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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Side Dishes

If you're a single girl like me, you're always on a diet. Usually some fad diet, something you read in cosmo, something your sister's friend's cousin tried and lost a bazillion pounds doing, something Kim Kardashian promised would work. Bottom line: the only way to actually loose weight is to eat clean and work out.

For me, the most difficult part is keeping a healthy diet. It is so much easier to making easy mac and eat a bag of cheetos and chocolate covered pretzels than make something healthy, clean and unprocessed. This is great (not at all?) because everything unhealthy is easy to make and everything healthy takes nine years to cook when you're already basically knawing your arm off in starvation.

Another problem I have is that I can never figure out any sort of good side dishes. I get the protein portion-- chicken, steak, salmon, turkey burger, but what is a good, low calorie side dishes? So here, I present you three of my favorite quick, easy and healthy sides. 

Oh, and I added the "lazy versions" of these recipes at the end, because ultimately, I'm lazy and hungry and just want something delicious right now.

Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

This recipe is seriously as easy as it gets. The recipe makes two servings (save half for lunch!) and is only 108 calories per serving (So even when things get out of control and you eat the entire tray like me, you're not totally screwed). 

Here are those other details people care about: Fat: 4.7g, Protein: 1.1 g, Carb: 15.8 g, Fiber: 2.0 g  

You need:
  • 1 sweet potato, (about 5" long) peeled and cut into 1/4" fries
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • ground chipotle chile
  • garlic powder
Preheat oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, garlic powder and chipotle chile powder. Spread potatoes on a baking sheet. Avoid crowding so potatoes get crisp. Bake 20 minutes. Turn and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Ovens may vary so keep an eye on them and be sure to cut all the potatoes the same size to ensure even cooking.

That's it. If you're super lazy, just cut up the potato, spray with cooking spray on both sides and add salt and pepper...still delicious.

Orzo Stuffed Peppers

These are an awesome and quick side. They also look fancy so I like to serve them when I have company. 

The dirty deets: Calories: 247, Fat: 7.4g, Protein: 10 g, Carb: 41g, Fiber: 3.0 g

 You need:
  • 1 cup dry orzo (or 1 cup dry Quinoa for a lower calorie option)
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 small bell peppers, halved and seeded

Preheat oven to 400°. Cook orzo/ quinoa according to package directions in salted water; drain. Return to pot. Add arugula, feta, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper; stir.
Season inside of peppers with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Fill peppers; transfer to a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with foil; bake until peppers are tender, approximately 35-40 minutes.

Serve, enjoy, love. The lazy version of this is to cook up a cup of Orzo or Quinoa or even brown rice after you saute two large handfuls of spinach in pan with olive oil. Mix together in a bowl, sprinkle with feta to your liking. It tastes amazing and its really quick to throw together.


Zucchini Tots

These are a really quick alternative to fries or tater tots with so, so many less calories. I adapted this recipe myself, so I suspect a serving of 6 is about 150 calories. Once again, the recipe will yield two servings so you can save half. I love this as a side to a lighter sandwich.


You need:

  • 1 cups Zucchini, grated
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Onion, diced (I leave this out because I hate onions, but my mother insists)
  • 1/4 cup Shredded Cheese (Cheddar or Parmesan work the best)
  • 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Italian Style Bread Crumbs
  • Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach; if you skip this part, the middle of the zucchini tots will be REALLY SOGGY while the outside gets crispy and no one wants that. I'm not joking, don't be lazy about this step. In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set. 

There isn't really a lazy way to do this. It takes a bit more energy because you actually have to grate the Zucchini yourself. My lazy recommendation here is to con your roommate/significant other/mother/etc. into doing that part for you. Once that's over, you're golden. If you like spicy, add a little cayenne pepper or a chopped up jalapeno. It adds a great kick to an otherwise super boring meal.

Going to try any of these out? Cooked something similiar? Got other healthy side dish recipes to share? Comment and let me know!

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