We love food. And we really love going out for a nice din-din on the town. However,our waistlines don’t so much if it’s too common of an occurrence. That’s why today’s post is all about creating a nice dinner that you could have out, but instead have in to keep it healthy on your terms. (And you save a little dough.) It also gives us the chance to share three fun new food products to keep it feeling decadent (when really it’s not)!
Appetizer: Roasted Veggies
I’ve been on the biggest roasted veggies kick for the last few months. Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus—if I can roast it in the oven, I will. Amazingly, when you roast veggies they become little bites of rich-deliciousness. And all they need is a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. This is how I normally make them, but a few weeks ago I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! sent us some coupons to try their original butter. And I thought to myself, “What better way to test its buttery-ness than on my beloved roasted veggies?” And so I did.
It was awesome. Plenty of butter flavor and with 70 percent less saturated fat than butter and none of that hydrogenated oil that margarine is known for. Plus it has omega-3s in it, and at only 70 cals a tablespoon, I could get my fair share of butter without totally outdoing my good deed of veggie eating. They call that heaven, folks.
Try at home: Take your fave raw veggie, throw them in a pan coated with non-stick cooking spray, sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon or two of butter and roast at 425 degrees until crisp-tender and slightly browned. Enjoy your first course!
Now for the entrée. Spice up your usual chicken or fish with some flava flav. These Flavor Magic Portion Control Sheets allow you to both control the seasoning on your protein and make sure your portion size isn’t outta whack. Each little sheet of seasoning is sized to measure an appropriate 3- to 5-ounce portion of meat, fish, chicken or tofu (hooray for vegetarians!). You simply stick the sheet to your chosen protein with a little water, wrap it in plastic cling and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or longer for a more intense flavor). Then you discard the sheet, and cook it however you wish. It’s not the best if you need dinner in a hurry, but if you’re clueless about seasoning or portion control, then it’s worth the wait.
I tried the Dijon honey mustard and the tomato and basil sheets and wasn’t floored by their deliciousness, but did enjoy the flavor and how mindless it was to make portion sizes that were appropriate. Plus, I could have one flavor, while my hubby had a different flavor without any extra work. That’s always a plus. And with only 4 calories a sheet, it’s hard to beat.
Try at home: Try Flavor Magic at home or just season up some of your own chicken, fish or tofu. Pair it with a half cup or so of a nice whole-grain carb like brown rice with roasted tomatoes or quinoa with sautéed zucchini. Yum!
You know how much we love chocolate here, so it should come as no surprise that our dessert course prominently features the decadent treat. Lucky for us, Popsicle is making chocolate less sinful. In addition to its already low-cal Fudgsicle lineup (no Fudgesicle is more than 100 calories), the company now offers Triple Chocolate Low Fat Bars that clock in at just 60 calories. The box contains white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate bars, so if you’re a true chocoholic, you’ll be able to satisfy any cocoa craving you may have. They don’t exactly pack a nutritional wallop (what dessert does?), but you do get 10 percent of your daily calcium, which is always helpful. My fave was the dark chocolate bar, but let’s be honest: I even love the no sugar added 40-calorie bar, so there is nary a Fudgsicle that doesn’t meet my approval.
If you’re more of a fruity dessert type of gal, fear not! Popsicle also offers a new sugar-free Tropicals popsicle, but we weren’t able to find it in our grocer’s freezer. We will remain on the lookout though, especially now that it’s warming up and we’ll be looking for cool treats!
Try at home: Break the Fudgsicle off the stick, throw it in a fancy dish, and sprinkle it with chocolate syrup for a super-decadent dessert!
Happy three-course eating! —Jenn & Erin
Want to try out some Popsicles for yourself? We’ve got some coupons to give away! Comment below for a chance to win coupons for free treats. U.S. residents only, please!