Meal Plans – Let Me Count the Calories for you !

Sometimes it’s hard to put together a meal. There are a lot of pieces to put together. You have to:

put together a balanced, nutritional meal
picture different flavor combinations so you know how they will mix
come in on target for your calorie allotment

Here I’ve put together some suggestions for you. The dinners come in under 400 calories and are balanced meals that taste good when all put together on the same plate.

Enjoy !!


Stuffed Shells Florentine

Artichoke and Tomato Salad


Roasted Chicken

Home Fries

Garlicky Side Salad


Texas Peppersteak

Baked Potato


Chicken Sausage

Zesty Coleslaw

Orzo and Herbs

Penne Chicken Primavera

The ranch dressing adds a nice kick of flavor to the chicken and then mellows out the creamy sauce in this primavera. I have lots of recipes gathered up for primavera and this is one of my favorites 🙂

Penne Chicken Primavera
Penne Chicken Primavera

4 servings
395 calories per serving

8 oz. uncooked FiberGourmet Penne pasta (without Fiber Gourmet, you have to add 80 calories per serving)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves cut into bite sized pieces
1 oz. package dry ranch dressing mix
1 T buttery spread
1 garlic clove, minced
16 oz. frozen vegetable mix (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots)
1 c skim milk
¼ c low fat cream cheese
½ c shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Place chicken and dressing mix in a zip loc bag and shake to coat it well. Melt spread and cook garlic one minute then add chicken and cook another 4 minutes to brown it some. Add veggies, cover and cook 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and stir in milk mix and cream cheese. Cook 2 minutes stirring constantly then add pasta and parmesan cheese.

Slow Cooked London Boil

This is best done in an oval 5 quart crock so the meat fits well. The meat becomes so, so tender, you can cut it with a fork. This is a great meal for busy weekdays – it takes on 10 minutes to prep and then you can be out all day and come home to a great hot meal. To make it a more complete meal, throw in some baby carrots to cook along with the potatoes and onions. Like many crock pot recipes, the potatoes can come out looking a bit rough – but let me tell you, they taste GREAT and they melt in your mouth !

8 servings
320 calories per serving

3 lb lean London broil
2 T flour
1 T mustard
1 T chili sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t cider vinegar
4 potatoes, sliced
2 onions, sliced
½ c water

Place meat in crock. Pour water around meat. Make a paste of the flour, mustard, chili sauce, Worcestershire and vinegar and rub over the meat. Add potatoes and onions. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours.

Tex Mex Wraps

The filling for these wraps would be just as good as a dip served with tortilla chips.

Tex Mex Wraps
Tex Mex Wraps

4 servings
270 calories per serving

15 oz. kidney beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz. can of corn, drained
¼ c chopped red bell pepper
¼ c thick salsa
1 T chopped cilantro
4 tortillas (80 calories Smart and Delicious)
½ c shredded light cheddar cheese

Mix beans, corn, pepper, salsa and cilantro and spread ¾ c in each tortilla and wrap. Here is a video showing you a good way to do this:

Microwave on high 1-2 minutes or until hot.

Marinated Tomatoes

This dressing was a super change from the ordinary vinegar dressing – the Dijon gave just enough tang to make the dish interesting without overpowering the flavor of the tomatoes. I am looking forward to farmer’s market tomatoes !

Marinated Tomatoes
Marinated Tomatoes

8 servings
60 calories per serving

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chopped oregano
2 T oil
1 T Dijon mustard
½ t salt
½ t pepper
½ t onion powder

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 pint yellow pear tomatoes, halved
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Combine all dressing ingredients and toss with tomatoes. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour so flavors mix.

Rosemary Chicken with White Beans

This was a perfect meal to serve for guests – tasty, elegant, refined. It was also so perfectly seasoned with the dressing, rosemary and sundried tomatoes. This is one of those recipes that will be made again and again !

Rosemary Chicken with White Beans
Rosemary Chicken with White Beans

4 servings
380 calories per serving

1/3 c low fat Italian dressing
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (3 oz. each)
¼ c water
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
¼ c chopped drained sun dried tomatoes in oil
1 t rosemary leave flakes
19 oz. cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Heat dressing in skillet and cook chicken 5 minutes per side or until browned. Reduce heat to medium low and add water, carrots, celery, tomatoes and rosemary then cover and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in beans and cover and cook 5 minutes or until beans are warm.

Rosemary Chicken with White Beans
Rosemary Chicken with White Beans

Beef and Noodle Soup

Spicy low cal soup really hits the spot – especially when you have beef chunks AND noodles ! This one really tides you over and it is so easy to do.

Beef and Noodle Soup
Beef and Noodle Soup

4 servings
210 calories per serving

½ lb. extra lean ground beef
3 ½ c water
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
1 c frozen mixed vegetables
1 t beef bouillon flavoring
2.8 oz. package beef flavored ramen noodles

Brown beef and drain then add water, tomatoes, veggies, bouillon flavoring and flavoring packet from the ramen noodles and bring to a boil. Break up ramen noodles and add to soup and cook 3-5 minutes then serve.

Lentil and Corn Pilaf

Lentils are healthy and filling, but it seems you either like them or you don’t like them – – there is no in between. I think it’s because of the dry consistency. I am a lentil lover 🙂 If you’ve never had them, give them a try ! They’re in the bean family and they are very tasty.

Lentil and Corn Pilaf
Lentil and Corn Pilaf

7 servings
130 calories per serving

2 c water
1 c dried lentils, sorted and rinsed (sorted means taking out any small rocks or bad lentils)
1/2 c chopped red or orange bell pepper
1 c corn kernels
3 T chopped parsley
¾ t chili powder
½ t garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil and add lentils. Reduce heat and cover and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are tender and if there is any water remaining, drain it the stir in the rest of the ingredients and cook on low 3-4minutes or until all is heated through.

MUFAs in Your Diet

MUFAS are monounsaturated fatty acids. They are the ‘healthy’ fats that we find in food such as avocados, olives, olive oil, dark chocolate, peanut butter, and nuts and seeds of all types. Many times people following low cal meal plans leave this out of their diets because the food items containing MUFAs are high in calories. DON’T DO IT !

For weeks I have been ‘stuck’. After dropping 30+ pounds consistently losing a pound a week, week after week, all of the sudden for a month or more I am stuck. Many dieters call this a plateau and they scream about it. I see why – here I am eating right, even lowering my daily caloric intake, my activity level is the same or higher – and I cannot continue dropping the pounds. What’s going on?

Well, I looked back and realized that I had been foregoing the MUFAs to increase other caloric intake. It was not even junk that I was adding – it was more veggies and fruits. Alas !

So last week I go back to peanut butter or yummy Barney Butter almond butter on my toast in the mornings. I add back semi-sweet chocolate chips as a nice little after lunch or dinner snack. I add back guacamole / avocado. And I add back a bit more olive oil and olives. Guess what? I’m down 2 pounds in a week !

It can only be the MUFAs ! Be sure to add them to your meal plans. As well as helping you feel satisfied (don’t all high fat items make you happy? hehehe) they supposedly also help your body flush out other not so healthy fats. Whatever the case, I am a believer – I have seen it for myself now and I’ll be making more room in my diet for the MUFAs I need to keep losing weight and reaching my goals 🙂

Turkey Stroganoff

Think Hamburger Helper without the hamburger 🙂 For the stroganoff flavoring and the noodles, I just used a box of Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff. But then I substituted turkey and added a few twists. This one is really super good !

Turkey Stroganoff
Turkey Stroganoff

4 servings
395 calories per serving

1 lb. lean ground turkey
½ t pepper
½ t salt
1 t gravy master
1 t dehydrated onion flakes
3 ½ c water
1 package beef stroganoff sauce mix
3 c uncooked medium egg noodles
½ c sour cream
½ c canned peas
Parsley for garnish

Cook turkey in a hot skillet on medium high heat until it is no longer pink. Toward the end add 1 t of Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet so that the meat gets browner and more resembles ground beef. Mix in salt and pepper, onion flakes, water, sauce mix and noodles and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook 8 minutes or until noodles are tender. Half way through, stir in the peas. Stir in sour cream and heat through on low heat. Garnish with parsley just before serving.

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