Tag Archives: low calorie

Citrus soy cod en papillote (that’s fancy talk for fish packets, yo).

soy-and-citrus-cod-with-zucchini

Fish en papillote just means “in paper.” Or in foil. You’re going to make a packet. You’re going to use some fish. And you’re going to have a low calorie, high protein meal that tastes like you can’t believe you’ve been missing out on these. 

I set out to create a low calorie meal that I could use on days when I want a big meal, a dessert, or maybe a bourbon or two. 

The best part of this is that the cod is incredibly tender and flavorful – not fishy at all. And cooking fish in packets leaves you with almost no cleanup to do after you eat. Hooray! 

I used individually wrapped cod portions from Costco. My recipe is for just one portion, but go ahead and double, triple, or quadruple it if you family likes fish. Mine are still unbelievers, but they’ll come around eventually. 

Nutrition:
134 calories|1g fat|3g carb|24g protein|1g fiber

Citrus soy cod packets
Serves 1
A low calorie, high protein, tasty way to enjoy cod.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 sheet parchment paper or foil
  2. 4.5 ounce piece of cod (size doesn't matter all that much for cooking time. I used thawed frozen cod from Costco.)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  4. 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  5. 1 clove garlic, minced
  6. 1/4 large zucchini, cut into thin slices
  7. 1 slice of raw onion, cut into smaller pieces
  8. 1 wedge of lemon
  9. Nonstick cooking spray -preferably olive oil spray
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 425F.
  2. Lay out the parchment or foil onto a baking sheet. Spray the parchment with a bit of spray for just a wee bit of extra flavor and fat.
  3. Lay your zucchini pieces and onion onto the paper, and place the cod on top of that.
  4. Sprinkle on the garlic and ginger. Drizzle with soy sauce and squeeze the lemon wedge on top of that. You can also cut the wedge into small pieces and place into the packet.
  5. Season with a little salt. Now roll up your packet so that there's a bit of room in there but it won't come open.
  6. Place in oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork when you open your packet. Serve.
Amy Dix http://amydix.com/

Curried high protein tuna cakes with lemon sauce

tuna-cakes

Tuna and chicken are classic bro foods if you’re a lifter who needs to pack in a bunch of protein into the day. But it doesn’t need to be boring. 

I tinkered with tuna cakes and came up with a recipe that I’d eat even if I weren’t trying to build some serious muscle. High protein meals are important for fat loss too: they help you retain precious muscle and stay full. 

I designed this recipe to be very light on calories, making it perfect for a small lunch or snack on days when you want to spend your calories on a bigger meal or uh, maybe a few beers later on. 

One note: don’t use liquid egg white for these. It makes them way too goopy. Crack an egg and save the yolk for something else. 

Eat them on their own or pair with a salad for a bigger meal. Either way, I think you’ll love them as much as I do. 

Here’s the video. The full, printable recipe and nutrition info follows. Enjoy!

Nutrition for one serving: mine made 3 cakes:

138 calories|1g fat|6g carb|27g protein|2g fiber

High protein curried tuna cakes with lemony sauce
Serves 1
A high protein, low calorie way to lunch.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pouch of light tuna packed in water (or a can), drained
  2. .75 oz baby spinach, finely chopped (1 handful)
  3. 1/2 cup raw zucchini, grated and drained/squeezed
  4. 2 large egg whites
  5. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  7. 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  9. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  10. salt and pepper to taste, optional sprinkle of cayenne
Sauce for topping
  1. 1-2 Tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  2. 1 big squeeze of lemon juice
  3. Optional: a small amount of chopped cilantro or parsley to sprinkle on top.
Instructions
  1. Mix your sauce first and set aside. It's just the yogurt and lemon juice.
  2. Grate the zucchini and squeeze it well. Place into a bowl with the remaining ingredients and combine. Form into 3-4 patties.
  3. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and gently transfer the patties to the pan. They'll be slightly loose, but that's okay. They'll firm up.
  4. Cook 2-3 minutes per side and remove from heat.
  5. Top with lemon sauce and eat!
Notes
  1. These can be made ahead and reheated. Recipe is for 1 serving, but could easily be multiplied.
Amy Dix http://amydix.com/

Spicy gochujang turkey burgers with kimchi

spicy-turkey-burgerI love good turkey burgers. I hate dry, tasteless turkey burgers. 

I love high protein meals. I hate ones that are boring. 

I love low calorie meals that actually taste amazing. I hate the ones that disappoint me. 

I have needs, okay? I’ll bet you do too. I had a package of crazy lean ground turkey -97%. That means it is high in protein, low in calories per ounce, but prone to being pretty damn tasteless and dry. 

I decided I needed a turkey burger in my life, and drew upon another low calorie incredient to make them moist. Moist is a really gross word. But it’s appropriate here. Sorry. Anyway, as it turns out, if you shred zucchini and put it in your meats, they won’t dry out. But you also won’t taste the veggies. 

Turkey burgers also need some amped up flavor. So I added Korean gochujang paste for a little heat and depth: it’s the new Sriracha, for you hipster foodies out there. Grab it at the Asian store, or just swap in sriracha. 

I also wanted to include a little Worchestershire sauce for more umami. I think umami means “funky goodness”. Or that hard to describe “meaty” taste that turkey burgers often lack. Some people use anchovy paste or even Marmite, but this is what I had lying around. 

Going with my Asian theme, I included soy sauce, garlic, and some onion in my burger mix. I could have added some sesame oil, but I was attempting to create a truly lean burger. I bound it all together with an egg white instead. Yeah, I’m a fun hater. If you want to increase the calories a bit, definitely sprinkle in a bit of sesame oil because you’ll love life more. 

Top these off with a little kimchi or gild the lily with whatever you like. These are spicy, meaty, high in protein and low in calories. Serve on a bed of greens or on a half bun for a light lunch or dinner. 

Nutrition:
162 calories|4g fat|3g carb|28g protein|1g fiber

Spicy gochujang turkey burgers with kimchi
Serves 5
A high protein, low calorie turkey burger that actually isn't dry and tasteless, thanks to a few key ingredients.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Ingredients
  1. 20 ounces of 97% lean ground turkey
  2. 1 Tbsp gochujang paste
  3. 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  4. 90 grams grated zucchini (roughly half a zucchini)
  5. 80 grams raw onion (roughly half an onion), diced
  6. 1 egg white or 3-4 Tbsp liquid egg whites
  7. Optional: kimchi to top the burger after it cooks. Bun and/or greens for serving.
Instructions
  1. Grate and dice your veggies. Put into a bowl with everything else except toppers. Smoosh it up. Form into 5 patties.
  2. Heat a nonstick grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and cook 5-6 minutes per side in a covered pan.
  3. Remove from heat. Top with kimchi. Serve.
Amy Dix http://amydix.com/

Lightened up Greek Avgolemono Chicken Soup

Photo credit: chlotsrun.com

Photo credit: chlotsrun.com

If you haven’t had Avgolemono yet, it’s now time. Because it’s a bright, citrusy Greek classic and because this version is easy, low in calories, and still a perfect comfort food for all year round. 

The classic version incorporates lemons of course, along with chicken stock thickened with eggs and orzo. I made just a few small swaps: most notably, using cauliflower rice instead of orzo. 

avgolemono-soup

Someday I’ll be able to photograph food better. It was evening and this doesn’t look nearly as yummy as it is!

There’s nothing wrong with a little pasta in your soup. But on days when I want to eat a lighter meal, using low carb veggies like cauliflower or zucchini noodles helps me shave off significant calories. And the results still taste amazing. 

Also note that this version has a big chicken to “everything else” kind of ratio. That makes it incredibly high in protein for the amount of calories it contains. And perfect for staying full (with room left for dessert later). 

I used egg white in this recipe just to see if I’d miss the yolk. Egg yolks contain plenty of nutrients and I’d recommend including it if you’d like. I, however, wanted to see if I could create a very lean recipe that would leave one with plenty of room left in their day for a bigger meal.

I also wanted more of a thick stew – so I used not so much stock. If you like your soup, well, soupier, add another cup.

As it turns out, with all my tweaks, this soup is still packed with flavor. Give it a try. 

I’ve included the recipe for just one serving: gather your leftover chicken and get cooking. Nutrition information follows. 

Lightened Up Avgolemono Chicken Soup
Serves 1
A high protein, low calorie soup that's tastes just as bright and flavorful as the original.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 5.5 ounces of cooked chicken
  2. 1/2 stalk celery
  3. 1 slice of onion, diced
  4. 1 cup low-sodium light chicken stock (I used Aldi's Fit and Active. Use whatever you like.)
  5. 1 egg white
  6. Zest of 1 small lemon
  7. Juice of 1/2 lemon
  8. 1 teaspoon of dried herbs - oregano is perfect, but thyme or basil would work well too
  9. salt and pepper to taste
Prep
  1. Chop your leftover chicken into small pieces if needed and set aside. Chop your veggies, zest the lemon, and then set the lemon aside for now. Put the egg white in a small bowl and have it ready to go.
  2. In a small pot sprayed with nonstick cooking spray over medium heat, soften up the onion and celery for 4-5 minutes. Add the herb and cook for another minute or so.
  3. Add chicken stock and allow to come to a simmer. Take a ladle and remove a small amount of the stock. Whisk that slowly into the egg white. This "tempers" the egg white so that it doesn't scramble.
  4. Now add the zest and squeeze the half lemon into the egg white mixture, and return that all to the main pot. Whisk vigorously to incorporate, then add the chicken.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. Then enjoy!
Amy Dix http://amydix.com/
 Nutrition:
263 calories|6g fat|5g carbs|44g protein|2g fiber