Thursday, February 06, 2014

400-calorie dinners (iii)

As I continue to clean up my diet, watch my portion sizes, and focus on getting more exercise, I find the most indispensable tool in my kitchen, hands-down, is my scale.  (I have this model.  And no, Escali, doesn't know a thing about me, and if you click on that link, I won't earn any money.  I just really like this scale!)  It's easy to use, the batteries last a relatively long time, it's easy to store, (I keep it in its original box on end in one of my cupboards,) and it comes in a wide variety of colors if you enjoy having your kitchen be all matchy-matchy.  :)  (Or you just like orange, or whatever.)  The scale weighs in both grams and ounces, which has been invaluable for this whole calorie-counting thing, as sometimes it's easier to pull out the scale and weigh out 110 grams of cottage cheese, instead of digging the 1/2-cup measuring cup out of the dishwasher and hand-washing it . . . again.  Know what I mean?

I also use my scale often when preparing recipes, (specifically, I almost always weigh grated cheese . . . the cup measurements I find given with most recipes are often WAY off,) and to weigh oils and lye when making soap.  Moral of the story?  My scale gets more than daily use lately, and when I'm not counting calories, I still pull it out several times a week.

Do you have a kitchen scale?  What brand do you have?  Love it?  Wish you had another type?  Use it?  Gathers dust?  I'm curious.

Without further ado, here are a few more 400-calorie dinners we've enjoyed this week:

Spaghetti and beanballs:

First things first . . . there are more than 400 calories pictured above.  (I had a weird day, with little time for snacking, so I had a big dinner.)  I did learn an important and valuable fact this week, however: an ounce of dry pasta weighs about 2 1/2 ounces cooked.  (You can find anything on the internet . . . !!)  My pasta serving in the above meal was about twice what I'd normally eat, topped with a portion of homemade mushroom marinara, and a few Vegan Beanballs.  Delicious!  The beanballs were a cinch to prepare, and have kept beautifully as leftovers for lunches this week.

Burgers and fries:

I made a full batch of Melody's All-American Burgers, divided the base into 16 2-ounce burgers, and froze half.  These burgers are simple to prepare, inexpensive (I didn't have to purchase a single ingredient to make these!), and have classic veggie burger flavor.  I enjoyed my burger with a homemade half whole-wheat brioche bun, (divide the given recipe into 12 equal-sized pieces,) lettuce, tomato, and 2 tsp mayo.  Side of sweet potato waffle fries, some ketchup for dipping, and a pickle!  Yum.


(I must have been craving classic comfort foods this week, because I've made a lot of traditionally "meaty" dishes' vegetarian cousins . . . but I digress!)  You, too, can enjoy a reuben while attempting to clean up your diet.  How?  Homemade rye, (I use the recipe for "Deli-Style Rye" from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,) 2 tsp thousand island dressing, half an ounce of swiss cheese, 1/4-cup of home-grown-home-cultured-home-canned sauerkraut, and two strips of seasoned tempeh.  I cooked my sandwich using a spritz of olive-oil cooking spray, which probably saved the most calories when comparing to a traditional veggie reuben.  Verdict?  Delicious, and I'm not entirely sure John even noticed I didn't cook them in butter.  Only comment I received was, "Good night for a reuben."  :)


I hope you are enjoying my 400-calorie dinner posts!  Let me know if there's a specific meal you'd like to see as part of this series -- I'm always looking for more meal ideas.

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