By Brack Johnson


Foodies in the Triangle know how to chow down on delish main dishes from which they've eliminated excess calories. From recent cookbooks, here are low-cal versions of winter favorites that do just that.



Healthy South Indian Cooking

Published by Hippocrene Books










Shrimp Masala
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 or 3 slivers cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped tomato
4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons minced ginger root
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and washed
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves


Place oil in an iron skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, but not smoking, add cinnamon stick and cumin seeds. Stir-fry until spices are golden brown.


Add onion, tomato, garlic and ginger root. Stir-fry for a few minutes.


Stir in turmeric powder and curry powder.


Add tomato sauce, cayenne powder, salt, black pepper and cumin powder. Blend the seasonings well and simmer for a few minutes.


Add shrimp and mix with the seasonings. Cook until shrimp turns pink.


Add coriander and stir-fry, uncovered, for an additional few minutes. (Shrimp is delicious when allowed to absorb the flavor of the seasoned sauce while stir-frying over low heat.)


Makes 4 servings; Calories – 159 per serving




The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook:

125+ Plant-Based Vegan Recipes for a Fit, Happy, Healthy You

Published by Health Communications










Un-Shepherd's Pie
Tempeh Veggie Filling
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 eight-ounce packages tempeh, crumbled
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 fifteen-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen sweet corn


Mashed Topping
3 pounds red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut creamer or unsweetened plain almond milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Put the potatoes in a large pot and add water, about 2 inches above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for about 20 minutes until very tender. Drain and put them back into the pot. Add the creamer, salt and olive oil, and mash well using a potato masher or hand mixer. Set aside.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly grease a casserole dish with olive oil or coconut oil and set aside.


To make the filling, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms until soft. Add the vinegar and cook down for a few minutes; add the celery and carrots, cooking until the carrots are tender but still a bit crisp. Stir in the tempeh and add the thyme, oregano, coriander and Worcestershire sauce.


Dissolve the arrowroot in the broth and add to the pan with the beans. Cover and lower the heat. Cook for about 10 minutes at a simmer so the flavors meld and the sauce thickens. Stir occasionally so the tempeh does not stick to the pan. Remove the lid and add the peas and corn. Replace the lid and let it cook for about 2 minutes until the peas and corn are just defrosted but still crisp.


Pour the tempeh and veggie mixture into the casserole dish. Spread the mashed potato mixture on top of the veggie mixture and drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Scoop out into heaping servings.


Makes 6 servings; Calories – 540 per serving



5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking:

500 Recipes for Lifelong Wellness

Published by Robert Rose











Stir-Fried Pork and Peppers With Buckwheat Noodles
6 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced gingerroot
1 tablespoon Asian chile-garlic sauce
1 large red bell pepper, cut into very thin strips
1/4 cup reduced-sodium ready-to-use vegetable or chicken broth
1-1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon unsweetened natural peanut butter or other nut butter
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or liquid honey
6 green onions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook soba noodles according to the package directions until tender. Drain.


Meanwhile, cut pork crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place slices cut side down and cut into 1/2-inch wide strips.


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pork, ginger and chile-garlic sauce; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add red pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.


Stir in broth, tamari, peanut butter and brown rice syrup. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, for 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thickened and just a hint of pink remains inside pork. Stir in green onions. Serve over noodles.


Makes 4 servings; Calories – 373 per serving




Clean Eating for Busy Families:

Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love

Published by Fair Winds Press







Turkey, Vegetable and Oat Mini-Meatloaves With Marinara Sauce
Expeller-pressed canola oil spray
1 eight-ounce package crimini mushrooms
(about 2-1/2 cups)
1 small yellow onion, cut into eighths
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry rolled oats
2 large eggs
1 pound lean ground turkey
1-1/4 cups pasta sauce, divided
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking pan or six mini loaf pans with spray. Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped and add them to a large bowl. Repeat with onion and garlic.


Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add oil. When oil is shimmering, add vegetables and saute for 7 minutes or until water releases and evaporates completely, lowering the heat as necessary. Set aside.


Process the oats until they are of a fine consistency. Whisk the eggs in the bowl used for the vegetables. Add processed oats, turkey, 3/4 cup of pasta sauce, cooked vegetables, vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and stir together with a fork until blended.


Scoop the mixture into 6 mounds on the pan or into each mini-loaf pan, about 3/4 cup each. Shape each mound into a 4- x 2-inch loaf. Spread remaining 1 cup of pasta sauce on top of the loaves, distributing evenly. Bake on middle rack for 25 minutes, turning pan midway through cooking, until loaves are firm or a thermometer inserted in the middle reads at least 165 degrees. Allow loaves to rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Makes 6 servings; Calories – 330 each




1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes

Published by John Wiley & Sons










Creole Panko-Crusted Tilapia Sticks
1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup plain almond milk or light soy milk
Juice of 1 small lemon (2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
1-1/4 cups whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
1-1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (below)
or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,
or to taste
3 (8-ounce) tilapia or halibut fillets, cut into 3-1/2- x 1-inch strips (about 24 strips)


Preheat oven to 475 degrees.


Mix together the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a shallow dish. Whisk together the egg, almond milk, lemon juice and butter in a second shallow dish. Stir together the panko, Creole seasoning, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a third shallow dish.


Dredge each strip of fish in the flour, dip it in the egg mixture (shake off excess), and dredge in the panko mixture to fully coat. Place into a baking pan. Lightly coat both sides of the breaded fish with cooking spray.


Bake until the fish is cooked through and the coating is golden brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.


Bake, rotating the position of the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the cookies start to brown on the edges, about 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough, on cooled baking sheets.


Makes 6 servings, 4 sticks each; Calories – 210 per serving


For the Creole Seasoning
Mix together 1 tablespoon each sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Store in a sealed and labeled jar.


Makes 1/2 cup.




Fresh Tartar Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 scallions, green and white parts, minced
3 tablespoons minced gherkins or cornichons
Juice of 1/2 small lemon (1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper, or to taste


Stir together all the ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Adjust seasoning. Chill until ready to serve. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Makes 12 servings, 2 tablespoons each; Calories – 70 per serving



Cooking for Two:
More Than 130 Delicious Recipes to Enjoy Together

Published by John Wiley & Sons








Chicken and Corn Enchiladas
1 can (10 ounces) mild enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
4 six-inch corn tortillas
1 medium green onion, thinly sliced


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in baking dish. In large bowl, mix chicken, corn, 1/4 cup of the cheese and the chili powder. Reserve remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.


On microwavable plate, stack tortillas and cover with microwavable paper towel; microwave on high 20 seconds to soften. Place slightly less than 1/2 cup of chicken mixture down middle of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas; place seam side down in baking dish.


Pour remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese and the onion.
Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly around the edges.


Makes 2 servings, 2 enchiladas each; Calories – 470 per serving



Savory Beef Stew
1/2 pound beef stew meat
10 ready-to-eat baby-cut carrots
4 small red potatoes (1/2 pound), cut in half
1/2 medium onion, cut into 4 wedges
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 dried bay leaf
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour


Heat oven to 325 degrees. In 1-1/2-quart casserole dish, mix beef, carrot, potatoes, onion, tomatoes, pepper and bay leaf.
In small bowl, mix water and flour; stir into beef mixture.


Cover the casserole dish. Bake about 2 hours, stirring once, until beef and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf.


Makes 2 servings, 2 cups each; Calories 400 per serving