Category Archives: Lunch

Tortellini Soup

As some of you may know, I am working to cut back on my meat consumption for moral reasons. It has been an interesting quest trying to consume enough protein without meat but through experimentation I have come up with some delicious recipes. This recipe couldn’t be easier. You just throw everything in a pot and wait! This can also be done in a slow cooker before work, leave it on low until you come home and dinner is ready to go. Feel free to add meat to this dish for even more protein. Happy flexible dieting!

  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 32 oz container Pacific organic tomato soup
  • 2 32 oz containers low sodium vegetable broth
  • 20 oz Buitoni mixed cheese tortellini
  • 5 oz frozen spinach thawed
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add about a tbsp of broth and minced garlic to a large pot on medium heat and cook the garlic. Then add the tortellini and rest of broth and bring to a boil. Once it’s to a boil reduce heat and add tomato soup, spinach, Parmesan, and seasoning. Simmer for a few minutes and enjoy! You can also do this in the slow cooker. Simply throw everything in and set on low. It’ll be ready in 4 hours or you can hold off for 8 hours.

Macros (per serving of 1 cup, recipe makes 12 cups):  184 calories, 5g fat, 28g carbs, 8g protein, 2g fiber

Add chicken for even more protein!

Lightened Broccoli Cheese Soup

Winter has arrived! Well, at least so I hear. In our little town in sunny Southwest Florida it’s record heat for the first day of winter. 88 degrees and humid as can be! Pretending I am in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Colorado, I decided a comforting meal would be some good ol’ broccoli cheese soup. This soup reminds me of Panera Bread’s but fresher and half the calories! The secret to getting the protein up without the fat is using Fair Life milk as it has double the protein as regular milk. Give this a try on your stove or slow cooker. Happy flexible dieting!

Recipe:

  • 2 cups fat free Fair Life milk
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 5 cups broccoli florets, chopped (frozen or raw)
  • 3 cups 2% cheddar cheese, shredded (can use 2% Velveeta- will slightly change macros)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Add broth and milk to a large pot and bring to a slow boil. Add in flour, onion, carrots, and broccoli. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until vegetables are soft.  Reduce to simmer and allow soup to thicken, stirring occasionally. Add cheese and remove from heat. You can also do this recipe in the slow cooker. Just throw everything in except the cheese and set on low for 6-8 hours. About 30 minutes before eating add the cheese in and cover. Enjoy!

Macros (per about 1 cup serving, recipe makes 8 servings): 175 calories, 7.5g fat, 7g carbs, 15.5g protein, 2g fiber

Macro-Friendly Chicken, Bacon, and Ranch Sandwiches

One of the most common questions I get from clients is, “what should I make for lunch?” Lunches can get really boring. Always the same simple salad or sandwich. I tried to switch it up and make lunch fun with yummy macro-friendly sandwich that’s packed with protein but easy on the fat. If you have fat to spare add a slice of cheese or do real ranch (although, I think this Greek yogurt ranch tastes even better and fresher!). If you’re looking to save carbs roll this up in a low carb wrap or use Sara Lee’s 45 cal bread. Being on maintenance macros, I actually struggle to meet my carbs and protein. This delicious sandwich helped me get 40g protein in the most delicious way possible. Hope you enjoy this recipe idea. Considering it includes bacon how could you not? Happy flexible dieting!

macro-friendly turkey bacon ranch lunch

Recipe:

  • 2 slices bread (I used Publix’s butter bread)
  • 3 oz cooked chicken breast
  • 1 slice low sodium bacon (I used Publix brand)
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley ranch mix
  • Lettuce, tomato, onion to garnish, optional

Macros (for entire sandwich using 1 tbsp ranch, not including garnish): 313 calories, 8g fat, 25g carbs, 40g protein, 2g fiber

 

Easy Homemade Macro-Friendly Pizza

homemade easy pizza macro friendly iifym

About once a week Thomas picks up a ball of pizza dough from our local grocery store and makes us a homemade pizza. It’s such a quick and easy dinner and my favorite part, there’s essentially no clean up! I realized how easy it is to make these pizzas macro-friendly. I’m sharing a traditional pepperoni pizza recipe but you can also make it with chicken breast (do a bbq or bufflalo style or even margherita!), do a taco style pizza using lean ground beef, or if you have the fat to spare make a steak & cheese pie!

If you’d like the recipe to our other versions just let us know!

Recipe:

  • Fresh pizza dough from local bakery or Pillsbury Pre Made Pizza Dough
  • 3 oz Boar’s Head turkey pepperoni (assuming you want all turkey pep on the pizza instead of the half & half we did)
  • 2.5 cups 2% mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Prego pizza sauce

If you’re using dough from the bakery or made your own preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare area to get your dough ready, you can use a rolling pin or stretch with your hands. Flour your hands and sprinkle flour on your prep surface. Roll the dough in the flour until it is not sticky. Roll or stretch the dough carefully until you reach desired crust thickness. Place dough on pizza pan and cook 1-2 minutes, until the dough has a firm outer crust. Remove dough from oven and spread pizza sauce evenly across dough.

If you’re using PIllsbury dough follow the cook time instructions on the package.

Sprinkle cheese all over dough. Place turkey pepperoni on top and place into the oven. Our dough took 18-20 minutes, we rotated the pizza 1/4 turn very 4 minutes. Once crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbly remove and let sit on the pan for 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!

Macros (per slice using PIllsbury dough and turkey pepperoni): 264 calories, 8g fat, 29g carbs, 18g protein, 2g fiber

Ways to Decrease Carbs: Cauliflower crust, Flatout bread, or large low carb tortilla as “crust”

Ways to Decrease Fat: Dice up chicken breast and replace pepperoni, use a blend of low fat & fat free cheese (you do want some fat in the cheese to help melt)

Macro-Friendly French Dip Sandwiches

macro friendly meal french dip

Another awesome recipe by Thomas! After 3 and a half years of tracking my macros I am so happy to say that Thom has jumped on the bandwagon and has even become a master of macro friendly meals! Since he’s now the main cook of the house he’s been experimenting with some new recipes for the blog and this one was too good not to share. Super simple, amazing macros, great taste. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Recipe:

  • Loaf french bread
  • 1lb deli roast beef (or a sirloin for homemade)
  • 8 slices 2% provolone cheese
  • 1 cup beef broth, low sodium
  • 1 packet french onion soup mix
  • 1 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pile 4 oz of roast beef on 1/4 roll of french bread and add 2 slices of cheese. Toast sandwiches open face in the oven for 10 mins or until cheese is golden brown. If you prefer softer bread roll the sandwiches up in tin foil and cook on a baking dish for about 15 mins. While the sandwiches are heating up add the beef broth, soup mix, and water to a pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low to simmer.  Enjoy!

Macros (per sub with 1/8 cup dip): 469 calories, 14g fat, 44g carbs, 37g protein

 

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries IIFYM Style

 

That’s it. I’m claiming the title. I’m the queen at making bar foods more macro friendly. What can I say, I’ll forever be a fat college kid at heart.

These cheese fries are to die for. The key ingredient is the 98% fat free Alexia fries.

buffalo chicken cheese fries iifym style

Recipe:

  • 1 and 1/2 servings 98% fat free Alexia Crinkle fries
  • 6 oz baked chicken tossed in 1 tbsp Sweet Baby Ray’s buffalo sauce
  • 1 serving reduced fat Mexican cheese
  • Handful of scallions
  • 1/2 serving low fat ranch
  • If you’ve got the extra fat you could add bacon bits

Cook fries according to packaging. Top with chicken and serving of cheese and put back in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Top with scallions, ranch, and anything else you fancy. Enjoy!

Macros (for entire recipe, no bacon):  491 calories, 15g fat, 38g carbs, 51g protein

5 Minute Meal: Trader Joe’s BBQ Chicken Teriyaki with Rice and Broccoli Slaw

All the parents out there know, being a full time mom means you gotta get creative with some simple meals. Bored with sandwiches and chicken burrito bowls, I set out to try something new that’s as easy as ever. The week before I had visited Trader Joe’s and stocked up on IIFYM friendly freezer goodies. One thing I picked up that I hadn’t tried before was their BBQ Chicken Teriyaki. I’m so glad I gave it a shot!

trader joe's iifym easy recipe

Recipe:

  • 1 and 1/2 servings Trader Joe’s BBQ Chicken Teriyaki
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw

The package directions for the chicken have you microwaving the chicken with no instructions for cooking in the oven. The first time I tried it I reheated the chicken in the oven, but the second time I tried the microwave and there was no difference. If you want to cook in the oven simply do so at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I used Uncle Ben’s instant rice, but you could also save this meal for when you have leftover rice! Once the chicken was done I added the rice and broccoli slaw and mixed it all up. Yup, that’s it! I garnished with some scallions.

Macros (for entire recipe): 305 calories, 6g fat, 27g carbs, 29g protein

iifym easy meals

Pizza Grilled Cheese

 

A delicious, unique lunch that will leave you satisfied and in disbelief you’re dieting.

pizza grilled cheese iifym meal ideas

Recipe:

  • 4 oz chicken breast, cooked
  • 7 slices turkey pepperoni
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 slice 2% provolone cheese
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Cooking spray

Heat up a pan on medium heat. While the pan is getting hot assemble your grilled cheese. First spoon the serving of marinara on each slice of bread, then add the chicken, pepperoni, and cheese. I sprinkled a little Italian seasoning on as well. Spray your pan and cook your grilled cheese sandwich until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Make sure the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Macros: 11g fat, 27g carbs, 47g protein

Cheeseburger Nacho Fries

I’m obsessed with cheeseburgers, mkay? Cheeseburger soup, wontons, nachos.. bring it on! This was actually a random creation I threw together because I had a limited amount of fat and carbs left and an equally limited fridge, but it ended up being delicious!

cheeseburger nachos iifym

Recipe:

  • 4 oz lean ground beef, browned & seasoned to liking
  • 50g white onion, diced
  • 2 servings Alexia 98 fat free crinkle fries
  • 1 serving reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Ketchup
  • Greek yogurt, 0% fat plain

Cook fries according to packaging and brown beef in a pan. Once fries are done top with cheese and throw back in the oven for 2-3 mins (keep an eye on it!). Take out, top with your serving of beef, and all other topping. Enjoy!!

Macros (does not include Greek yogurt, does include 1 serving of ketchup): 498 calories14g fat, 48g carbs, 45g protein

 

Philly Cheesesteaks

macro friendly philly iifym recipe

 

This was too delicious not to share and not to mention loaded with protein. I feel like it’s assumed that philly cheesesteaks can’t be eaten on a diet but on IIFYM it sure can! Just make sure you use sirloin steak or another lean cut and low fat cheese. I upped my carbs and have a lot more to play with so if you’re looking for a low carb option simply use a low carb wrap!

Recipe:

  • 1lb thin sliced sirloin steak
  • 4 hoagie rolls (or low carb wraps for less carbs)
  • 8 slices 2% provolone (or swiss) cheese
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • Two green peppers, sliced
  • One red pepper, sliced

We cooked our steak on our griddle. Sautee peppers and onion. Top hoagie or wrap with 1/4 serving peppers & onions, 4 oz sirloin, and 2 slice low fat provolone. Throw in the oven for 10 mins on 350 degrees. Enjoy!

Macros (per serving of 4): 530 calories, 15g fat, 50g carbs, 42g protein

Jambalaya Pasta

 

Another delicious summer recipe! Jambalaya is a summer recipe, right? Anywho, not news to many but I love pasta. I could live off it. I had some extra whole grain penne hanging around the pantry and the last time I went to Costco’s I went a bit crazy on chicken sausages so I came up with the idea for jambalaya pasta!

Macro Friendly Jambalaya Pasta

Recipe:

  • 2 cups whole grain penne pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup 2% colby & monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 Andouille cajun chicken sausages
  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked
  • 1/4 unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups diced peppers
  • 1 cup diceed onions
  • Tbsp olive oil
  • Green onions, optional

Cook the chicken sausages in a skillet. Once done, take out and add in the peppers and onions with a tbsp of olive oil and cook veggies. While cooking chop up the chicken sausage and chicken breast. When the veggies have softened add two cups of water and the pasta in and allow the pasta to cook. The water will have evaporated once the pasta is cooked. Add in milk and meat and mix well. Then add in 3/4 cup of cheese. I used a cast iron skillet so I topped the rest of the cheese and threw it in the oven for 15 minutes on 400 degrees. SO YUM!

Macros (per serving of 4, serving about 2 cups): 367 calories, 13g fat, 34g carbs, 31g protein, 4g fiber

Freezer Friendly Skinny Taco Pasta Bake

Another venture of freezer meals for when Marshall arrives and this time we’re going Mexican for dinner! Because who doesn’t love Mexican food? With this taco pasta bake my love for noodles and Mexican have been met. I actually made this for dinner tonight and doubled the recipe so I could freeze the extra portion. Freezing instructions, and as always calories & macros, are included below!

Freezer & Macro Friendly Taco Pasta Bake

Recipe:

  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 15 oz can Hunts tomato sauce
  • 1 small can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chiles
  • 1 and 1/2 cups 2% Kraft Mexican shredded cheese
  • 8 oz dry Cavatappi noodles or elbow (use whole grain to up fiber & protein amount!)
  • Sour cream, Greek yogurt, guacamole or tortilla chips for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil pasta according to instructions. While pasta is cooking brown beef with seasoning of choice. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cumin. Once beef is done drain and add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, then add noodles. Top with cheese and bake for 15 minutes. I topped mine with crushed tortilla chips and Greek yogurt and it was delicious!

Macros (per serving of 8 servings or about 1 cup, not including garnishes): 260 calories, 9g fat, 24g carbs, 21g protein, 1g fiber

To freezer simply put in an 8×8 tin pan and once completely cooled cover with tin foil. It will last up to 3 months. Reheat at 350 degrees for 30 mins covered and 15 mins uncovered.

Freezer Friendly Skinny Taco Pasta Bake

Skinny Fried Rice

Skinny fried rice only 2g fat, 16g carbs, 6g protein per serving

Recipe:

  • 1 cup brown rice, dry
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, or more to taste

Cook rice (I did this in a rice cooker) with the onion. Once rice is close to done add in the frozen peas and carrots and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes covered. Then just crack in your egg and egg whites to cook covered for 2-3 mins. Remove lid and fluff rice. Add in soy sauce to taste. That’s it! I added some cubed chicken after.

Macros (yields 4 servings, 1 cup serving including 3 oz cooked chicken breast): 341 calories, 6g fat, 36g carbs, 33g protein, 2g fiber

 

Tomato Pesto Panini

Starbucks Recreate Tomato Mozzarella Pesto Panini

This is essentially a recreate of the Tomato Mozzarella panini at Starbucks. Ever tried it? It’s DELICIOUS! If not you’re totally missing out, but now you don’t need to spend almost $7 at Starbucks. This isn’t the most macro friendly option but it sure is scrumptious.

Recipe:

  • Trader Joe’s Panini slim
  • Grape tomatoes (sometimes I use sun dried tomatoes or if I have regular tomatoes only that works too)
  • 1/8 cup Pesto sauce
  • 1 oz Fresh mozzarella (I’ve used 2% cheese sticks they work great, too!)
  • Fresh spinach

Spread pesto sauce on bread, add spinach and cheese, then top with tomatoes. If you have a panini press this would work best but I just wrap mine in foil and throw it in the oven on 400 degrees for about 20 mins or until cheese is ooey gooey. Oh my gosh it’s so good!

Macros: 425 calories, 40g carbs, 22g fat, 14g protein, 7g fiber

Cheeseburger Wraps

This recipe is from my second meal plan and is a low carb option for cheeseburger lovers like myself.

Cheeseburger Wraps

Recipe adapted from Mostly Homemade Mom. * Not my photo

 

 

Recipe:

  • 1lb lean ground beef (or regular drained)
  • Seasoning of choice (I used garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 low carb wraps
  • Tomato
  • Other garnishes of choice (lettuce, ketchup, etc)

Sauté onion then add beef, season, and cook til brown. Drain fat then add a cup of water and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drain water and add beef to tortilla, then top with cheese. I rolled mine up in a tortilla and through it in the oven for 5 minutes to warm the tortilla and melt the cheese. If you have a panini press this would work best. Then garnish with whatever you like! This was delicious with sweet potato fries.

Macros (for one, servings of six): 277 calories, 10g fat, 13g carbs, 21g protein, 2g fiber

 

Light Mac and Cheese

I don’t think I have ever met a person who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese. Mac n cheese is certainly one of my favorite comfort foods, but 1) I’m not a fan of the box kind and 2) I wanted to be able to eat it more often and not get huge ;). So I set out to make an easy homemade recipe that I could enjoy on the reg. It’s also included in meal plan #2!

Lightened Mac & Cheese

 

Recipe:

  • 1 box whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 4 tbsp light cream cheese
  • 2 cups reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta, drain, and set aside. While the pasta cooks add flour and salt to saucepan and mix, then add milk and whisk together. Turn on heat to medium-high and add cream cheese, stir constantly until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes, until thick. Remove from heat, add cheddar cheese, and stir. Add into pasta and toss well. Enjoy!

Macros (8 servings, about 1 cup): 310 calories, 8g fat, 28g carbs, 16g protein, 3g fiber

Southwestern Cobb Salad

It’s Monday and that means meatless Monday! Which worked out well because I wanted to make a Cobb salad but I didn’t have any meat prepped and was feeling a bit lazy. This meal is perfect for if you’re feeling lazy, it took me less than 10 minutes to whip up!

Southwestern Cobb Salad

Recipe:

  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fried onions (could do chopped red onions for healthier option)
  • 1/3 cup canned corned (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
  • Dressing of choice (I used low fat ranch)

Mix together and enjoy!

Macros for entire recipe (not including dressing) 16g fat, 22g carbs, 6g protein