Tuesday, February 05, 2008


As in 100-calories. One, zero, zero. I've been rather fascinated with the whole "100-calorie pack" phenomena, and amazed at the lengths that companies go to market these things.

Now, I must admit that I really do enjoy the Oreo 100-Calorie packs, because those little chocolate wafers are darn tasty. Plus, I don't have to scrape off the white filling first...not that I'm knocking the white filling, but still...the chocolate is where it's always at.

One of my co-workers had a 100-calorie pack of Pepperidge Farms Chocolate Chessmen, and those were the worst cookies ever...and, there were only 4 (count 'em, 4!) cookies in the pack. You get quite a bit more in the Oreo pack, for sure.

But, if you eat 10 100-calorie packs, even I, with my limited math skills, can figure out that it adds to a bajillion calories. (Calories are always counted in "-illions," don't you know?)

Anyway, the point of this post is the new cookbook (yes, I did need another!) that I found at the Barnes & Noble bargain table. It's called Just 100 Calories, and it describes itself as "Delicious and simple 100 calorie recipes."

(And, it was only $7.99. Whattadeal!)

It's divided up into 5 categories, covering Breakfast/Brunch, Light Lunches/Snacks, Dinners, Desserts, and Drinks, with a lot of the recipes coming in at under 100 calories/serving. (Yeah, a serving...did you think the whole meal was 1oo calories? I was kinda secretly hoping that was the case, too.) Which means what, boys and girls? Yep, you can eat the entire 4-serving recipe and still only be eating approximately 400 calories!! (See, I can does math!)

And, what does 400 calories compare to? A Big Mac is 540. I'll just stop there.

Since I was out of town in California last week, you know I ate well...and my pants were tight...which sucked. As did taking the redeye back on Thursday night/Friday morning. But, I did get to each cheese on the plane, compliments of Delta's little food-for-purchase plan. They have this little cheese and cracker pack, with Brie, Smoked Gouda, and a nice Cheddar, plus crackers, grapes, a big strawberry, a couple of candied pecans. Much better than the processed Lance cheese and cracker pack. And, it was $6, but I would have paid that much for that amount of cheese (by weight) in a gourmet cheese shop, and the quality was good.

Still, I digress...back to the new wonder cookbook, savior of my sanity and the button on my suit pants.

I had been trying to cook from a Weight Watchers shortcuts cookbook, which used a lot of canned and pre-packed products, and I was kind of unsatsified, because most of the meals were essentially 7-10 points a serving, and this was just for the entree. Plus, all the canned beans, etc. were adding more sodium and preservatives than I was happy with consuming.

So, I flipped through this 100-calorie wonder, and noticed that there didn't seem to be a lot of "add 1 can..." Rather, the ingredients lists were heavy on the fresh veggies. So, I'm going to try and work my way through as many of these recipes as I can. The one thing that the book does not give you is the rest of the nutritional breakdown--no fats, carbs, sugars, etc. Just the calories. And, let's face it, because we all know it...to lose weight, you gotta suck it up and cut calories at some point.

Tonight, I tried the first recipe: Beef, Pepper & Mushroom Saute, which was essentially pepper steak. 99 Calories per serving, and we split the entree for a total of 198 calories. Added a small green salad with grape tomatoes, a tablespoon of blue cheese crumbles and 3-4 spritz of that funky Wishbone Salad Spritzer--Red Wine Mist...probably another 100 calories or so for the salad, to have a meal that is less than the Big Mac. And, I felt way better about eating it, too. (We just won't talk about what I had for lunch; suffice it to say that caramel corn was involved.)

And just a quick plug for the Spritzer...it was pretty tasty, but weird...like spritzing hairspray on your salad. We've also got the Raspberry Bliss one to try as well.

Beef, Pepper & Mushroom Saute
4 servings; ~99 calories each

2 sprays olive oil

6 oz beef steak, such as round, with fat/gristle removed); cut into thin strips

2 shallots, cut into thin wedges

1-2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 assorted colored bell peppers (I used red and yellow), seeded and cut into thin strips

6 oz large portobello mushrooms, sliced (I had an 8-oz package of "baby 'bella" that I subbed)

2/3 - 1 cup beef stock (I used 1 cup since I added more mushrooms)

1-2 tsp red currant jelly preserve (optional) (I had some lingonberry stuff from Ikea in the fridge that worked just fine)

1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley

1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high, and spray with olive oil. (If using an olive oil-based cooking spray, spray it on before you put the pan on the stove, to avoid spraying into the flame if you have gas burners.)

2. Add steak strips and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, or until browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

3. Add shallots, peppers, and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes. Add stock and red currant preserves (if using). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 4-5 minutes.

4. Return beef strips to skillet and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley and serve, equally divided among 4 bowls.

It was pronounced tasty by The Man, and I have to agree. I've got 2-3 more recipes that I'm going to try over the next couple of days, and I'll let you know how they go. If they are anything like this one, this little cookbook might be worth its rather modest purchase price.

1 comment:

LinC said...

I just got back from the Left Coast too! My sister introduced me to a new cookbook: _Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Two_ by Beth Hensperger. Good recipes for a small crockpot (and smaller family). I'm doing the winter soups-and-stews thing right now.
I blew my entire Points budget for the month in California -- not counting the very nice WW carrot cake my sisters made for my birthday. That would have been all right had not other people invited for dinner brought two pies, ice cream and a chocolate-cherry kringle from the O&H Bakery in Racine, Wisconsin. (You have to be Midwest Danish to understand the wonderfulness of a kringle. O&H has a web site...)
So now I'm being good again. Let us know if you find any more good recipes in that new cookbook!