Summer Meals: Tips & Recipes for Easy Meals (cont.)

9. Microwave nachos make a fun and light dinner, if you use reduced-fat or low-fat tortilla chips and top them with beans, extra-lean meats, reduced-fat cheese, and chopped tomatoes and other assorted vegetables. Prepare your plate of nachos, then microwave on high for a couple of minutes. Dab a dollop of salsa or fat-free sour cream on top.

10. Toast up a mini pizza. Spread bottled pizza or marinara sauce on pita bread, flatbread, tortilla, or a bagel cut in half (the more fiber your "crust" contains, the better). Top with shredded, reduced-fat cheese and any vegetable or lower-fat meat. Pop into the toaster oven, and cook at 400 degrees until the cheese melts.

'Some Assembly Required' Recipes

Insalata Caprese (Pasta Salad)

Journal as: 3/4 cup starch with 1 teaspoon fat + 1/2 cup vegetable without added fat + 2 ounces low-fat cheese

If you boil the pasta in the morning, drain, and let chill in the refrigerator, all you have to do is toss the ingredients together and dinner is served!

4 cups cooked whole-grain pasta blend, cooled
2 cups ripe cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, cut or torn into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
16 slices reduced-fat salami, quartered (optional)

  • Place all the ingredients in a medium serving bowl and toss to blend well.
  • Cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 360 calories, 19 grams protein, 42 grams carbohydrate, 14 grams fat (5.5 grams saturated fat, 7.1 grams monounsaturated fat, 1.2 grams polyunsaturated fat), 24 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams fiber, 195 milligrams sodium. Calories from fat: 35%.

Toaster-Oven Pesto Salmon

Journal as: 1 serving lean fish with sauce

1 1/4 pound salmon filet, cut into 4 pieces
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons white wine (or substitute non-alcoholic beer)
2 tablespoons pesto (I like Armanino Farms frozen pesto), thawed
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)

  • Cover the toaster oven pan with foil, and then coat the foil with canola cooking spray. Place salmon filets, skin-side down, on the foil-lined pan.
  • Squeeze one of the lemon halves over the salmon, then drizzle the white wine over it. Let it marinate for 15 minutes while you preheat the toaster oven's broiler.
  • Spread 1/2 tablespoon of the pesto over each serving of salmon. Broil until fish flakes and flesh is opaque and light pink (about eight-10 minutes per inch of thickness, depending on your toaster oven; cooking time was about 15 minutes total with my toaster oven). The pesto will form a nicely browned crust.
  • Cut the remaining lemon in thin slices. Garnish each salmon piece with toasted pine nuts (if desired) and a couple of lemon slices.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 230 calories, 29 grams protein, 2 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fat (1.8 grams saturated fat, 3 grams monounsaturated fat, 3.6 grams polyunsaturated fat), 79 milligrams cholesterol, 0.2 grams fiber, 111 milligrams sodium. Calories from fat: 46%.

California Roll Wrap

If the popular California Roll type of sushi were a sandwich, this is what it would be. I used fresh crab meat because it was on sale, but use imitation crab if you prefer.

Journal as: 1 serving sushi + 1slice bread

3 tablespoons light cream cheese
3 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
4 green onions (the white and part of the green), chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 pound fresh crabmeat (free of bones)
Pepper to taste
6 whole-wheat 8-inch tortillas (or the tortilla of your choice)
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon wasabi powder, combined with 1 tablespoon cold water
1 large avocado, quartered, pitted and sliced

  • Add cream cheese, sour cream, green onions, and crab to food processor and pulse until well blended (about five seconds). Add pepper to taste.
  • Soften the tortillas by wrapping in a slightly damp cloth and microwaving on HIGH for about a minute.
  • Spread one-sixth of the crab mixture on each tortilla. Then top each with about 12 thin slices of cucumber. Spread a small line of the wasabi mixture down the center of each tortilla (use more or less depending on your taste). Top the wasabi with the avocado slices.
  • Fold one end of each tortilla up toward the center, then continue to roll until you have a wrap (with the avocado in the center of each wrap).

Yield: 6 wraps

Per wrap: 200 calories, 13 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrate, 7.5 grams fat (1.8 grams saturated fat, 3.4 grams monounsaturated fat, 1.2 grams polyunsaturated fat), 42 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams fiber. Calories from fat: 30%.

Originally published Monday, July 26, 2004
Medically updated June 22, 2005

©2004-2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

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