Quick low-cal dinners to get you back on track

By: Carolyn Malcoun  |  Monday, January 12, 2009

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen during the past month baking, cooking and roasting up a storm. And some of what I made and ate—dozens and dozens of cookies, decadent desserts, super-cheesy appetizers—wasn’t the most healthful fare. I’m not ready to get on a scale just yet to see how much damage was done. But I am ready to switch gears and eat a little more healthfully. This week’s menu is made up of dinner recipes with 350 calories or less that are ready in 30 minutes or less.
MONDAY: Moo Shu Vegetables (171 calories per serving)
Start-to-finish: 20 minutes
This vegetarian version of the classic Chinese stir-fry, Moo Shu, uses already-shredded vegetables to cut down on the prep time.
SERVING SUGGESTION: Warm whole-wheat tortillas, Asian hot sauce and extra hoisin if desired
TUESDAY: Pecan-Crusted Chicken (281 calories per serving)
Start-to-finish: 30 minutes
This recipe coats tender chicken breasts with a buttery pecans flavored with spicy chipotle and zesty orange.
SERVING SUGGESTION: Spinach salad with sliced mango and avocado and a glass of chardonnay.
WEDNESDAY: Tuscan-Style Tuna Salad (253 calories per serving)
Start-to-finish: 10 minutes
This streamlined version of a northern Italian idea is perfect for nights when you need something really quick for dinner: no-fuss, no-cook and big taste. You can even make it ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator for several days. If you do, use it as a wrap filling for the next day's lunch.
SERVING SUGGESTION: Tuck into whole-wheat pitas with romaine lettuce or over a bed of salad greens with crusty whole-grain baguette.
THURSDAY: Asian Salisbury Steaks with Sauteed Watercress (302 calories per serving)
Start-to-finish: 30 minutes
Back in the 19th century, an English doctor named J.H. Salisbury prescribed beef for all manner of ailments. We think he’d love this healthy update of the ground-beef-and-onions classic that bears his name. The sautéed watercress is an excellent foil to the meaty glazed beef.
SERVING SUGGESTION: Brown rice or rice noodles and a cold beer.
FRIDAY: Florentine Ravioli (277 calories per serving)
Start-to-finish: 20 minutes
The flavors of Italy are best expressed in simplicity: a dash of spices, a little oil and dinner’s on the table in minutes—especially if you use frozen spinach and frozen ravioli or tortellini.
SERVING SUGGESTION: Green salad with your favorite dressing and a glass of chianti.