Soup & sandwich; Diet strategy: when it’s cold outside, choose complex carbs for comfort with fewer calories
This time of year, when days are cold, short and dreary, we’re drawn to comfort foods for warmth and cheer. Unfortunately, many of these dishes are high in calories and saturated fat. A serving of homemade macaroni and cheese, for example, can pack as many as 850 calories and 43 grams of fat (most of it saturated). No wonder so many of us gain weight during the winter!
It is possible to create a homey meal without a lot of unwanted calories and fat. The secret is to team up complex carbs (from whole-wheat pasta and whole-grain breads) with flavorful, high-fiber, nutrient-dense veggies like cauliflower, kale and red peppers, then add just a touch of cheese. The result: soups and sandwiches that offer all the satisfaction of high-fat winter fare with a fraction of the calories.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Note: This basic recipe lends itself well to improvisation. For an even heartier soup, add 1/2 pound diced uncooked chicken breast, medium shrimp or cubed pork tenderloin to the boiling mixture 2 minutes after adding the pasta. For variety, use seasonal vegetables (for example, add sweet potatoes, rutabagas and turnips in winter or corn, fresh tomatoes and peas in summer). You can also vary the herbs. Try fresh basil, oregano or parsley.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups small-shaped whole-wheat pasta (like ditalini or small
penne), about 8 ounces
2 cups cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup frozen lima beans
1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups chopped fresh kale
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 3 minutes, until onion is soft. Add thyme, bay leaves and black pepper and stir to coat. Add beans, broth and tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Add pasta and cook 7 minutes. Then add cauliflower, lima beans, zucchini and yellow squash. Partially cover pot and cook for 5 more minutes, until pasta is tender.
Remove from heat, stir in the kale and pesto and allow to sit for 1 minute. Remove bay leaves, ladle soup into 4 bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon Parmesan.
Nutrition score per serving (2 cups): 302 calories, 17% fat (6 g; 1.4 g saturated), 63% carbs (48 g), 20% protein (15 g), 10 g fiber, 137 mg calcium, 3.4 mg iron, 854 mg sodium.
Turkey Monte Cristo With Mango Chutney
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 6-10 minutes
8 slices whole-grain bread
4 tablespoons prepared mango chutney
12 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey breast
1 cup baby spinach leaves
4 1-ounce slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese
1 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Spread 4 slices of bread with a tablespoon of mango chutney each. Then top each bread slice with turkey, spinach, Swiss cheese and second slice of bread. Set aside.
In a shallow dish, whisk together egg substitute, milk, mustard and nutmeg. Add sandwiches and press down gently so bread absorbs liquid. Flip sandwiches to coat both sides with egg mixture. Press gently again.
Coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add sandwiches and cook 3-5 minutes per side, until egg coating is cooked and cheese melts. Serve immediately.
Nutrition score per serving (1 sand-wich): 411 calories, 20% fat (9 g; 5.6 g saturated), 43% carbs (44 g), 37% protein (37 g), 7 g fiber, 529 mg calcium, 3.4 mg iron, 1,041 mg sodium.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 9-11 minutes
Note: There’s no need to purchase a fancy sandwich press in order to make panini. Just place a clean, heavy skillet on top of your sandwiches to press and weigh them down as they grill.
Olive-oil cooking spray
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 16-ounce whole-grain baguette, cut into 4 equal pieces and halved
8 teaspoons prepared sun-dried tomato pesto
1 cup sliced roasted red peppers (from water-packed jar)
1 cup watercress leaves
8 ounces thinly sliced or shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. Add eggplant slices and cook 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Set aside.
Coat one side of each baguette piece with 2 teaspoons of the pesto. Top pesto with eggplant slices, red peppers, watercress and cheese. Coat the same large skillet or griddle with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add sandwiches. Place a clean, heavy skillet on top of the sandwiches and carefully press them down to flatten. Leave the skillet on top of the sandwiches and cook 3-4 minutes, until sandwiches are golden on bottom. Remove the top skillet, flip sandwiches and repeat process, cooking 2-3 minutes, until second side is golden and cheese melts.
Nutrition score per serving (1 sandwich): 410 calories, 28% fat (13 g; 6.4 g saturated), 47% carbs (48 g), 25% protein (26 g), 11 g fiber, 691 mg calcium, 3 mg iron, 566 mg sodium.
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Chicken Noodle Soup With Whole-Wheat Pasta
In a large stockpot, combine 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, 1/2 pound diced skinless, boneless chicken breast (raw or cooked), 1 cup each diced carrots and celery, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, add 4 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti (broken into 2-inch pieces) and simmer 10-12 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups baby spinach leaves along with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley. Serves 4.
Nutrition score per serving (1 1/2 cups): 224 calories, 8% fat (2 g; <1 g saturated), 46% carbs (25 g), 46% protein (25 g), 4 g fiber, 70 mg calcium, 2.9 mg iron, 546 mg sodium.
By Robin Vitetta-Miller, M.S.
Photography by Pornchai Mittongtare
Robin Vitetta-Miller, M.S., a food writer based in Scottsdale, Ariz., enjoys making soup and sandwiches for her sons, Kyle and Luke, and husband, Darrin.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Weider Publications
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