Light diet Monday through Friday: five low calorie dinners


It seems that when summer arrives, the heat, the pool and beach time, there is a general awareness that moves us to change our diet in order to see ourselves get along better with the scale and keep the type under control. It is true that high temperatures help a lot to eat light, the body asks us for fresh food, but also to commit excesses in the form of beer, aperitif, ice cream and some other more. Does it sound familiar?

Nor is it a plan to put a zipper in our mouths and suffer unnecessarily during these hot weeks, as we choose to dine lightly. For this, we have made a light diet plan from Monday to Friday with five low-calorie dinners that can help us a lot to counteract the effects of the whims that we give ourselves during the rest of the day and the week.

Five low calorie dinners

1. Zucchini ribbons with cockles

Today there are vegetable cutters that allow us to imitate different types of pasta: spaghetti, spirals, ribbons, etc. With them we can prepare light, fresh and attractive dishes like these zucchini ribbons with cockles. In this case we have used a vegetable peeler and bought small, straight and firm-fleshed zucchini to make the task easier and the result more attractive.

  • Ingredients for four people¨: 4 small zucchini, 120 g of canned cockles (drained), 1 lemon, 45 ml of extra virgin olive oil, 100 g of cherry tomato, dried oregano and ground black pepper.

  • Preparation: Wash and dry the zucchini well. With a quality vegetable peeler or a mandolin, remove thin longitudinal strips. Turn the zucchini, removing about three or four strips on each side at a time, until you reach the central trunk. If the seeds are small and the meat is firm, you can rush more. In any case, save what is left for another recipe. Arrange the zucchini ribbons in a steamer container. Put to cook in a pot over boiling water, leaving them al dente. Ideally, we don't get to five minutes. Remove and cool quickly. Open the cockles and drain, we can take advantage of the canned water if we like for the dressing. Wash the tomatoes and cut into quarters or small slices. Mix and combine with the zucchini in a large bowl or spread out on plates. Beat the olive oil with the juice of half a lemon and black pepper. Season, add oregano and zest of the other half of the lemon. Season if necessary.

Link | Zucchini ribbons with cockles

2. Baked eggplant meatballs

This recipe for baked eggplant meatballs is from one of the most recent issues of Thermomix magazine and, although in the link below, we explain how to make it with the robot, here we have adapted it in the traditional way. So we can all do it and no one is left without trying them. We can eat them as is or with tomato sauce. To taste.

  • Ingredients for 32 units: 2 aubergines (650 g approximately), 30 g of extra virgin olive oil, 40 g of water, 180 g of stale bread, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 sprigs of fresh parsley, 2 sprigs of fresh oregano, 100 g of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, salt and ground black pepper.

  • Preparation: We wash the aubergines well and finely chop them with a sharp knife. If we have a food processor, we can chop them in it. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the aubergine for six minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the water and let it poach for six more minutes. We pass the mixture to a source and let it cool. We peel the garlic cloves. We remove the leaves from the stems of the parsley and oregano, discarding the latter. We chop together with the dry bread and the grated cheese. Mix with the egg, the sauté of the aubergines and season to taste. We take small portions of the dough and roll. The dough is slightly sticky, so we may need to rinse our hands from time to time. Place the meatballs in a baking dish and cook them at 200ºC for 20 minutes, with heat up and down. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving tomato sauce or any other light garnish that we want.

Link | Baked Eggplant Meatballs

3. Grilled turbot with light sauce

Fish is a very light and healthy option for dinner, if not very tasty. If you are one of mine, surely it costs you nothing to prepare this grilled turbot with light sauce. Moreover, on the contrary, it will be a tremendous enjoyment. The turbot is a fish with white and smooth meat whose flavor is enjoyed to the maximum if it is prepared as we tell you.

  • Ingredients for four people: 1 turbot of 1,200 g approximately, 4 potatoes, 1 natural yogurt, 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1/4 of chives, parsley or coriander, salt and pepper.

  • Preparation: We begin by peeling the potatoes and cutting them into irregular pieces, then putting them to cook with a little salt. Boiled potatoes will give us energy and help us feel satisfied without using fat in its preparation. To make the light sauce, which we will use for both the potatoes and the turbot, we mix the yogurt with the mayonnaise and add the chives, the coriander (or parsley if you don't like it) and the chives, all very chopped. We beat well and reserve it to dress the potatoes and sauce the fish to taste. We drain the potatoes and distribute them on the four plates. Meanwhile, we lightly varnish the loins of the turbot with olive oil and cook them on the very hot griddle so that they brown, making the skin side first. We immediately assemble the dish, placing the turbot next to the potatoes and add a tablespoon of light sauce well distributed. We put the rest of the sauce aside so that whoever needs more can be served.

Link | Grilled turbot with light sauce

4. Chicken in balsamic reduction and vegetables

An alternative to the vegetables and fish of the previous proposals is white meat or, in this case, chicken meat. Of all the pieces of the bird, the breast is the lightest because it contains little fat. But, for this reason, it is also the one with the least flavor, something that is solved with a reduction of balsamic and a side of vegetables.

  • Ingredients for two people: 2 chicken breasts, 400 g of green beans, 12 cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons (soup) of mustard, 4 tablespoons of balsamic, a teaspoon of dried thyme, a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of olive oil , salt and ground black pepper.

  • Preparation: To start, we are going to heat the butter and olive oil in a pan and then seal the chicken breasts for about 4 four minutes on each side, over medium high heat. Meanwhile, mix the balsamic with the mustard, thyme, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. We boil the green beans in a pot with water and salt, for about 20 minutes or until they are soft. We drain the water and reserve them. Immediately pour the balsamic preparation over the breasts, lower the heat, cover the pan and leave for about 10 minutes. Finally we add the vegetables, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. We leave, always on a low heat and with the pan covered, for an additional 20 minutes.

Link | Chicken in balsamic reduction and vegetables

5. Eggplant stuffed with spinach and tuna

We repeat vegetable with the last proposal for a light dinner and the recipe for aubergines stuffed with spinach and tuna, but we really like it and it gives us a lot of play in the kitchen. We have not been able to resist and neither will your palates and those of your guests. We can prepare them in advance and bake them at dinner time. A point very in its favor.

  • Ingredients for four servings: 2 aubergines, 500 g of water, 3 pinches of salt, 2 cloves of garlic, 150 g of onion, 50 g of extra virgin olive oil, 300 g of fresh spinach leaves, 1 pinch of ground pepper , 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, 2 cans of tuna in drained oil (140 g) and 50 g of grated cheese.

  • Preparation: In both preparations, we start by cleaning and cutting the aubergines in half lengthwise and emptying them, taking care not to cut or break the skin. We reserve the extracted pulp. If we use Thermomix, we put the water in the glass, place the Varoma container in its position and place the eggplant halves sprinkled with a pinch of salt and with the skin facing up. Cover and program 20 min / Varoma / speed 1. We remove the Varoma and empty the glass. If we do not use Thermomix, we proceed in the same way but I steam the aubergines, adding a few more minutes until we see that they are done. With Thermomix, we put the garlic, the chopped onion, the pulp of the aubergines and the oil in the glass. Chop 3 sec / speed 5 and fry 6 min / Varoma / speed 1. Add the spinach, program 3 min / Varoma / reverse turn and speed 1, inserting the spatula through the opening and moving it from side to side so that the spinach sauté uniformly. Add salt, pepper, eggs, cornstarch and tuna and mix 10 sec / reverse turn and speed 3. Without Thermomix, chop the onion and garlic and sauté them in a pan. When it has browned, add the aubergine pulp, give it a few turns and add the clean and chopped spinach. Let everything be done and add the beaten eggs with the cornstarch, salt and pepper, stir and add the tuna, leaving a few minutes over low heat so that the ingredients are integrated. For the two preparations, place the aubergines skin side down in a refractory dish and fill them with the spinach mixture. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes in a preheated oven at 220º with grill. Remove from the oven and serve.

Link | Eggplant stuffed with spinach and tuna

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