Dinner on a diet? It may sound tough but it's easy if you're prepared, even on a busy weeknight. Here are four suggestions to try, each clocking in at under 200 calories and under 15 grams each carbohydrates and fat per serving. Three of the recipes require a little advance planning to give the food time to marinate, but otherwise come together about an hour or less. Enjoy!
Kale salad, anyone? Because of its rather tough texture, greens like kale are often cooked to tenderize them before serving. But gently rubbing a bright vinaigrette onto the cut greens also works to soften their texture, making for a wonderfully fresh salad with crisp, assertive notes. Top it with a few grilled baby carrots for an extra touch of color, and you have a finished dish in under 30 minutes. Forget the guilt; I think it's rather virtuous.
Keep it light and bright with ceviche. Plump tiger shrimp are tossed with chopped onion, tomato and spicy habanero peppers, the flavors brightened with fresh lemon juice and a medley of spices. Sweet Butter was happy to share its take on this refreshing classic.
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Or try carne asada: It starts with a flavorful marinade, combining chipotle chiles, garlic, onion, cumin, fresh cilantro and parsley, a little tomato puree and fresh lime juice. Marinate the meat a day in advance, and then grill it up in minutes.
Skewers are fun: Marinate chicken in a tangy blend of yogurt, fresh herbs and spices, a touch of garlic and lemon juice, then thread the meat onto skewers. It's a perfect meal, whether you're simply feeding the family or entertaining guests.
You can find all four recipes below.
And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LITTLE DOM'S TUSCAN KALE SALAD WITH GRILLED HEIRLOOM CARROTS
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4
Note: Adapted from Little Dom's in Los Angeles
4 baby heirloom carrots, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarsely chopped oregano
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1. In a small pot of salted, boiling water, blanch the carrots just until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and shock the carrots in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, then drain and split lengthwise.
2. Toss the carrots in a bowl with the olive oil, one-eighth teaspoon salt, one-eighth teaspoon pepper, oregano and vinegar.
3. On a grill heated over medium-high heat, grill the carrots for grill marks and to warm through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.
Salad and assembly
Juice of ½ lemon
Juice of ¼ orange
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed and julienned
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon and orange juice, shallots, vinegar, oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss in the kale, gently rubbing the dressing into the kale (the rubbing will soften the kale slightly).
2. Plate the salad, garnishing each serving with grilled carrots. Take any remaining dressing from the bottom of the bowl and pour over the carrots and salad. Serve immediately.
Each of 4 servings: 188 calories; 4 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 131 mg sodium.
SWEET BUTTER'S SHRIMP CEVICHE
Total time: 20 minutes, plus marinating time for the shrimp
Servings: Makes a generous quart of ceviche.
Note: Adapted from Sweet Butter in Sherman Oaks.
1 pound black tiger shrimp, tail-on
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
2 to 3 tomatoes
1/2 to 1 habanero pepper, stemmed and seeded