Planning Easter Dinner

Having guests over for Easter? Attending a potluck or an event where you need to bring a dish? Then take a look at some of the perfect Easter dishes from 400 Calories or Less !

I typically make holidays my ‘Cheat Day’ for the week, but I don’t go wild – I just don’t watch quite as close as I normally do. With my low cal dishes, you can have an appetizer, soup, your meal and dessert for less than some single slices of cake (think Cheesecake Factory). So put your apron and get makin’ some Easter goodies :)

My Easter Meal Recommendation:

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms
Zucchini Pizzas
Spinach Tarts

Soup:
Lemon Soup

Dinner:
Baked Ham
Steamed Potatoes with Garlic Sauce
Lemony Green Beans

Dessert:
Chocolate Bark
Banana Cake

The mushrooms can be prepped ahead of time and cooked when the guest arrive. Same with the zucchini pizzas. The spinach tarts can be prepared AND cooked the day ahead – they reheat great in the microwave or oven.

The soup can be prepared ahead and kept warm in a crock pot set to the ‘warm’ setting.

The ham can go in the oven early, taken out while you cook the appetizers and placed back in to finish up the cooking. And the potatoes can be done ahead and you keep them warm in a crock or reheat at the last minute. Keep the steamer out and reuse it to do the beans. The beans should be done at the last minute – but it is just a steaming and quick mix with the other ingredients before you bring them to the table.

The 2 desserts can be prepared the day before.

Happy Easter and Happy Cooking !

Skinny Surf and Turf

Surf and term usually includes a large portion of meat and a lobster tail dripping in butter. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, try a Skinny Surf and Turf with a lean piece of filet mignon and some Lemon Shrimp. Just as good, much lower fat, and a perfect celebration meal.

Skinny Surf and Turf
Skinny Surf and Turf

2 servings
346 calories per serving

2 4 oz. filet mignons
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter Spray

Add 2 servings of LEMON SHRIMP for the perfect ‘surf’ !

Preheat grill. Sprinkle meat with garlic, salt and pepper. Grill a couple of minutes each side or until desired temperature. When done, spritz with ICBINB Spray.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Decadent, Delicious, Moist, and just the right amount of peanut butter. These just could not have been any better !!

Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cupcakes

30 cupcakes
235 calories per serving

1 package super moist yellow cake mix
1 ½ c water
¼ c vegetable oil
3 eggs
¾ c creamy peanut butter
1 tub ready to spread chocolate frosting
¼ c creamy peanut butter
1/3 c chopped peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees . Line muffin cups with paper liners. Beat cake mix, water, oil, eggs and ¾ c peanut butter on low 30 seconds and then on medium 2 minutes. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter and bake 20-25 minutes. Cool completely. Stir together frosting and ¼ c peanut butter and frost cupcakes. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Irish Colcannon

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made with potatoes and cabbage. It makes an excellent side dish. And it’s a perfect way to use up left over cabbage and potatoes !

Irish Colcannon
Irish Colcannon

10 servings
115 calories per serving

1 1/2 lb. potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and quartered
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c water
4 c cabbage, thinly sliced
2 T butter
1/2 c skim milk, warmed
Salt to taste

Put potatoes in a large Dutch oven and add enough cold water to cover the potatoes then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Heat a skillet and cook bacon then remove it from pan and drain. Add onions to skillet and cook 4 minutes. Add water and stir to loosen the bits stuck to the pan then add cabbage, cover and cook 7 minutes until water is evaporated. Mash drained potatoes with butter and milk then add the cabbage mix and salt and mix well.

Ginger Tea

Refreshingly sweet with a spicy ginger flavor – this is a great drink !

Ginger Tea
Ginger Tea

8 servings
73 calories per serving

8 c water, divided
1/4 c minced ginger
1/4 c honey
1/4 c molasses
3/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c cider vinegar
4 c seltzer
Lemon slices for garnish

Mix 3 c water and ginger and boil 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and let sit 20 minutes. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into a large pitcher. Add honey, molasses, lemon juice and vinegar and mix until all dissolved. Add 6 c water then chill overnight. As you serve, mix tea with ½ c seltzer and garnish each glass with a lemon slice.

Eggplant Pomodoro over Spaghetti

By using FiberGourmet pasta, you really cut down the calorie count here – and with all the added vegetables, this is a very filling meal. Thank you, FiberGourmet !!

Eggplant Pomodoro over Spaghetti
Eggplant Pomodoro over Spaghetti

6 servings
212 calories per serving

2 T oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into small cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced, 4 plum tomatoes, diced
1/3 c chopped green or black olives
2 T white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
12 oz. FiberGourmet Spaghetti
¼ c chopped fresh parsley or basil

Take cubed eggplant and place in a colander. Sprinkle with 1 t salt and mix well. Place a bowl atop the eggplant and weight it with canned goods or something heavy. This helps the bitterness leave the eggplant. Leave like that for ½ hour then rinse well and pat dry. Heat oil in a skillet and cook eggplant 10 minutes then add garlic and cook another minute. Add tomato, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook 10 more minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions and serve with the pomodoro sauce over it.

Monte Cristo Sandwich

A Monte Cristo Sandwich is dipped in egg and fried – this version adds LOTS of gooey Gruyere cheese (the kind you find on top of French Onion Soup). If you prefer a milder cheese, switch to Swiss or cheddar.

Monte Cristo Sandwich
Monte Cristo Sandwich

4 servings
350 calories per serving

1 T Dijon mustard
1 T fat free mayonnaise
8 slices Italian bread (1 oz. each) I recommend that you get a kitchen scale – it takes out the guess work !!
6 oz. deli ham, thinly sliced
1 c shredded Gruyere cheese (substitute Swiss or cheddar or jack if you don’t like Gruyere)
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 c Egg Beaters
1/4 c skim milk
Pam

Combine mustard and mayo. Spread each of 8 slices with an even amount of the mix. Then layer 4 slices each with ham and cheese. Sprinkle evenly with pepper and cover with other 4 pieces of bread. Combine eggs and milk. Dip both side of each sandwich in the mix. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and spray with Pam. Cook sandwiches 3 minutes each side or until lightly brown.

Here is a kitchen scale like I use:

Spinach Souffle

This recipe will make even the most finicky eater a spinach lover. The dish is light and fluffy with loads of cheesy flavor – the spinach flavor is definitely mellowed.

Spinach Souffle
Spinach Souffle

8 servings
149 calories per serving

1/2 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T margarine, melted
8 oz. low fat cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz. low fat cottage cheese
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 c egg beaters
20 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and well drained
1/4 t paprika
1/8 t nutmeg
Pam

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt margarine and cook onion and garlic for 6 minutes. Remove to a bowl and add cream cheese, cottage cheese, salt and pepper and beat with a mixer. Add the egg beaters 1/4 cup at a time mixing well in between and then mix in the spinach. Spray a 9 inch baking dish with Pam and place the spinach mix in the dish and sprinkle with the paprika and nutmeg then cover and back 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

Fish and Potato Chowder

What a splendid soup ! Subtle fish flavor, remarkably good broth, and just the perfect lunch on a cold, blustery day. Fish chowders made with delicate white fish are such a nice change from clam chowders. They are definitely milder and the consistency is just right.

Fish and Potato Chowder
Fish and Potato Chowder

4 servings
307 calories

2 slices bacon
3 c red potato, diced (or I used canned diced potatoes)
1 c chopped onion
3 T flour
16 oz. clam juice
2 c skim milk
1 T chopped thyme (or 1 t thyme flakes)
½ t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t onion powder
12 oz. skinless halibut fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces (or other firm white fish)
2 T chopped parsley

Cook bacon in soup pot until crisp them remove, cool and crumble. Reserve 1 T of the drippings in the pan and add potato and onion and cook 5 minutes. Then add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add clam juice and bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender (less time is needed if you use canned potatoes). Add milk and simmer (do not boil). Add spices and fish and cook 3 minutes or until fish is done. Stir in parsley at the very end and garnish bowls with crumbled bacon.

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