#397 (2/23/2010) QUICK AND EASY DINNERS
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7 Days, 7 Dinners

By Joe Wilkes

If you're trying to get in shape, then dinner can be a really dicey time. It's when a lot of us gather with family or friends, and it can entail a large home-cooked meal, a large pizza, or a bucket of chicken. No one's going to appreciate being served a scoop of cottage cheese and a mixed-greens salad when they were expecting lasagna or kung pao chicken. Here are some healthy ideas that will keep you on track nutritionally but won't get you in the doghouse with your dining companions.

Stuffed Peppers

Note: All nutritional information is for one serving.

Sunday: Turkey Chili

Turkey ChiliChili is one of the dishes that actually is fun to make and healthy to eat. If you check out Beachbody's or other fast-food guides, you'll see that Wendy's® chili is one of your healthiest fast-food options. Tomatoes for vitamins, beans for fiber, and some kind of meat or other protein source, the myriad chili recipes out there offer lots of options for a well-balanced meal. Here's a good basic recipe, but half the fun of making chili is improvisation. That's why chili cookoffs are so popular. Spice it up if you have an iron stomach, or substitute your favorite lean meat or textured vegetable protein. Experiment with different beans and legumes. The chili pot also can be a great repository for soon-to-spoil leftovers. Just try to avoid certain popular mix-ins like cheese and sour cream that add more fat than flavor. Also, when buying ground turkey, look for extra-lean or all-breast meat. Many "lean" varieties of ground turkey have as much fat as hamburger.

  • 1 lb. ground turkey, extra-lean
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) tomatoes, crushed or diced
  • 1 can (12 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 oz.) kidney or pinto beans, rinsed
  • 2 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, brown ground turkey in olive oil. Spoon out any excess fat. Add onion, garlic, and pepper, and sauté until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Can be served immediately (although leftovers are great, too). Serve with hot sauce to taste. Serves 4.

Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
296 9 grams 24 grams 7 grams 33 grams

Monday: Chicken Florentine

Chicken FlorentineThis recipe was inspired by a dish I had at Dan Tana's in Los Angeles. James Woods is a frequent guest of the restaurant and has a veal scallopine dish with spinach named after him there. This isn't that dish, but it uses a couple of elements that can make a dish healthier, including making a paillard and sautéing in broth. A paillard is a piece of veal or beef usually pounded thin for tenderization. In addition to tenderizing, it's also a great way to get more surface area out of your favorite protein. To make a paillard, wrap the meat in a high-quality plastic wrap (heavy duty, if available; otherwise, your kitchen will look like a crime scene) and pound away with a meat tenderizer or mallet until you reach the desired thinness. It's good for venting your frustrations as well as turning a small piece of meat into something that feels like a bigger portion. Sautéing it in broth (in addition to oil) also is a good way of reducing calories while creating a yummy sauce.

  • 1 chicken breast, skinless and boneless, pounded thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 1 cup spinach, steamed
  • 1 slice provolone or mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In an ovenproof skillet on the stovetop, sauté garlic in olive oil and broth. Cook until soft, but not brown. Add chicken breast and cook until done. If pounded thin enough, it should just take a couple of minutes per side (don't panic if it's a little underdone; it's going in the oven later). Remove skillet from stove and pile spinach on top. Then, place cheese on top of spinach. Put pan in oven until cheese melts, then serve. Put chicken on plate and drizzle pan broth over as sauce. This recipe is pretty low-carb, so you might serve it with whole-grain pasta if you're not watching your carbs.

Preparation time: 10 to 15 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
416 24 grams 10 grams 4 grams 40 grams

Tuesday: Fish Tacos

Fish TacosYou don't have to live by the Baja to enjoy fast and healthy Baja cuisine. Instead of tacos full of cheese, sour cream, and fat, try these easy-to-make high-protein treats featuring heart-healthy avocado. If you're not crazy about fish, add extra salsa. These are also great assembly projects for kids.

  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of one lime, or more to taste
  • 6 oz. whitefish like tilapia, snapper, or cod
  • 2 soft corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
  • Salsa, low-sodium (optional)

Toss tomato, onion, and cilantro with lime juice, and set aside for flavors to combine (add chopped jalapeño for extra kick). You could also skip this step and use a low-sodium store-bought salsa. Cook, steam, or grill fish, or sauté fish in a little lime juice. Warm tortillas in oven or microwave, and pile with fish, cabbage, avocado, and salsa.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
511 19 grams 45 grams 13 grams 49 grams

Wednesday: Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed PeppersThis recipe is always a crowd-pleaser, presentation-wise. It can also be made with ground turkey or vegetarian burger crumbles. As a time-saver, many stores now carry prepared brown rice, which saves a lot of cleanup as well. Stuffed peppers freeze well, too, so this is a good recipe to supersize for future meals.

  • 1 lb. ground beef, extra-lean (less than 5 percent fat)
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 green bell peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tops off pepper, and remove seeds and membranes. Mix all ingredients (except peppers) and stuff mixture into the bell peppers. Bake for 1 hour and serve! Serves 6 (although they're pretty low-cal, you could eat two easily).

Preparation time: 10 minutes (more, if cooking rice from scratch)

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
208 5 grams 23 grams 6 grams 19 grams

Thursday: Shrimp Stir-Fry

Shrimp Stir-FryStir-frying is fast, easy, and a great way to use up vegetables that might not make it to the end of the week. Four cups of veggies to a pound of shrimp is a pretty good ratio—although, you could always add more veggies.

  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger root, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups mixed vegetables (broccoli, peppers, carrots, celery, etc.)
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked

Sauté ginger and garlic in sesame oil until soft. Add shrimp and cook about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Set shrimp aside. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the rice) to the pan and sauté until veggies reach desired softness (I like mine a little crunchy). Use enough broth so the veggies don't burn, but not enough to make soup. Toss the shrimp back in, mix together, and serve over rice. Serves 4.

Preparation time: 10 to 15 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
303 5 grams 36 grams 9 grams 31 grams

Friday: Oven-Poached or Dishwasher Salmon

Raw SalmonThis is a great recipe to make with little to no cleanup involved. By placing foil-wrapped packet in oven, you can skip the pot- or pan-cleaning that can make cooking such a hassle. However, if you don't have access to an oven (say, at work), you can actually make this in a dishwasher. The dishwasher method is less environmentally friendly, but much more amusing. Please keep in mind, though, that it's a pretty big waste of water, so try to dishwasher-cook more than one serving at a time to help justify the carbon footprint. (Note: For dishwasher method, DO NOT USE SOAP!)

  • 1 6-oz. salmon fillet or steak
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped dill
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped scallions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get a big enough piece of foil (about 12 square inches) to hold the fillet as well as the other ingredients when folded. You might consider doubling the foil to prevent leakage. Put foil salmon packet in broiler and cook for 15 minutes or until salmon is pink all the way through. (If using the more controversial dishwasher method, cook for one wash and dry cycle, and we can't stress enough, no soap!)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
344 14 grams 1 gram 1 gram 22 grams

Saturday: Portuguese Kale Soup

Kale SoupThis is a favorite of mine to make on the weekend. It makes the house smell great, and I have lunch leftovers for days. Kale and leeks are both super-healthy, so don't skimp! You can substitute veggie sausage or leave out the sausage completely, and just add a little extra garlic and pepper for flavor.

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 large leeks, chopped, just white and light-green parts
  • 12 oz. turkey kielbasa, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, torn and stemmed
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, sauté garlic and leeks until soft. Add kielbasa and brown. Add kale, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Serves 4.

Preparation time: 30 to 40 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
377 19 grams 36 grams 10 grams 23 grams

Feel free to eat any of these dinners on any day of the week. And repeat your favorites. Most of these can be integrated into your favorite Beachbody meal plan, including P90X®. Come back next week for part four of our series and get recipes for 7 Days, 7 Snacks. Bon appétit!

Click here to get more healthy recipes, personalized meal plans, and diet advice when you sign up for Team Beachbody®.

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Joe WilkesGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, March 1st, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

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The Samba Tornado

Samba Tornado Positions

Check out one of Brazil Butt Lift trainer Leandro Carvalho's coolest moves for getting your derri�re in supermodel shape. This tropical trick is just one of the moves that have made Brazil Butt Lift the talk of the town.

Get Ready: Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out, and abs drawn in.

Go! Bend your knees and sit back into your heels as you lean your torso slightly forward and squeeze your butt tight. With your hands on your hips, circle your hips to the right, continuing to make circles as you remain in a deep squat. Sit back into your hips and keep your heels pushing into the floor. To make it more intense, wave or circle your arms or shimmy your shoulders (reps: 15 to 20 in each direction).

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, March 1st, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

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Climbing Michi's Ladder: Collard Greens

By Denis Faye

Look out! Superfood alert! Although popular in the South with the likes of fried chicken and corn bread, this deep green, leafy veggie is all kinds of healthy. It's closely related to kale and is a member of the Brassica family, which includes broccoli and cauliflower.

Collard Greens

The nutrition facts

One cup of boiled collard greens is 49 calories with 5 grams of fiber. Now, sit down and prepare for the avalanche of micronutrients you get with those 49 calories: 1,045 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)* for vitamin K; 308 percent for vitamin A; 58 percent for vitamin C; 8 percent for vitamin E; 27 percent for calcium; 12 percent for iron; 10 percent for magnesium; 6 percent for potassium; 4 percent for copper; and 41 percent for manganese. You also get decent RDA hits of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. Phew!

They also contain phytonutrients that have been shown to lessen the occurrence of several different cancers and lower cholesterol.

How do you eat this stuff?

Like many leafy greens, you're better off boiling or sautéing collard greens. The traditional way to prepare them is boiling them with smoked turkey necks, but if you don't want to get too Dukes of Hazzard about it, you can chop them up and boil them in a watered-down low-sodium chicken or veggie stock instead, and they'll still be good eatin'.

And if you want to impress the Bo, Luke, or Daisy in your life, serve them with black-eyed peas.

1 cup of collard greens, boiled and drained (190 g)
Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
49 1 gram 9 grams 5 grams 4 grams

Michi's Ladder is Beachbody's guide to nutritious eating. If you only ate from Tiers 1 & 2, you would have a near-perfect diet!

Related Articles
"Climbing Michi's Ladder: Barley"
"Climbing Michi's Ladder: Arugula"
"Climbing Michi's Ladder: Amaranth"

Denis FayeGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, March 1st, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

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5 Myths about Sunscreen

Woman Sunbathing

Even if you're indoors most of the day, only spending brief periods outside, you aren't fully protected, because UVA isn't blocked by most windows in offices and cars. So it's just as important to wear sunscreen indoors as outdoors. Wearing sunscreen in the winter is important as well, since up to 40 percent of the sun's ultraviolet radiation still reaches the earth when it's completely cloudy.

View the full article to find out more and for a special offer!

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, March 1st, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

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Test Your Comfort Food IQ!

By Joe Wilkes
  1. Potato Chips in a BowlIn what country were potato chips invented? In the good old U.S.A. They were invented in 1853 by chef George Crum, who became annoyed by a customer who complained his fried potatoes were sliced too thickly. The chips quickly became a hit and were put on the menu of Crum's restaurant, the Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, NY, as "Saratoga chips." Another great step in potato chip technology was when food entrepreneur Laura Scudder invented an airtight wax-paper bag in 1934, ensuring that the potato chips would stay fresh until the bag was opened.
  2. What was the first recipe to be printed on a package of American food? Macaroni and cheese. According to food writer Jeffrey Steingarten, a Pennsylvania pasta maker printed a recipe for the gooey treat on a package of macaroni back in 1802. Rumor has it that the dish of macaroni and cheese may have been invented by Thomas Jefferson, but that has never been confirmed.
  3. What is the official cookie of Massachusetts? The chocolate chip cookie, or the Toll House® cookie, was invented by Ruth Wakefield, the owner of the Toll House Inn in 1933. The legend is that some pieces of Baker's chocolate fell into a mixer full of sugar cookie batter. During World War II, soldiers from Massachusetts began asking for Toll House cookies in care packages, sparking a national craze for the cookie. Today, an estimated seven billion chocolate chip cookies are consumed annually.
  4. What comfort food was believed by the Jewish sage Maimonides to aid sufferers of hemorrhoids or leprosy? The king of the comfort foods, chicken soup! It has been prescribed as a home remedy for the common cold since ancient Egypt, and while scientists have debunked some of its putative curative powers, it has been shown that chicken soup may indeed have an anti-inflammatory effect, which may bring relief to those suffering from a variety of illnesses. In Wisconsin, a type of chicken soup with vegetables and cream is even nicknamed "Belgian penicillin."
  5. What popular comfort food is made in New York or Montreal style? The bagel. New York bagels have salt and malt in their recipes, are boiled in water, and are then baked in a regular oven. Montreal bagels contain malt and eggs, are boiled in honey-flavored water, and are then baked in a wood oven.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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"All of these recipes sound amazing. I cannot wait to try them. Grocery store here I come."

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