Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

Archive for April, 2011

Watch out for Chinese Food…try this instead!

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Shrimp, Water Chesnuts, Bean Sprouts, YUM!

 

Last week at work, a few of my coworkers and I got into a discussion about calories. I found it interesting that a few of them were pretty off base on how many calories they assumed food had – particularly when it came to eating out at a restaurant. My rule of thumb is – it’s ALWAYS more than you think it is when you go out to eat. That’s why it’s so hard to count calories and stay on track when your actively trying to lose weight but you still want to have a life and enjoy lunch or dinner out.

I would say that Chinese food is one of those areas that are commonly underestimated when it comes to calorie content.  For instance, did you know that a typical egg roll has 200 calories and 400 mg of sodium? How many people start out their meals with an Egg Roll? Hands up, people!

Think a spring roll is a better choice? It typically saves you about 100 calories, but still rings in with 300mg of sodium.

So – if you are like me, you are thinking…soup can’t be that bad for me. And calorie wise, choices like Egg Drop, Hot & Sour or Wonton Soup aren’t terrible…about 100 calories per servings….but sodium content can be over 100mg!  Bad for your blood pressure, right?

RJ’s favorite meal to get when he eats Chinese is General Tso’s Chicken. 1,300 calories later along with 11 grams of saturated fat and 3,200 mg of sodium…..maybe it’s time to find a new favorite.

All the more reason to create healthier versions of the things you love at home. The recipe we found for Fried Rice (one of my favorite things to get) was in Cooking Light’s magazine in March but you can get it here: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/almost-classic-pork-fried-rice-50400000109596.

We subbed the pork for shrimp since we had some left over from last week that we needed to cook up, but this is a super easy recipe and lots of easy switch outs to make it your favorite. We skipped buying the ingredient, Mirin. For those who want to search it out … it’s a sweet cooking wine made from rice. Sake can be used as a substitute for mirin (with an added pinch of sugar). Or – you can just leave it out and I promise it will still be delicious 🙂

As i mentioned – we used shrimp instead, so when you look at the calorie exchange (rough estimate)…the pork alone would be about 66 calories per meal, and when you switch to shrimp, you are look at more like 120 calories for 4oz. So just make sure you are counting every switch!

This meal with the pork is about 400 calories, about about 460 with the shrimp instead. Not bad considering our brief lesson on how many calories Chinese food can have!

Happy Eating!

Chipotle Pork Tacos

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Yummy Tacos on Corn Tortillas

Just because we gave up going OUT to eat Mexican food doesn’t mean we can’t make a healthier version of it at home. It’s hard to go wrong with Tacos – you can basically take this recipe and change it a million different ways and it will still end up being delicious.

Here’s the recipe from Cooking Light. We get the Cooking Light magazine every month, so this was a recipe featured in the April 2011 mag. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chipotle-pork-tacos-50400000111089

299 calories for 2 tacos is pretty darn good. Sure beats the  calories at a typical Mexican Restaurant. I like making Tacos at home because you can always make it healthier by using a leaner cut of meat. Even if ground beef is your thing – you can just opt for a less fatty version. You can use part skim shredded cheese if you miss the cheese topping. You can buy fat free sour cream instead of full fat. You can add more vegetables – or make a veggie taco version for even less calories. Go with the corn tortillas like the recipe says because that will be a major calorie saving switch for you.

You can make this recipe a bit hotter by adding more than  teaspoons chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce. If you don’t know where to find the chipotle chile in adobo sauce – look in the international aisle of your grocery and it’s usually in a little tiny can with the Mexican stuff. YUM! Chipotle is not a SUPER spicy pepper – so if you are looking to really heat it up, add a jalapeno or if you are like RJ, add a habanero!

For those that know RJ – he is a total chile head – so anytime the grocery store has awesome looking hot peppers, he brings one home determined to find “something” to cook it with. He decided to use it for the pork tacos this past week.  Since i’m not quite as advanced in my “take the heat” skills, he left it out of my servings for lunch. Unfortunately, I grabbed the wrong container for lunch and only made it about halfway through the tacos. It was full on tears and several days of avoiding anything remotely spicy after that. Lesson learned!! So just be careful if you are going to add some heat!

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Serve with fat free refried beans!

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