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Fat-Fighting Meals: 7 Flat-Belly Dinner Recipes

  • Peter Ardito

    Steak-and-Pepper Tacos

    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Cook time: 25 minutes
    Makes: 4 servings

    1 pound flank or hanger steak
    Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder
    3 teaspoons vegetable oil
    1/2 red onion, sliced
    3 bell peppers, 1 each red, yellow, and orange, thinly sliced
    1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
    8 small corn tortillas, warmed
    1/2 avocado, sliced
    1/4 cup grated low-fat Monterey Jack
    1/4 cup salsa verde or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    2 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapenos
    Reduced-fat sour cream (optional)

    1. Marinate the steak in the lime juice, salt, garlic, and chili powder in a sealed plastic bag for 20 to 30 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil to the pan. Add the red onion and bell peppers; cook, tossing frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the corn and continue to cook until the peppers are charred and soft, about 3 more minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and keep warm.
    3. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel and heat for another minute. Add the remaining teaspoon of vegetable oil. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Lay the steak in the pan, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook about 8 minutes for medium-rare, turning once halfway through. Transfer to a board and let rest for 5 minutes.
    4. Slice the steak across the grain and arrange on a platter with the peppers and lime wedges. Make tacos with the warm tortillas, avocado, Monterey Jack, salsa, jalapenos and, if desired, sour cream.

    Nutrition facts per serving: 416 calories, 32g protein, 38g carbohydrate, 16g fat (4.3g saturated), 7g fiber

  • Peter Ardito

    Shrimp-and-Avocado Rice Bowl

    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cook time: 10 minutes
    Makes: 4 servings

    16 medium cleaned, shelled, tail-on shrimp (about 3/4 pound), thawed if frozen
    2 teaspoons sesame oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons honey
    Small pinch cayenne pepper
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 tablespoon light soy sauce
    1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
    1 cup shelled edamame, steamed
    2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
    1 1/4 cups short-grain brown rice, cooked according to package directions
    1 ripe avocado, sliced

    1. Preheat the broiler. In a medium ovenproof pan, toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon each of the sesame oil and the honey. Add the cayenne.
    2. Lay the shrimp flat. Broil for 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
    3. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil. Pour in the eggs. Cook undisturbed until set, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until just set on the second side, 1 more minute. Transfer to a board and cut into strips.
    4. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon honey.
    5. Fold the edamame and sesame seeds into the rice. Serve the rice in bowls topped with the egg strips, shrimp, and avocado. Place the soy-vinegar mixture in a small bowl and use at the table for drizzling.

    Nutrition facts per serving: 483 calories, 30g protein, 56g carbohydrate, 16g fat (2.8g saturated), 6g fiber

  • Peter Ardito

    Lemon-Walnut Chicken

    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cook time: 10 minutes
    Makes: 4 servings

    2 tablespoons very finely chopped parsley*
    2 tablespoons very finely chopped toasted walnuts*
    1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
    2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons diced shallots
    1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
    1 1/4 cups brown basmati rice, steamed

    1. In a small bowl, mix together the parsley, walnuts, and lemon zest. Dust the chicken with the flour and season with the salt and black pepper.
    2. In a very large skillet (or two medium-large skillets), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until they begin to turn translucent, 1 minute. Push the shallots to one side of the pan, add the chicken breasts, and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side.
    3. Pour the chicken broth and lemon juice into the pan. Cover, and let simmer over low heat until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced, 3 to 4 more minutes.
    4. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a serving dish, leaving the liquid and shallots in the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat and stir until thickened, 1 minute. Stir in the parsley mixture. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve over the rice with the lemon wedges.
    *Use a mini food processor to reduce chopping time.

    Nutrition facts per serving: 293 calories, 36g protein, 19g carbohydrate, 8g fat (1.3g saturated), 2g fiber

  • Peter Ardito

    Spinach-Mushroom Pizza

    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Cook time: 15 minutes
    Makes: 6 servings

    1 12-ounce whole wheat pizza crust, such as Boboli
    1/4 cup pizza sauce
    1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
    1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
    1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
    6 medium cremini mushrooms, sliced
    1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

    1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a large heavy baking sheet on the bottom of the oven. Lay the pizza crust on a work surface.
    2. Spread the crust with the sauce, followed by the spinach and onion. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and mushrooms. Dollop the ricotta over the pizza and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Drizzle the olive oil all over.
    3. Use a thin cutting board or the back of a second baking sheet to carefully transfer the pizza to the preheated baking sheet on the bottom of the oven. Bake until the crust is puffed and beginning to color at the edges and the cheese is melted, 10 minutes. Take the sheet out of the oven and preheat the broiler.
    4. Broil the pizza, watching carefully, until the cheese is browned and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Let pizza cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the balsamic vinegar, slice into wedges, and serve.

    Nutrition facts per serving: 252 calories, 15g protein, 30g carbohydrate, 10g fat (3.5g saturated), 5g fiber

  • Peter Ardito

    Chickpea Tagine

    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 45 minutes
    Makes: 4 servings

    1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 red onion, quartered and thickly sliced
    1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
    2 small carrots, sliced lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 3/4 cup) 1 1/2 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash (6 ounces)
    2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
    3 quarter-size pieces peeled fresh ginger
    1/2 teaspoon harissa paste (available in most major grocery stores), plus additional to taste
    2 teaspoons honey, plus additional to taste
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 whole cinnamon stick
    1/4 teaspoon turmeric
    4 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped (1 pound)
    1 medium zucchini, quartered and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (2 cups)
    10 dried apricots, sliced (1/4 cup packed)
    1/2 cup water
    1 19-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon, plus additional to taste
    1 cup whole wheat couscous, cooked according to package directions (optional)
    4 teaspoons sliced, toasted almonds

    1. In a large heavy pot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil; add the onion and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
    2. Add the butternut squash, garlic, and ginger and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
    3. Add the harissa, honey, cumin, cinnamon stick, and turmeric and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, and apricots and stir well. Pour in the water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and reduce the heat as needed to simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not mushy, 20 to 25 minutes.
    4. Add the chickpeas and lemon juice. Raise the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chickpeas are heated through and the liquid has thickened slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.
    5. Season to taste with additional salt, harissa, honey, and lemon. Serve over couscous if desired and garnish with sliced almonds.

    Nutrition facts per serving: 350 calories, 11g protein, 64g carbohydrate, 8g fat (1g saturated), 12g fiber

  • Peter Ardito

    Penne with Broccoli Rabe and Ricotta

    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cook time: 15 minutes
    Makes: 6 servings

    1 bunch broccoli rabe
    12 ounces whole wheat penne
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    2 lean Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
    1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
    1 garlic clove, sliced
    Small pinch crushed red pepper flakes
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe; cook for 4 minutes. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a colander. When it's cool enough to handle, chop into bite-size pieces.
    2. Add the penne to the same pot of boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the penne.
    3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, crumbling the sausage with a wooden spoon, until browned, 8 minutes. Add the chopped broccoli rabe and saute until tender, about 2 more minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring until well combined, about 1 minute.
    4. Adjust the heat to low and add the pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine the ingredients, adding a little of the reserved cooking water if the mixture seems dry. Stir in the ricotta and Parmesan, take the pan off the heat, and toss well. Serve immediately.

    Nutrition facts per serving: 342 calories, 18g protein, 47g carbohydrate, 8g fat (1.8g saturated), 2g fiber

  • Peter Ardito

    Cumin Salmon with Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce

    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 10 minutes
    Makes: 4 servings

    2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
    4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each)
    1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
    1 large pickling cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
    1 scallion, trimmed and finely chopped
    3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    8 ounces whole wheat orzo, cooked according to package directions

    1. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, cumin, sugar, black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Lay the salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet and brush the tops with the oil mixture. Refrigerate for 10 to 20 minutes.
    2. Preheat the broiler. Combine the yogurt, cucumber, scallion, parsley, lemon juice, and the remaining pinch of salt in a small bowl.
    3. Broil the salmon until it is barely opaque at the center of the thickest part, 7 to 10 minutes. Serve over the orzo, topped with the yogurt sauce.

    Nutrition facts per serving: 487 calories, 34g protein, 45g carbohydrate, 19g fat (3.8g saturated), 10g fiber