Monday, November 8, 2010

Ann's Favorite Fast Recipe

I had several inquiries recently, about what exactly am I eating that is new or creative. That is a hard question to answer, because it varies. 

I'll use an example from the creativity category, where I tried to reinvent a classic favorite to better suit my dietary plan restrictions. 

I like a good taco salad, but it doesn't really do well on the low-fat side of things.  So, I altered it, and kept the flavor while ditching the fat.  The plus side of this is that it takes all of two minutes to make, if I'm in a rush.

Ann's Taco Salad

I take a big knife to a head (or bunch) of lettuce.  Lettuce is low in calories, zero on fat, and filling.  If I'm lazy or in a mega-hurry, I will sometimes even just use a bag of pre-chopped lettuce mix.  If I'm hungry, I mound the bowl.  If I'm not too hungry, I use less.  In other words, no measuring involved here.  Iceburg (for example) is a whopping 10 calories a cup or something ridiculous. 

I next open a jar of my favorite healthy salsa.  In my case, that would be the All Natural Tostitos Mild Chunky Salsa.  It is 10 calories per 2 TB, 0 fat, 2g carbs.  If you like hotter, go for the hot stuff.  My mild Tostitos salsa (referenced above) has in it: tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers ... mild but well-flavored. 

I will lay two "stripes" of this, spaced apart, across the top of my lettuce mound.  Oh, almost always about 1/2 cup of salsa.  (So, we're talking 40 calories, 8 carbs). 

I next chop up some fresh onion (though not, if I'm in a big hurry).  I put that aside.

Lastly, I grab a box/package of "Original Smart Ground" by Lightlife (a soy product that looks like cooked ground beef) and measure out 1/3 cup of that.  A third cup has 90 calories, 0 fat, 6 carbs, and ... wait for it ... 12g of protein! 

Yes, it is a power lunch. 

I take 1/3 cup of the soy "meat" and about 1/3 envelope of taco seasoning mix.  I combine the two well, in a little bowl, and microwave it for a minute to heat it thoroughly.  Then, I make a "stripe" of that seasoned soy, across the top of the lettuce, between the two salsa stripes.  I sprinkle the chopped fresh onion over the "meat" ... and call it done. 

I mix the entire thing up when I sit down to eat it.  No salad dressing needed with this combination of flavors and moisture.  I do NOT miss the cheese (and I love cheese) with this - it has so much flavor.  And the best part is that it takes just minutes. 

If I have all the time in the world, and the inclination, I'll add additional veggies and herbs (tomatoes, cilantro, etc. and so forth - whatever I have a taste for).

My taco salad is very filling, flavorful, fast and high in protein while ultra-low in fat and reasonable in calories.  If I make a mega-huge salad (say, four cups of iceburg lettuce), the calorie count is still usually under 200, and I've had 12+ grams of protein and zero (or near zero) fat.  And I am full and satisfied when I am done eating.  Soy may not be for everyone, but I tolerate it well, and disguised as it is with the taco seasoning mix of my choice, it is hard to distinguish from its more fattening cousin.

This is day 111.  Too bad it isn't quite 11-11 ...haha ... and I'm having a training day for the SDDDY Challenge.  I'm about 100 oz of liquid into my day so far, so I should make 126 (minimum) easily enough.  I think I'm ready for tomorrow's start, as much as I can be, but oh my ... Allan wasn't joking when he said be prepared to spend some quality time in the restroom.


  1. Sandy just emailed to ask what seasonings I add. The answer is, NONE. Between the taco seasoning mix and the salsa, it is lacking for nothing. The soy tends to be a little salty-tasting, and the peppery flavor of the ... well, peppers ... round out things nicely. As I said, this has plenty of flavor already, no need to add more.

  2. I also make a taco salad with meatless crumbles, taco mix, lettuce, salsa, onion, 1/2 ounce of shredded light cheese and a dollop of light sour cream. So scrummy and healthy, too. :D

    I use the veggie crumbles and veggie burgers all the time. I can't remember the last time I ate any hamburger.