Fitness Challenge Inspires Low Calorie Dinner Recipes

Wayne shares two recipes from a 900 calorie 4 course dinner prepared during his 4 week fitness program.

I’m in the middle of a four-week fitness challenge with two of my friends, Mark Schmieding and David Kaufman.  The meal planning has been fun and challenging.  But, I put together a four-course meal recently, including dessert and was able to bring the entire meal in under 900 calories.   Here are two of the recipes from the dinner.  They are easy to prepare, very low in calories and have been a hit at my house.  I hope you enjoy them.

Tilapia Packets Poached in a Tomato Broth
for 4 servings, 185 Calories each

Ingredients (with calories listed)

8 Large Iceberg Lettuce Leaves (50)
16 Long Chive Stems (1)
16oz Tilapia Filet (438)
1 Lemon (24)
4 Basil Leaves, finely chopped (1)
2 Cloves Garlic, minced (8)
2 tbl Red Onion, finely chopped (4)
1/4 tsp Salt (0)
1/8 tsp Pepper (0)
1 tbl Olive Oil (124)
1/2 med Red Pepper, thinly sliced into 1” strips (20)
14oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic (88)
2 tbl Fresh Oregano, chopped (1)
1 cu Fat Free Chicken Stock (5)
Parsley, optional


To remove the leaves from the lettuce, carve the root out of the bottom and then carefully remove each outer leaf, keeping it as in tact as possible.  It actually helps to run a little water inside each leaf as you try to remove it.  You may need a few extra pieces of leaves to create some of the packets.  But, the larger the pieces, the better the dish will turn out.

Bring a large pot of water to a simmer.  Drop the lettuce leaves into the water for only 5-10 seconds.  Remove and drain on paper towels (you can stack the paper towel and leaf combination until ready to use).  Drop the chives in for only about 5 seconds and drain on paper towels as well.

On a cutting board, cut the top and bottom off of the lemon.  Set the lemon on one end and cut away the peel on all sides.  Slice the lemon, remove the seeds and chop.  Place in a small bowl.  Add basil, garlic red onion, olive oil, salt, pepper and only half of the red pepper. 

Divide the tilapia in to 8 equal portions (some portions will be pieces of tilapia.  Place a piece of lettuce on a work surface.  Top with a tilapia portion and 1/8 of the lemon basil mixture.   Fold over sides to seal tilapia.  Turn packet over and place on a chive strip.  Gently tie the strop over the packet.  Repeat with a second chive strip.  Use this method to make 7 additional packets.  Set aside.

Put Diced tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add chicken broth.  Pour into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and gently add tilapia packets.  Spoon sauce over packets while simmering for 10-15 minutes until tilapia is cooked through (depending on the thickness of the tilapia, you might have to poach them a bit longer).  Remove from heat and gently put two packets on each of 4 serving plates.  Spoon reserved liquid around packets and top with remaining red pepper and chopped parsley.

Total Calories  740 - 185/per serving

Lettuce Wraps
for four appetizer servings, 162 Calories each

Ingredients (with calories)

1 head Boston Lettuce (21)
9 oz packaged Roasted Chicken Breast Pieces, chopped (350)
1 med Onion, thinly sliced (44)
2 Celery Stalks, sliced (6)
2 Garlic Cloves, sliced (8)
1 Carrot, peeled, sliced lengthwise and chopped (25)
1/2 med Red Pepper (20)
1 tbl Olive Oil (124)
1 med Tomatillo, diced (11)
1 cu 99% Fat Free Beef Stock (15)
2 tbl Worchestershire Sauce (20)
1/4 tsp Louisiana Hot Sauce, optional (1)
1 tsp Horseradish, optional (3)


Wash, rinse and drain the lettuce.  Carefully remove all of the leaves once they are dry and divide them among four serving plates.   Place a medium sized bowl in the center of each plate.  Set aside.

Mix beef broth, Worchestershire sauce, hot sauce and horseradish in a medium sized bowl.  Set aside.

Place a large skillet or wok over high heat.  Add olive oil and stir fry all of the vegetables, except the tomatillo, for about 2-3 minutes until tender.  Add chicken and continue to stir fry until chicken is fully incorporated and hot.  Add broth mixture and bring to a boil.  Toss mixture in sauce for about 1 minute more.  Using a slotted spoon, remove divide mixture into the bowls on each serving plate.  Spoon just a little of the sauce on top of each bowl.  Top with chopped tomatillo and serve.

Total Calories  648 - 162/per serving


Official Calorie Counts

UDSA Nutritional Information

Calorie Counting & Fitness Websites


Ravinia’s Rutherford Hill Ultimate Picnic Contest Winners

Earlier this year the folks at Rutherford Hills and Ravina concluded their second annual Ultimate Picnic Contest.  I was asked again to select the winners and I want congratulate these fine folks for all putting on a beautiful spread.  The individual winners received a picnic blanket and an insulated wine tote bag and the grand prize winner received season lawn passes for 2 to every Ravinia concert next season.

Family Picnic Winner: John & Sharon Bayer
Couple Picnic Winner:  Ruth Pfotenhauer
Group Picnic Winner: Gaye Flowers

Grand Prize Winner: Gaye Flowers

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at or follow me on twitter @MrDomesticDiva.


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