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!
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!
- 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
I tried this buffalo dip from the Publix deli and fell in love. Unfortunately the macros on the Publix version isn’t great considering they use full fat cheese so I set out to make a lighter version with less fat. I saw that the Publix version uses Neufchatel cheese and was like, what the heck is that? Haha! I checked in the cream cheese section of the store and there it was! One single brand, Organic Valley, but it was there! After a few variations tested this final one came out fantastic. Served it with some crackers and veggies and everyone loved it! Would be perfect for a football snack and can I just mention it has 9 grams protein PER SERVING? Happy flexible dieting!
- 16 oz cooked chicken breast, shredded
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (I used Danon)
- 1/2 cup light sour cream (I used Daisy)
- 1/4-1/2 cup hot sauce depending on how much heat you want (I used Frank’s)
- 8 oz Neufchatel cheese 1/3 less fat, softened (I used Organic Valley)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and put in a baking dish. Cook for 20 minutes or until the top is bubbley. If you have a small slow cooker this would work great too. Enjoy!
Macros (per 30g, recipe makes about 30 servings): 75 calories, 3g fat, 1g carb, 9g protein
Excuse my hiatus. A lot of traveling going on lately along with a busy workload. I can’t lie though I love being busy! At least when it’s stuff I love to do. Part of the job is providing clients with new meal ideas so I set out to try a new recipe. My mom actually requested this chicken pot pie soup after seeing it on one of those cooking videos on Facebook. Aren’t those the best!? If they torture you never fear, this recipe along with the jalapeno popped chicken are both lighter options adapted from those scrumptious looking Facebook vids. If you have any particular requests, let us know!
This chicken pot pie soup is made macro-friendly using low fat milk. I used store brand milk but if you’re willing to shell out the money for 6 cups of Fair Life milk that will up the protein content even more! This soup was perfect for the cool fall weather rolling in. It can easily be made in a slow cooker but I made mine on the stove just an hour before my mom arrived. She loved it, even had a second bowl. Happy flexible dieting!
- 6 cups low fat milk (Publix brand 2%)
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1 large russet baked potato, diced (I used 7 oz)
- 1 smalled onion, chopped (I used 2.5 oz)
- 12 oz frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, green beans, corn)
- 16 oz cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
- Salt & pepper to taste
Pour milk into large pot on low to medium heat, slowly bringing it to a bowl. Add in the onion and vegetables and allow to simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Add in the diced potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk water and flour to create a slurry. Finally, add in the chicken and slowly whisk in the slurry. Leave on low for five minutes until the soup has thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.
*You can easily make this in the slow cooker, simply cook everything on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. When there are 15 minutes left slowly add in slurry and stir until thick.
Macros (per 1 cup serving, recipe makes 6 servings): 253 calories, 7g fat, 25g carbs, 30g protein, 2g fiber
These delicious and macro-friendly stuffed shells are as easy as it gets! Since they’re made in the slow cooker there’s no need to cook the pasta shells ahead of time. Just assemble in the slow cooker, allow to cook, and enjoy!
- 24 (1200g) Barilla jumbo pasta shells
- 1 cup Publix 2% skim (low fat) Ricotta
- 6 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup Sargento reduced fat 4 cheese Italian, shredded
- 3 cups Publix 2% mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 large egg
- 5 cups chopped frozen spinach, thawed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Parsley, optional
Start by adding a layer of marinara sauce to the bottom of the slow cooker (about 2 cups). In a large bowl mix ricotta, 2 cups 2% mozzarella cheese, 1 egg, thawed spinach, garlic, seasonings, and parsley. Take (uncooked) pasta shells and fill each with equal amount of mixture. For you macro trackers you will need to weigh the total mix and divide by 24 to know how many grams of mixture each shell should contain. Layer the bottom of the slow cooker with shells, you will use about half. Once the bottom is covered in stuff shells top with 2 more cups of sauce and sprinkle your final cup of mozzarella cheese on top. Add your final layer of stuffed shells and top with remainder of sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. When you are ready to serve top the shells with the Italian cheese blend and parsley, allow to cook covered for another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Happy flexible dieting!
Macros (2 shells per serving, recipe makes 12 servings): 249 calories, 9g fat, 24g carbs, 19g protein, 1g fiber
To make these a freezer meal, assemble shells into a glass dish including the top layer of cheese, cover, and freeze. When you’re ready to make the shells allow them to thaw overnight, then cook covered for 45 minutes at 425 degrees, uncovering the last 5 minutes for cheese to melt.
Flexible dieting is my favorite because there are endless opportunities for meal ideas! This was a new and delicious recipe that will definitely be a frequent meal in this house. The macros are pretty great, too, but you could look into using a leaner cut of meat for less fat.
- 2lbs chuck roast
- Taco seasoning
- Flour tortillas, small
- 1 cup beef broth, optional (not included in macros)
- 1 cup diced onions
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced green peppers
- 2 limes
- 1 bunch cilantro
Season the beef and sear on each side for about 2 mins (you can skip this step but it helps lock in the flavor). Add the beef to the slow cooker and set on low for 6-8 hours. You could add a cup off beef broth but I found it unnecessary. While the roast is cooking make your pico de gallo. Mix together the onions, tomato, green pepper, cilantro, and squeeze half a lime over top. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow this to chill in the fridge for the duration of the cook time. Once the meat has cooked shred the beef using two forks. Add 3 oz of beef to each taco, 2 tbsp pico de gallo, and feel free to add other toppings like low fat shredded cheese, light sour cream, or avocado.
Macros (per taco, yields 8 tacos): 304 calories, 12g fat, 22g carbs, 26g protein
Thomas and I are still really tired of chicken, haha! So this week we prepped some lean beef Italian meatballs to make as meatball subs for him (and his infinite carbs) and to pair with spaghetti squash for me. The beauty of IIFYM is the options with these are only limited to the macros you have left! So these Italian meatballs are a great option for your next meal prep session.
An added bonus to cooking these (and anything) in the slow cooker is using a slow cooker liner and having no clean-up! The lazy teenager in me is pleased.
- 2 and 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (93/7)
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 3 and 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Roll into balls. If you want to follow the macros of the recipe weigh each ball to be 3.5 oz. I placed mine in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours then added marinara sauce and cooked for another 2 hours. Slow cooking the meatballs are my favorite because they come out so moist and soft yet brown and crispy on the outside! If you don’t have a slow cooker you can bake in the oven for 20 minutes on 400 degrees. Make a meatball sub using marinara sauce and low fat slices of provolone or place a few on top a bowl spaghetti squash and shredded parmesan for a low carb alternative!
Macros (1-3.5 oz uncooked meatball, makes 13): 171 calories, 7g fat, 7g carbs, 19g protein, 1g fiber
I cooked this in the slow cooker and it was friggin delicious. Not going to lie, I was kinda procrastinating making this but it was really simple.
- 1lb lean ground beef, cooked and drained
- Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup low fat milk
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 8 oz can Rotel tomatoes drained
- 16 oz 2% Velveeta cheese
- 12 oz Russet potatoes, cubed
- Bacon crumbles (optional, not accounted for in macros)
Toss all prepped ingredients except Velveeta and bacon in slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours. When there’s about 2 hours left cube the Velveeta and stir in. Before serving crumble bacon on top. I also topped with Greek yogurt and shredded cheddar cheese (not accounted in macros). Viola!
Macros (per serving of about 1 and 1/2 cups, recipe makes 9 servings): 203 calories, 6g fat, 16g carbs, 20g protein
I couldn’t resist sharing this chicken noodle soup because it’s PACKED with protein at only 3g fat, 10g carbs, and 31g protein per serving! It’s just like any other chicken noodle soup but I doubled the meat & liquid. So filling and delicious!
First chop veggies and add into the slow cooker. Then add your chicken, broth, and seasoning. Cook on low for 8 hours.
After 7.5 hours pull chicken out, shred, and throw back in. Add the dry noodles and allow to cook another 30 minutes.
- 1 and 1/2 32 oz contained chicken broth (I used Pacific’s organic brand)
- 1 cup water
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cups carrots, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cup egg noodles
- 2lbs chicken breast (could easily use a cheaper part of chicken)
- Seasoning (I used salt, pepper, and a little ginger)
First chop veggies and add into the slow cooker. Then add your chicken, broth, and seasoning. Cook on low for 8 hours. After 7.5 hours pull chicken out, shred, and throw back in. Add the dry noodles and allow to cook another 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Macros (per serving of 8, about 2 cups): 187 calories, 3g fat, 10g carbs, 31g protein
I love my slow cooker. I love soup. I love Mexican. Throw it all together and what do you get? Taco soup! Mmm what is better in the winter time than soup? Well, soup in the slow cooker. I love being able to throw a few things in and when I’m hungry for dinner BAM it’s there, simmering, smelling delicious, calling my name. The smells do torture me throughout the day.
This soup is made lighter by using lean ground beef, although you could also use lean ground turkey.
- 1lb lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, yellow
- 2-15 oz cans stewed tomatoes
- 1-8 oz black beans, drained
- 1-8 oz red kidney beans, drained
- 1- 10oz can corn, drained
Sautee onions then brown beef in the same pan. Don’t drain and add to slow cooker. Add all other ingredients and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Garnish with Greek yogurt and cilantro.
Macros (per serving of 7, about 2 cups): 260 calories, 5g fat, 34g carbs, 22g protein
Is it Fall yet? Not quite..but we are so close! I seriously love Fall. I know, I know… everyone loves Fall. But I REALLY love Fall. Living in Florida gives you a great appreciation for any months not between May and August. Also I have a huge obsession with Halloween. Anyways! My favorite Fall dinner has got to be chili. It’s easy to make and lasts forever! You can either throw this in the crockpot before work or quickly throw it together in a pan.
- 1lb ground turkey
- 16 oz can chilli beans
- 16oz can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chiles
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 16oz red kidney beans
Brown meat and cook onions. If using crockpot, add everything in and allow to cook for at least 6 hours on low. If you’re using the pan, add in the tomatoes and beans and simmer for ~15-20 mins. I garnished with cheese and fritos. So yum! You can easily double the recipe and freeze for later.
Macros (per serving of 6, about 1 cup): 254 calories, 30g carbs, 6g fat, 25g protein, 9g fiber