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Lowfat & Fast Dinner Recipes: Real Food for Busy People

An important part of low-fat eating is to focus on complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain breads, pasta, beans, brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, and potatoes—along with LOTS of fruits, vegetables, and small amounts of lean meats. See A Foundation Food Plan, the Volumetrics Section for ideas on "eating large". The section shares the value of eating foods that are high in water and fiber content (soups, salads, veggies & fruits, and low in fats and sugars) in helping people feel full while taking in fewer calories.
Nancy Becker, MS, RD, ID, and Sandy Miller, MS, RD, ID, have developed the following tasty, lowfat recipes, all of which are simple, wholesome, and fast. “Fast” means these meals can be prepared in no more than 20 to 30 minutes. Enjoy making these recipes as printed, or adapt them to suit your own tastes!

Source: Lowfat & Fast…Real Food for Busy PeopleÔ  (cooking video) By Nancy Becker, MS, RD, LD and Sandy S. Miller, MS, RD, LD ©1996, Permission granted

To fuel-up your body in a healthful manner I have found this food pyramid offers wonderful suggestions:

The Healing Foods Pyramid from the University of Michigan Integrative Medicine: Healing Foods Pyramid and to print off as a color PDF file:  For a PDF: Healing Foods Pyramid.pdf

Explore terrific guideline suggestions to apply the pyramid in your life:  There is also a wonderful discussion of the value of nurturing ourselves with these wholesome food choices.

Check out other plans at the FOUNDATION FOOD PLAN SECTION

For delicious culinary fun explore Making Quick Dinners: Dinner? What's Quick and Easy? and What Does Bob Typically Eat In Any Given Day?.

Pasta Primavera

Makes 4 servings
12 ounces dried pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3–4 cups broccoli florets and stems
½ chicken bouillon cube
½ cup water
½ cup white wine
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Cook pasta, drain, and set aside. In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add broccoli to
pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add bouillon cube, water, and wine, and stir until broccoli is bright
green and bouillon has dissolved. Combine with pasta and top with Parmesan cheese, pepper, and
red pepper flakes, if desired.
390 calories, 9 grams fat, 345 milligrams sodium per serving (about 2 cups pasta with
Can be made with asparagus, zucchini, mustard greens, or any combinations of vegetables in place
of broccoli.

Pasta with Black Beans and Corn

Makes 4 servings
6 ounces dried rotini pasta
Vegetable oil spray
1 teaspoon garlic, minced (or ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
½ cup onion, chopped
1 can (15 ounces) chopped stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) corn kernels, drained
½–1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
Cook pasta, drain, and set aside. Spray a large pot with vegetable oil spray; sauté garlic and onion
until tender. Stir in tomatoes, beans, corn, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Bring to a boil,
reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta to bean mixture in pot, toss
gently, and heat thoroughly.
360 calories, 2 grams fat, 500 milligrams sodium per serving (about 1½ cups).
Substitute kidney or garbanzo beans for black beans.
Any small pasta will work, such as macaroni, shells, or bow ties.
Pasta with clam sauce
Makes 4 servings
12 ounces dried pasta
2 10-ounce cans whole baby clams, undrained
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
Juice of one large lemon or 1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Cook pasta, drain, and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except the pasta. Heat
until just boiling. Pour over hot pasta and serve.
320 calories, 8 grams fat, 315 milligrams sodium per serving (about 1½ cups).
Substitute 2 cans (6 ounces each) of albacore tuna packed in water for the clams.
Whole baby clams work much better than chopped clams.
Be sure to use fresh parsley, or omit.

Baked Herbed Fish with Rice

Makes 4 servings
2 cups uncooked rice
1½ pounds catfish or other fish fillets
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Pinch of salt or lite salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup onion, chopped
1 cup white wine or skim milk (not both)
Sprinkle of paprika (optional)
Start rice cooking. Preheat oven to 400º. Place fish fillets in baking dish. Combine oil with thyme,
salt, and garlic. Spread over fish. Top with onions. Pour wine (or skim milk) over the fish. Bake for
10-15 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. Serve with rice, using the pan juices as a sauce.
580 calories, 6 grams fat, 445 milligrams sodium per serving (approximately 4 ounces
fish with 1½ cups rice).

Beef Stir Fry with Rice

Makes 4 servings
2 cups uncooked rice
Sauce ingredients:
¾ cup hot water
½ teaspoon beef bouillon base (or ½ cube)
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 rounded tablespoon cornstarch
Vegetable oil spray
12 ounces beef sirloin, sliced in thin strips
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½–1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
½–1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced
1 cup pea pods
1 can (5 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
Start rice cooking. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Spray a non-stick skillet or wok with
vegetable oil spray and sauté beef strips until barely done. Remove beef and set aside. Measure
sesame oil into wok and add ginger and garlic. Add celery and red pepper, cooking 1 minute. Add
pea pods and water chestnuts followed by the sauce and beef strips. Cook 1 or 2 minutes longer,
allowing sauce to bubble and thicken. Serve over hot rice.
530 calories, 5 grams fat, 480 milligrams sodium per serving (about 1½ cups stir-fry with
1½ cups rice).
Substitute chicken, turkey tenderloin, halibut shrimp, scallops, pork loin, or tofu in
place of beef.
Any combination of vegetables will work. Experiment with your favorite veggies.
To save time and keep fresh ginger root fresh, chop in food processor and freeze in
small container.

Chicken Picanté with Rice

Makes 4 servings
2 cups uncooked rice
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (16 ounces)
Vegetable oil spray
¾ cup fresh salsa
¼ cup Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
Start rice cooking. Cut chicken into two-inch cubes. Spray a non-stick skillet with vegetable oil
spray. Heat skillet and sauté chicken cubes until browned (about 10 minutes depending on
thickness). Meanwhile, combine salsa, mustard, and lemon juice. Pour over chicken and simmer for
2 or 3 minutes until sauce is heated and chicken is completely cooked. Serve over rice.
530 calories, 4 grams fat, 510 milligrams sodium per serving (3 ounces chicken with 1½
cups rice).
The sauce is excellent served over baked potatoes.
Sauce can be thinned by adding ½ cup of water, if desired.

Focaccia Pizza

Makes 4 servings
Focaccia bread
1 cup low-fat or fat-free spaghetti or marinara sauce
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded skim-milk, lite, or fat-free mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400º. Cut focaccia bread into 2 flat circles. Place cut side up on a baking sheet.
Spread each half with about ½ cup of the spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoon of
the Parmesan and ¾ cup shredded mozzarella. Bake for 15–20 minutes until cheese is melted.
429 calories, 9 grams fat, 1,290 milligrams sodium per serving—if made with skim-milk
mozzarella cheese OR 384 calories, 3 grams fat, 1,339 milligrams sodium per serving—if
made with fat-free mozzarella cheese (¼ total recipe).
Try different breads for the “crust,” such as thawed frozen bread dough, pita bread, or
French bread.
Try vegetable toppings such as green or red peppers, steamed broccoli, mushrooms,
onions, or artichoke hearts (packed in water).
Small amounts of flavorful meats can be used. Try smoked turkey, Canadian bacon, lean
ham, turkey ham, or one ounce of chopped pepperoni.

Chicken Fajitas

Makes 4 servings
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
8 low-fat flour tortillas
Seasoning mixture:
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon water
Vegetable oil spray
1 small onion, sliced
1 green or red pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons nonfat sour cream or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons salsa
Cut chicken into long, thin strips. Warm tortillas in oven (wrap in foil) or microwave (cover with
towel). Combine seasoning mixture in a bowl, add chicken strips. Marinate chicken while slicing
onion and pepper. Sauté onion and pepper in oil-sprayed skillet until cooked but still crisp; remove
from pan. Sauté chicken for 2–3 minutes until done. Add onion/pepper mixture and leftover
marinade. Cook an additional minute. Add a little water if too dry. Fill warmed tortilla with chicken,
top with nonfat sour cream or yogurt and salsa.
330 calories, 7 grams fat, 470 milligrams sodium per serving (2 fajitas)
Red beans and rice
Makes 4 servings
2 cups uncooked rice
Vegetable oil spray
½ cup onion, chopped
1 can (14.5 ounces) Cajun-flavored stewed tomatoes
2 cans red beans (15 ounces each), rinsed and drained
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies
3–6 drops Tabasco sauce
Start rice cooking. Coat a medium-sized pot with vegetable oil spray, sauté onion until tender. Add
stewed tomatoes, beans, chilies, and Tabasco sauce. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over a
bowl of cooked rice.
530 calories, 1 gram fat, 650 milligrams sodium per serving (1¼ cups beans with 1½
cups rice).
Substitute black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans in place of red beans.
Regular stewed tomatoes can be used in place of Cajun-style.
A small amount of meat can be added, such as 3 ounces of lean chopped ham, lean
sausage, or cooked, drained ground beef.

Black Beans with 100 Uses

Makes 4 servings
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup water (can also use a 15-ounce can of cut tomatoes to increase flavor and nutrient content--instead of water)
½ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves, broken in half
Pinch of salt or lite salt
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2–3 drops Tabasco sauce
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Black beans with
100 uses can be stored in the refrigerator for several days; simply heat and serve.
165 calories, 1 gram fat, 500 milligrams sodium per serving (1 cup).
Just a few of the 100 uses:
Burritos, tacos, or taco salad.
Served over rice and topped with salsa.
Served over pasta.
Dilute with water for Black Bean Soup (puree, if you like it smooth).
Try them with low-fat tortilla chips and low-fat grated cheese for nachos.
Use your imagination…

No Time At All?
Here are some suggestions for quick low-fat meals that can be on the table in 15 minutes or less.
Meals can be easy if you plan ahead, keep some of these foods on hand, and keep it simple.
Low-fat veggie burgers such as Gardenburger® by Wholesome & Hearty, Inc.
Microwaved “baked” potatoes with low-fat toppings such as salsa and reduced-fat
cheddar cheese or low-fat canned chili.
Low-fat soups, soup mixes, and ramen. Add frozen vegetables, leftover rice, or pasta.
Burritos made with tortillas and canned nonfat refried beans.
Pasta with low-fat or fat-free tomato pasta sauce.

See also: Quick Vegetarian Main Dish Ideas, Stoveless Meals, and Nutritious and Yummy Snacks.

             Copyright © 2001-2018 Bob Wilson BS, DTR  All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!