Love to eat delectable dishes like chocolate cake, tacos and pasta but still want to look good this swimsuit season?
Chef and cookbook author Devin Alexander says you can! Alexander has maintained a 55-pound weight loss for more than 16 years and her new cookbook, "The Most Decadent Diet Ever," provides healthier versions of your favorite meals to help you lose weight and keep it off.
Please find the recipes from Day 2 of Alexander's "Most Decadent Diet Ever!" below:
3 Egg whites prepared with olive oil spray and topped with fresh salsa.
1 Breakfast Sausage Link
When I first heard about MySpace, I thought it was for kids and teens. Then when "Fast Food Fix," my first cookbook, was coming out, my friend Amanda said, "You have to get a MySpace page." Amanda is a voice-over artist and is very tapped in to Hollywood, so I instantly believed her. We put up a page and I started getting all sorts of e-mails and "friend requests" from people who had seen my work. I now love MySpace because so many of my "friends" write and suggest new dishes to create. By far, one of the most requested recipes is breakfast sausage. Obviously everyone loves it. So as a tribute to my MySpace "friends," I created this recipe.
Though I wish I could eliminate even more salt, unfortunately, in this dish, I can't without sacrificing flavor. So don't go crazy eating this every day, especially if your doctor told you restrict your sodium intake. But it sure will do the trick when the craving for breakfast sausage strikes.
Olive oil spray
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon egg substitute
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound extra-lean ground pork
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly mist a small nonstick baking sheet with spray. Use a fork to mix the egg substitute, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, thyme, pepper, rosemary, sage and salt in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Mix in the pork until combined. Divide the mixture into 16 equal parts, and then shape each into a 4-inch-long by 3/4-inch-thick link. Place the links side by side, not touching, on the prepared sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then flip and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. Serve immediately.
Can be made in 30 minutes or less. No more than 20 minutes hands-on prep time
MAKES 16 LINKS; 8 SERVINGS
Each 1-Decadent-Disk serving (2 links) has: 95 calories, 14 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium
You save (pork sausage): 45 calories, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat
You save (turkey sausage): 45 calories, 9 g fat, 3 g saturated fat
Traditional serving (pork sausage): 140 calories, 6 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat,
4 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium
Traditional serving (turkey sausage): 140 calories, 9 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 360 mg sodium
When I was in high school, I had braces (for the second time) and was really fat. I had already missed the junior prom because the only guy I wanted to go with didn't want to go with me. By my senior year, there was one guy who did want to go with me, but he was the only other fat kid in my class. All the kids knew he had asked me, and the teasing began weeks before the big night. Plus I really wasn't interested in him.
So instead, I worked my waitressing job at the Shillington Restaurant. The menu there was very Pennsylvania Dutch. Wednesday nights were smorgasbord nights, my favorite. It was so much easier to wait on a table of buffet eaters than to serve individual entrées. That, and the buffet included the best potatoes O'Brien ever. I looked forward to them every week.
These potatoes are great for dinner, as I was accustomed to eating them back then. But I tend to eat them a lot more as a side with an omelet or scrambled egg whites for breakfast now.
2 small unpeeled baking potatoes (6 ounces each), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup 1/2-inch onion squares
1/3 cup drained jarred pimientos
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Pinch of cayenne Black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the potatoes, onion, pimientos, olive oil, garlic, paprika, 1/8 teaspoon salt, cayenne and black pepper to taste in a medium glass or plastic mixing bowl. Toss until the potatoes are evenly seasoned, and then transfer the mixture in a single layer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, and then flip and bake for another 14 to 18 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Season to taste with additional salt. Serve immediately.
No more than 20 minutes hands-on prep time
MAKES 2 CUPS; 2 SERVINGS OR 4 PORTIONS
Each 1-Decadent-Disk portion (1/2 cup) has: 101 calories, 2 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium
Each 2-Decadent-Disk serving (1 cup) has: 201 calories, 5 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 160 mg sodium
Chicken Pasta SaladThis dish was probably one of the most frustrating in the book to get right -- in part, because it is so difficult to make a quality pasta salad without tons of oil, and people just don't realize that until they make one on their own.
Before I owned a catering business, I worked for others. At one, we made a Greek pasta salad that was out of this world. The bad thing, however, was the insane amount of olive oil used. We'd make it the day before a job and the oil would soak in. When we'd get to the job, we'd add another cup or so to make it glisten and look ultrafresh again. That would also soak in within hours. So we'd add even more. But the salad tasted as though it was only lightly coated. In actuality a small serving could have up to 300 calories and close to 35 grams of fat.
After testing a creamy version of this salad, then a pesto version, neither of which was exciting me, I arrived at this one. By adding tons of fresh raw veggies, I didn't need as much dressing and I ended up with a bigger portion than normal for so few calories. I love lots of red wine vinegar. If you're not as much of a fan, just add a touch. If you're like me, feel free to go crazy without consequence. Vinegar has only 11 calories and no fat per 1/4 cup.
3/4 pound Basic Grilled Chicken or other lean grilled chicken, cut into 2-inch strips
1 recipe Red Wine Vinaigrette (page 86 of "The Most Decadent Diet Ever!")
8 ounces dried penne pasta
3/4 cup matchstick-sized red bell pepper strips
3/4 cup matchstick-sized green bell pepper strips
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
1/2 cup red onion slivers
2 1/2 tablespoons canned chopped black olives
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
Red wine vinegar
Prepare the chicken if necessary. Prepare the Red Wine Vinaigrette. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain it and run under cold water. Shake off any excess water.
Combine the chicken, pasta, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, olives, garlic, and oregano in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss until well combined. Season with red wine vinegar and black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
MAKES 101/2 TO 11 CUPS; 4 SERVINGS OR 8 OR 16 PORTIONS
Each 1-Decadent-Disk portion (about 2/3 cup) has: 101 calories, 7 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 12 mg cholesterol, 87 mg sodium
Each 2-Decadent-Disk portion (about 11/4 cups) has: 203 calories, 15 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 24 mg cholesterol, 174 mg sodium
Each 4-Decadent-Disk serving (about 21/2 cups) has: 406 calories, 29 g protein, 55 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 49 mg cholesterol, 349 mg sodium
You save: 190 calories, 31 g fat, 5 g saturated fat
Traditional serving: 596 calories, 22 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 39 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 36 mg cholesterol, 856 mg sodium
¾ cup cooked protein-enriched pasta
Roasted Ruby Tomatoes
Skinny Scampi Shrimp may be the perfect "diet food." Even if it were fattening, I'd consider eating it. Couple it with fresh garlic, my favorite seasoning, and how can you go wrong?
Whatever you do, when you start preparing this recipe, make sure you have all of your ingredients measured and ready to go before adding the wine and lemon juice to the pan. Though it's always recommended that you prep everything in advance, it's not always key. Here, it definitely is or the wine and lemon juice will evaporate while you're off measuring -- not only could it be detrimental to the taste, but you could easily burn your pan.
Also, notice that the shrimp are cooked in batches. It's important not to cut corners on that. Overcrowding the pan will not yield the same better-than-at-your-local-restaurant results.
11/4 pounds medium (31–40 count) shrimp, peeled (tails left on) and deveined
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste Black pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced (about 21/2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons light butter (stick, not tub)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Toss the shrimp with the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.
Place a large nonstick skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot, put in half of the shrimp. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are just pink on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Add half of the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp are lightly browned on the outside and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and cover to keep hot. Repeat with the remaining shrimp and garlic. Add them to the platter and cover.
Add the wine and lemon juice to the pan. When the liquid is reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes, turn the heat to low and add the butter and 1 tablespoon parsley. Use a wooden spoon to stir until the butter is melted completely, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Spoon the sauce over the shrimp and toss well, then garnish with the remaining parsley. Serve immediately.
Can be made in 30 minutes or less / No more than 20 minutes hands-on prep time
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
Each 2-Decadent-Disk serving ( 1/4 recipe) has: 207 calories, 29 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 223 mg cholesterol, 405 mg sodium
You save: 514 calories, 52 g fat, 22 g saturated fat
Traditional serving: 721 calories, 32 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 59 g fat, 24 g saturated fat, 311 mg cholesterol, 650 mg sodium
These miniaturized versions of tacos are one of my all-time favorite, kid-friendly snacks. When Frito-Lay introduced Baked! Scoops, I was so excited that I instantly went to work on creating dishes to fill these little morsels. I just find them so festive. When I conjured these tacos, I couldn't wait to show them to friends and clients. They're so much fun. Not only can you eat 10 of them (how often do you get to eat 10 whole anything -- outside this book, anyway -- when you're eating healthy?) for only 200 calories. Plus the whole family will be excited to dig into your "diet food." And kids will be more than willing to help prepare them.
10 Tostitos Baked! Scoops
1/4 cup finely shredded romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons finely chopped tomatoes
1/2 ounce (about 21/2 tablespoons) finely shredded Cabot's 75% Light Cheddar cheese, or your favorite low-fat Cheddar
1 teaspoon lower-sodium taco seasoning
2 ounces 96% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon mild or hot red taco sauce
Arrange the Scoops side by side on a plate.
Mix the lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese in a medium bowl until well combined. Divide evenly among the Scoops (about 11/2 teaspoons per Scoop).
Stir 2 teaspoons water into the taco seasoning in a small bowl until it has no lumps. Set aside.
Preheat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Put in the beef. Use a wooden spoon to coarsely crumble the meat as it cooks. When the beef is no longer pink, after 1 to 2 minutes, stir in the seasoning mixture. When no liquid remains, after about 1 minute, remove from the heat. Divide the meat evenly among the Scoops, atop the lettuce mixture (about 1 teaspoon in each). Dollop the top of each with taco sauce. Serve immediately.
Can be made in 30 minutes or less / No more than 20 minutes hands-on prep time.
MAKES 10 TINY TACOS; 1 SERVING OR 2 PORTIONS
Each 1-Decadent-Disk portion (5 tacos) has: 101 calories, 9 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 223 mg sodium
Each 2-Decadent-Disk serving (10 tacos) has: 202 calories, 17 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 446 mg sodium
Chocolate Not-Only-In-Your-Dreams Cake
I dreamed about eating a cake like this for years. I'm serious. I really did. I'm one of those "There's no such thing as chocolate cake that's too rich" types. I was dieting, but I had to "cheat" from time to time just to keep my sanity, by eating a chocolate flourless espresso cake I just loved. Then I felt guilty and tried to spend more time at the gym, all the while calling the cake "a heart attack in a pan." It literally had a pound of butter, a pound of chocolate and a dozen eggs. I limited myself to making it on special occasions, but I dreamed about eating it (both in my sleep and during the day) often.
And then came this cake. It's as rich as they come and I love it more than any other I've had. In addition to being delicious, this cake is extremely simple and can be mixed up in minutes. If you really want to impress your friends, keep some, unbaked, in your freezer. Store them in the ramekins in an airtight container. When you need dessert without any fuss, pop them in the water bath and bake them (you'll need to add about 10 minutes to the baking time).
Please note: These cakes are extremely rich. It's one of the few desserts where I feel satisfied eating just half … but even when I am really craving chocolate, the whole thing doesn't set me back. Just make sure to grind the espresso finely. The coffee is here only to deepen the chocolate flavor; it's not a mocha cake. Regardless, you don't want to taste coffee grounds in this slice of heaven.
Not only do I just love the taste, but it packs 6 grams of fiber, so it really comes without the guilt!
Butter-flavored cooking spray
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites
1 cup brown sugar (not packed)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon very finely ground espresso beans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
4 raspberries, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Generously mist four 31/2-inch-diameter ramekins with spray. Place them side by side in an 8 X 8-inch baking pan. Add water to the pan until it reaches halfway to the top of the ramekins.
Use a sturdy whisk or spatula to mix the applesauce, vanilla, egg whites and sugar in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Add the cocoa powder, espresso and salt. Stir until just combined and no lumps remain. Divide evenly among the ramekins (each ramekin will be about 2/3 full).
Bake for 21 to 24 minutes, until the tops look silky and puff slightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out a bit wet. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the ramekins from the water bath to a cooling rack. Cool for about 10 minutes. Then invert each ramekin onto a dessert plate. Let stand for 1 minute, and then slowly lift off the ramekin (the cakes should come out on their own, but if they don't, run a knife around the edge of the cakes to loosen them). Cool for another 5 to 10 minutes. Use a fine sieve to evenly dust each cake with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar. Place one raspberry on the center of each cake, if using. Serve immediately.
No more than 20 minutes hands-on prep time
MAKES 4 CAKES
Each 1-Decadent-Disk portion (1/2 cake) has: 101 calories, 3 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 182 mg sodium
Each 2-Decadent-Disk serving (1 cake) has: 203 calories, 7 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 364 mg sodium
You save: 293 calories, 33 g fat, 19 g saturated fat
Traditional serving: 496 calories, 6 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates, 35 g fat, 20 g saturated fat, 195 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 369 mg sodium