Weekend survival guide: 3 dishes under 250 calories

Jan. 20, 2012 at 3:19 PM ET

Michelle Hainer /
Spinach and ricotta salata frittata

You may have stayed with your diet all week, but come the weekend, those cravings can be overpowering. Here, we share three recipes for tasty dishes to throw into your weekend mix.

Frittatas are a fantastic option for weekend brunch because they’re easy to make and packed with protein. While this egg dish is usually made with 6-8 whole eggs, to cut down on the fat and cholesterol, I usually substitute three egg whites. The spinach adds crucial vitamins and minerals like zinc, folate and calcium and a touch of ricotta salata brings a savory quality to the dish.

Spinach and ricotta salata frittata (serves 6)

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup ricotta salata, crumbled
  • 1 5-ounce clamshell of organic baby spinach (about 8 cups)*
  • Salt and pepper

Steam the spinach until lightly wilted. Rinse with cold water, then squeeze out excess moisture. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl lightly beat eggs and egg whites. Add cheese, spinach and salt and pepper. Lightly oil a 12-inch oven proof skillet and let it warm up over medium high heat. When skillet is hot, add egg mixture, turn the heat to low and let the eggs cook until set but not brown, 12-15 minutes. Put the skillet in the oven and let cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the middle is cooked through. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

*Note: If possible, use organic spinach. Conventional spinach is often covered in pesticides and, as a result, has made it onto the Dirty Dozen List. For the full list, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.

150 calories, 12 g fat, 4 g carbohydrates, 10 g protein

Sarah Remington /

Black-eyed pea and red pepper soup (serves 6, makes about 8 cups)

This hearty soup from "Vegan Family Meals" by Ann Gentry will fill your belly without loading you down with fat and calories. The black-eyed peas, tomatoes and collard greens add chunkiness and the cayenne gives it a bit of a kick. Have this soup for lunch with a slice of multigrain bread.

  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • About 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juices
  • 3 ounces collard greens, stemmed and cut into ½-inch squares (about 1 cup)
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • ¹⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Combine the black-eyed peas, bay leaves, and garlic in a heavy saucepan. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 2 inches (about 3 cups), then bring the water to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes until the peas are par-cooked; they should be soft but still hold their shape. Add the 1 teaspoon salt and cook 5 minutes longer.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the celery and bell pepper, then cover and cook until the pepper begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Break up the tomatoes by squeezing them in your hands over the pot, then add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot. Stir in the collard greens and corn. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the thyme, the ½ teaspoon black pepper, and the cayenne pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the black-eyed peas and their cooking liquid and 3 cups of water to the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a simmer. Decrease the heat to medium-low and gently simmer until the peas and greens are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.

Add more water, if needed, to thin the soup to the desired consistency. Stir in the cilantro, and season to taste with more salt and black pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

The soup will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated, or for 1 month frozen. To rewarm, bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally and adding water to thin the soup to the desired consistency.

Per serving: 72 calories, 1 g fat, 15 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein

Michelle Hainer /

Healthy boneless buffalo wings (serves 2)

I love boneless buffalo wings, but cringe at the fat and calories in a typical serving. Thankfully, I discovered a recipe on Hungry Girl’s website several years ago. These wings have become a dinner staple in our house. I adapted it to use reduced-fat kettle cooked potato chips (my favorite kind of chip) and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Wango Tango Habanero Hot Bar-B-Que Sauce. These wings are great over a salad with blue cheese, but for a lighter version, I like to use this yogurt cilantro dip for dressing.

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks
  • 1/2 cup high fiber cereal (I usually use Fiber One or Trader Joe’s High Fiber cereal)
  • About 8-10 reduced fat, kettle cooked potato chips
  • 3 tablespoons Dinosaur Bar-B -Wango Tango Habanero Hot Bar-B-Que Sauce or enough to coat the chicken pieces
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • A pinch of garlic powder
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor or blender, grind up the cereal and potato chips into a breadcrumb-like consistency. Add the seasoning and place in a bowl. In a separate bowl, pour in the hot sauce. Dip the chicken in the hot sauce and then roll in the cereal mixture until coated. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes, flipping at the halfway mark. Serve warm over salad.

Wings, per serving: 173 calories, 14 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 23 g protein

Dip, per serving: 45 calories, 1 g fat, 5g carbohydrates, 4 g protein

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