Tag Archives: italian

Pesto Chicken Salad

I make this one up the night before and let refrigerate overnight. The pesto and cheese make a rich sauce and all the flavors here just combine really well.

Pesto Chicken Salad
Pesto Chicken Salad

1 serving
288 calories per serving

1/4 c cooked FiberGourmet* pasta (regular whole wheat pasta will certainly do, it will just raise the calorie count)
1 T pesto
3 oz. diced cooked chicken (Perdue Shortcuts)
1 c halved grape tomatoes
3/4 c shredded carrots
2 T shredded parmesan

Mix all together and refrigerate a couple of hours before eating.

*FiberGourmet is this awesome pasta that has way fewer calories than even whole wheat pasta and other specialty pastas. I buy it online at Amazon and use it in soups, salads, dinner sides, mac and cheese, etc. By using it instead of other types, I can really increase the amount I can eat and that’s good because I LOVE PASTA !! 🙂

Lasagna (Crock Pot)

Even traditional lasagna lovers like this one – and it is nice and easy to do. Start it at lunch time and have dinner ready 4 hours later. Take a look at my video below for instructions on how to layer it in your crock.

Lasagna (Crock Pot)
Lasagna (Crock Pot)

8 servings
275 calories per serving

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 c diced eggplant
1 jar Paul Newman’s marinara sauce
1/4 t red pepper flakes
¼ t garlic powder
¼ t onion powder
¼ t basil flakes
1 c water
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
1 T chopped parsley
1/4 c Egg Beaters
1 c shredded parmesan cheese (not grated, shredded)
8 no boil lasagna noodles

Brown the ground beef in a heated skillet and drain off any fat and water. Stir in the pepper, sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, basil flakes, water, and eggplant. In a bowl combine the egg, cheeses and parsley. Place a layer of meat sauce on the bottom of a crock pot. I find my oval shaped on works the best here. Top with 2-3 noodles, nipping off the corners in order to get a nice fit. Add another layer of meat sauce and then one thick layer of the cheese mixture. Top with a final layer of noodles and then a final layer of meat sauce. Cover and cook on low 3-4 hours.

Here is a video of how to layer it up in the crock pot:

Caesar Salad with Shrimp

This is a nice protein packed lunch that’s not short on flavor – add some extra garlic if you like your Caesar extra zippy.

Caesar Salad with Shrimp
Caesar Salad with Shrimp

2 servings
220 calories per serving

6 c chopped romaine lettuce
4 T shredded parmesan cheese
8 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T lemon juice
2 T low calorie Caesar dressing

Combine lemon and garlic in a small bowl and add shrimp. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour. Spray a skillet with Pam and add shrimp. Cook until pink about 3-4 minutes. Pour shrimp over lettuce and top with dressing and shredded cheese.

Eggplant Pizza

This one really hits the spot ! I spice it up a little by adding crushed red pepper flakes 🙂 Don’t like eggplant, then substitute tomato slices. But be sure to give this one a try.

Eggplant Pizza
Eggplant Pizza

4 servings
295 calories per serving

1/2 c marinara sauce
1 10 oz. Boboli (precooked pizza shell available at all food markets)
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into thin slices
1/2 c part skim ricotta
2 T parmesan cheese
2 T thinly sliced basil
Dried oregano flakes
Onion powder
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread sauce on Boboli. Sprinkle with a little dried oregano flakes, onion powder and garlic powder. Top with eggplant slices and drop ricotta by tablespoonfuls evenly over the eggplant. Bake directly on oven rack 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and parmesan right when it comes out of the oven.

Sauteed Escarole

This is one of my favorite dishes at Italian restaurants. It may seem like a lot of escarole to start, but it cooks down a TON. My version is the super garlic version – feel free to tone it down by using half the recommended garlic !

Sauteed Escarole
Sauteed Escarole

4 servings
87 calories per serving

2 T olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 c cleaned and chopped escarole
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t garlic powder
OPTIONAL – 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly so that the garlic does not burn and get bitter. Add escarole a few handfuls at a time and mix every 30 seconds or so making sure all escarole comes in contact with the bottom of the pan so it heats and wilts. Once wilted a bit, add salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking 5 minutes or until to desired doneness. You can take it off while there is still some crunch to the larger pieces, or I like to cook it all down quite a bit and serve it very wilted and cooked.

Cavatelli with Escarole

This is one of my absolute favorites and I have made it many times. It’s a great meal to serve for guests as they do not feel like they are on a diet (just give them bigger portions) and you don’t have to break your 400 calorie habit when entertaining !

Cavatelli with Escarole
Cavatelli with Escarole

4 servings
359 calories per serving

8 oz frozen cavatelli
1 1/2 t oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. escarole
1 can small white beans, drained and rinsed
1 c low fat chicken broth
1/4 t salt
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

Cook the cavatelli according to package instructions. Drain and keep warm. In a Dutch oven or large pot heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Clean the escarole, trimming away any bad spots and getting rid of the tough outer leaves and then chop it or tear it into pieces about the same size you would make them for a salad. Add a handful of escarole at a time to the pot stirring until it is all mixed well. Cook 5 minutes. Add the beans and cook 5 or more minutes, or until the escarole is wilted. Add the broth and salt and garlic powder and cook 5 minutes. Add the cavatelli and cook a minute or so, just to heat through pasta. Remove from pan, sprinkle with cheese, and serve immediately.

Tortellini Alpesto

Cheese tortellini, even in smaller portions, are very filling and satisfying. This meal also packs in tons of veggies and a great sauce that sooooo does not say diet. It’s almost a pesto alfredo the way the sauce flavors combine.

Tortellini Alpesto
Tortellini Alpesto

4 servings
335 calories per serving

9 oz refrigerated cheese tortellini
16 oz frozen broccoli stir fry vegetables
8 oz fat free sour cream
2 T pesto sauce (Buitoni makes a good one)
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1/8 t pepper
¼ t garlic powder
Salt to taste

Cook tortellini and vegetables together in 3 quarts of water 7-9 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl. Combine sour cream, pesto, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Stir into pasta and veggies. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Rice and Pasta with Parmesan Cheese

Tasty, Tasty, Tasty !  This beats the pants off a 300+ calorie serving of Rice a Roni.  Serve with Sauteed Spinach with Garlic and Crock Pot 20 Clove Chicken for a great complete meal under 400 calories.

Rice and Pasta with Parmesan Cheese
Rice and Pasta with Parmesan Cheese

6 servings
166 calories per serving (serving = 2/3 cup)

2 T oil
½ c vermicelli broken into very small pieces
1 c white rice
1 ¼ c hot vegetable or chicken stock or broth (Emeril’s is great !)
¼ t pepper
Salt to taste
2 bay leaves
1 t parsley flakes
2 T parmesan or romano cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add vermicelli and sauté until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add in rice, broth and water along with salt and pepper, bay leaves and parsley. Cover and simmer on medium low 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and let stand covered 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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