Eating the same old, boring salad for every meal can give even the most disciplined of individuals the dieting blues. Mix things up by keeping your meals veggie-based but adding different lean proteins and seasonings. This way, your body still gets the nutrients it needs at reduced calories but your taste buds don’t have to suffer.
1. Grilled chicken with lemon-veggie relish
You’ll want a skinless, boneless chicken breast half per person, a little olive oil and whatever fresh vegetables you can get your hands on like tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and onions. To make a lemon relish, you’ll want either a fresh lemon for the juice and peel or simply a bottled container of lemon juice that’s easy to pull out of the fridge when you need a tablespoon here or there. Additional seasonings can vary according to your tastes, but you may want black pepper, ground cumin and minced garlic.
Pound each chicken breast half to create an even surface for optimal grilling conditions. You can soak the meat in a salty brine for thirty minutes before grilling, if desired, to help lock in moisture. When ready, brush the chicken with olive oil and grill each side for five to seven minutes over medium heat until the meat is done. Prepare your vegetables ahead of time, chopping the tomatoes, peppers and onion into chunks and mixing them in a bowl with lemon juice, lemon peel and garlic according to taste. Once your chicken’s done and plated, spread a helping of the relish directly on the chicken and serve right away.
If you’re on a tighter budget when it comes to calories, bake the chicken and don’t coat the meat with olive oil. Also add more fresh vegetables to your relish so that you have a salad’s worth to help you feel full. On the other hand, if you have a few calories to spare, you can look into a tasty marinade to soak the chicken in overnight or you can add some of your favorite light barbecue sauce to the cooked chicken. As desired, you can also throw in some lime juice and peel to your veggie relish.
2. Turkey-stuffed roasted peppers
You can use any color of bell peppers that you want and you will likely be interested in preparing one pepper per person. You can basically use whatever meat mix-in that you want, but one healthy yet tasty option is ground turkey meat. Gather your favorite vegetable fillings like tomatoes and onion along with some flavorings like a tablespoon of worcestershire sauce, a couple clove’s worth of minced garlic, a dash of crushed red pepper flakes and some black pepper to taste.
Cut off the tops of your bell peppers and carefully remove all the seeds. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and then place the bell pepper bases in the water, parboiling for three to four minutes. Carefully remove the peppers from the pan. Chop up the tomatoes, onion and bell pepper tops and put the chunks in a mixing bowl. Add the meat and your choice of flavorings; stir well. Fill each bell pepper with the mixture and place the stuffed peppers in a coated baking dish. If the peppers need help standing up, you can even out the bottoms by trimming off bumps here or there. Just be careful to avoid cutting through to the inside. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for twenty minutes. At this point, remove the foil and bake for an additional fifteen minutes or until your meat mix-in is thoroughly cooked.
If you have more calories to spare, you can throw some cheese into your filling mixture or some long-grain brown rice. If you want to make sure you’re getting in more vegetables, on the other hand, go ahead and add some mushrooms and celery along with anything else you want to. If ground turkey isn’t your favorite, or even just for variety’s sake, you can opt to use shrimp, tuna or chicken chunks instead. Alternatively, you can leave the meat out and simply add more vegetables to make a nice meal for your vegetarian friends. In these cases, you may want to be sure to add in a healthy fat, like some avocado or sliced almonds, to complete the meal.
3. Teriyaki-glazed salmon & steamed asparagus
For each person, you’ll probably want both a salmon fillet and around a tablespoon of teriyaki sauce. You can use a store bought sauce or create your own glaze with soy sauce and a little bit of brown sugar or honey along with any additional seasoning you like such as ground ginger, garlic powder or sesame seeds. Make sure you pick out some nice, fresh asparagus to serve your salmon either on or with.
Coat a baking dish with a fat-free cooking spray and lay your salmon fillets down. Pour some of your store-bought or homemade teriyaki sauce onto each fillet. Bake the fish on 400 degrees fahrenheit for fifteen to twenty minutes. Meanwhile, use a rice cooker or the microwave or stove to steam your asparagus. Place the steamed veggie down on the plate before seating the salmon on top and pouring some more teriyaki sauce on, as needed.
If you need to have less sugar than what teriyaki sauce contains, you can use soy sauce as the glaze or even just some lemon juice. If you need some more calories for feeding a group, consider serving the dish with a side of long-grain brown rice. You can season the rice or keep it plain, whichever suits your tastebuds more. If salmon just isn’t your idea of a good meal, you can easily swap in another choice of fish or a chicken breast half. You can also increase the veggie content by laying the salmon on a bed of spinach, arugula and mixed salad greens along with tomatoes.
Bon Appétit! Hope you’ve found these recipes useful…