1 tablespoon canola oil 


4 (6-ounce) yellowtail snapper fillets, skin on 




  • Heat olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomato to pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in capers, Dijon mustard, and minced garlic; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, chives, tarragon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper; keep warm. 


  • Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add fish to pan, skin side down; cook 3 minutes or until skin is browned. Turn fish over; cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Serve fish with the sauce. 


    (Source: Chef Ed Kenney, Honolulu, Cooking Light, November 2011) 






    Prep time: 1 hour, 5 minutes 


    Makes 8 servings  




    1/2 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough 


    Cooking spray 


    2 1/2 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 2/3 cup) 


    1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped 


    1/3 cup sliced shallots 


    3 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices 


    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 


    1 tablespoon cornmeal 


    1 tablespoon thyme 


    1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 


    1/2 teaspoon pepper 


    1 1/4 cups 2 percent reduced-fat milk 


    1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 


    3 large eggs 


    2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves 


    1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered 




  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 


  • Roll dough to a 12-inch circle; press into a 9-inch deep-dish tart or springform pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with fontina, olives and shallots. Arrange half of tomato slices over shallots. Combine flour, cornmeal and thyme; sprinkle over tomatoes. Top with remaining tomato slices; sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. 


  • Combine milk, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and eggs; pour into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set; let stand 10 minutes. Top with basil. 


  • Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt and cherry tomatoes. Slice tart; serve with cherry tomatoes. 


    (Source: Julianna Grimes, Cooking Light, August 2012) 






    Prep time: 20 minutes 


    Total time: 40 minutes 


    Makes 4 servings 




    1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls 


    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves 


    1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder 


    1/4 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt  


    4 eggs 


    1 can (14.5 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes, undrained 


    1/4 cup chopped onion 


    1 clove garlic, peeled 


    1 can (15 ounce) black beans, drained, rinsed 


    1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese 


    Avocado slices, if desired 




  • Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. Separate dough into four rectangles on cookie sheet. Firmly press perforations to seal. For each rectangle, roll edges toward center and form a 3 1/2-inch diameter round with a 1/2 inch rim. Press rim firmly to seal. 


  • In small bowl, mix oregano leaves, 1/4 teaspoon of the chipotle chili powder and the salt. Sprinkle over dough rounds. Break 1 egg in center of each dough round. (Egg may run over slightly.) 


  • Bake 16-18 minutes or until egg whites and yolks are firm, not runny. 


  • Meanwhile, in a blender, place tomatoes, onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and remaining 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder. Cover; blend until smooth. In 2-quart saucepan, heat tomato mixture over medium-high heat 4-5 minutes or until hot. 


  • Remove and reserve 3/4 cup mixture from saucepan; cover to keep warm. Add beans to remaining mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently, mashing beans slightly with back of wooden spoon until slightly thickened. 


  • For each serving, place about 1/3 cup bean mixture on plate with egg tart. Serve with reserved sauce, cheese, avocado slices and remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro. 


    (Source: bettycrocker.com) 






    Total time: 25 minutes 


    Makes 6 servings 




    1 package (16 ounces) frozen stir-fry vegetable blend 


    2 packages (6 ounces each) ready-to-use grilled chicken breast strips 


    1/2 cup fat-free Italian salad dressing 


    3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese 


    6 flour tortillas (8 inches), room temperature 




  • In a large saucepan, cook vegetables according to package directions; drain. Stir in the chicken, salad dressing and cheese. Simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes or until heated through. Spoon about 3/4 cup down the center of each tortilla; roll up tightly. 


    (Source: tasteofhome.com) 








    2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic 


    1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil 


    1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme 


    1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary 


    1/2 teaspoon salt 


    1/4 teaspoon black pepper 


    4 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (1 inch thick) 


    Cooking spray 




  • Combine first six ingredients in a small bowl; rub evenly over steak. 


  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steaks to the pan, and cook for four minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. 


    (Note: Place florets in a microwave-safe bowl with a little water. Cover with wax paper and microwave at high for three minutes or until crisp tender. 


    (Source: cookinglight.com)

    Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.