Stuffed Pepper Soup and Arugula Salad

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Serves 6

229 calories

Notes:  This is a recipe I developed way back when we lived in New York and were eating low carb. It’s super delicious and very easy to make.  Add rice, or pair with a salad and a some crusty bread. 


  • 1 pound 90% ground beef
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 2 green peppers
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth (1 box chicken broth)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, smoked paprika if you’ve got it

Sautee ground beef in non-stick pan with non-stick spray, drain. Dice onion and green pepper while beef browns.

Place cooked beef, diced onion, green peppers, tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaf and paprika in a pot. Simmer 30-45 minutes, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Note: Add white or brown rice to thicken up soup and make this a more filling meal. Also, you can top with parmesan cheese.

Or, serve with salad:

Romaine Salad with Apple and Cheddar Cheese


4 servings

124 calories

  • 4 cups Romaine
  • 1 Apple (honeycrisp or pink lady)
  • 1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Whisk together 1 oz. lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil. (I like to shake up dressing in a small mason jar)
  2. Dice cheddar cheese and slice apple thinly.
  3. Wash arugula and dress with lemon juice/olive oil. Top with apples and cheddar cheese.

Chicken with Olives and Tomato Sauce over Penne

Chicken Thighs and Breasts (see note) with Olive and Tomato Sauce

Serves 6 generously

382 Calories

Source: Cooking Light

Note: This recipe calls for 4 pounds of chicken thighs–that’s a lot of chicken thighs!  I ended up using 1.34 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 6 pieces, and 6 chicken thighs (2.28 pounds).  Also, I simply could not figure out how Cooking Light arrived at 270 calories per serving, and my higher figure is above.  After discovering at 4:30pm the day of that this was supposed to be a crock-pot recipe (oops! ), I made a few other modifications, which are listed below.  This was a really tasty dish, and would probably work really well in a crock pot.  

  1. Added chicken breast, ultimately used less protein than the recipe called for. 
  2. Browned all the meat using 1 teaspoon of oil, but ended up using non-stick spray too. All in Dutch Oven. 
  3. I added the 3 tbsp. of tomato paste before deglazing the pan so it could caramelize a bit.  Just throw it into the pan and let it brown a bit, really deepens the flavor. 
  4. I deglazed with a red wine instead of white. It’s what I had on hand. 
  5. Finally, I only used 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper so the kiddo could eat this. 
  6. Oh, wait, one more. I also didn’t add parsley. I never have it on hand and honestly, it’s just to make it look pretty.

I served this over penne, which added another 200 calories.  A serving is 42 noodles, which weigh about 2 ounces dry and 4 ounces wet.  So there, now you don’t have to count them out like I did. 

Winter Vegetable Gratin

Winter Vegetable Gratin

Serves 6 generously

289 calories

Source: Hungry Couple

Note: Another crowd favorite.  The beets in here are awesome and make the dish turn pink, perfect for little girls! I omitted the tablespoon of butter used to butter the pan and used non-stick spray instead, simpler, cleaner and less fat.  If you can’t find rutabaga, use turnips and you’ll slightly lower the calorie count.  We paired this with some Applegate Chicken Sausages that I braised in a pan with a little lager. 

Chicken Taco Salad

Chicken Taco Salad

4 servings

481 calories per serving

Notes: Taco Salad is always a favorite at our house! The chicken with the lime juice and taco seasoning was delicious, will do again! We also had tortilla chips on the side. 


  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 2.00 cups Cooked, Diced Chicken Breast ( Skinless) (rotisserie or boiled with bay leaf and black peppercorns)
  • 4 cups Romaine Lettuce, shredded
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 tsp Lime juice (divided)
  • 2 oz Cheddar Cheese
  • 14.5 oz can Black Beans
  • 1 Avocado
  • 4 Tbsp (30g), Sour Cream, Light
  • 1 Tbsp, Taco Seasoning
  • 8 tbsp. salsa


  1. Thinly slice red onion and place in bowl. Add juice of one lime and pinch of salt, stir periodically. This will “quick pickle” the red onions—do this for at least one hour, preferably two hours.
  2. Boil two skinless chicken breasts with one bay leaf and 8 peppercorns, or purchase a rotisserie chicken. Shred chicken. Toss chicken with taco seasoning, juice of one lime and half of 1/3 cup cilantro.
  3. Prep romaine lettuce, half cherry tomatoes, rinse black beans and dice avocado.
  4. Assemble as desired. Lettuce, Chicken, Black Beans, Cheese, Red Onion, Avocado, remainder of cilantro, Sour Cream and Salsa

Asparagus Rice Bowl with Feta Cheese and Egg


Asparagus Rice Bowl with Feta Cheese and Egg

2 servings

412 calories

Notes: This was a makeshift meal, as Jeff was out at a dinner and Betsy’s tummy wasn’t doing so hot.  It was surprisingly filling and delicious–I will add more hard boiled eggs to main course dishes for a cheap and easy protein! Fat free feta cheese is the only lower fat cheese I’m willing to eat. 


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked long grain brown rice (I used Lundberg Organic)
  • 24 stalks asparagus
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup Athenos fat free feta cheese
  • 2 eggs hard boiled eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 475.
  2. Get rice cooking and boil eggs. (Place egg in pot filled with cold water, bring to boil, cover turn off heat and let sit 12 minutes. Put egg in cold water bath)
  3. Cut asparagus stems, rinse, pat dry and toss with olive oil. Place on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and season with kosher salt and pepper.
  4. Roast asparagus 10-12 minutes, until browned.
  5. Chop asparagus stalks in 1 inch pieces, toss with brown rice, cheese and sliced hard boiled eggs.