Who doesn't love the convenience of those frozen diet meals? The calories are all figured out and sure to fall within acceptable *on-plan* limits and are ready in an instant. The best part is that with so many different meals to choose from, you're sure to beat the *sick-of-being-on-a-diet-and-eating-the-same-food-everyday* blahs. You can have Chicken Piccata, Lasagna, and Beef Stir Fry all in the same week without ever having to turn on your stove. Too good to be true? Well, yes... there is an ugly side to these delightful little fellows. Sodium. It's not uncommon for one of these innocent looking entrees to have a whopping 900 mg of sodium.
So what's a girl to do?? Well, let's just say now is a good time to buy stock in Tupperware.
I scavenged for low point versions of the frozen meals I found myself eating the most: Lasagna, Enchiladas, and Eggplant Parm. The frozen entrees were 7-10 points each, so I looked for recipes that fell within this same value. Then I made a day of cooking my own sauce from scratch, stocking up on fat-free cheese, and bought a LOT of Tupperware. A lot. When I was done I had 23 containers in my freezer that were full of deliciousness and labeled with the contents and PointsPlus value.
So far it has been working out great. And I have found that my meals are more filling than the ones from the store. And cheaper!! Each serving came out to be $1.75 as opposed to $2.69. (Yes, I sat down with a calculator and figured it all out.) Now that my freezer is stocked, I just need to replenish regularly. I make a big pot of something, my husband and I have a serving for dinner and then pack up and freeze the rest.
Last night was Chicken Zucchini Lasagna....and a salad with romaine, carrots, apples and a dressing made from Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Very very good!!! Do you see how HUGE that piece of lasagna is?? Only 7 PointsPlus!
Chicken Zucchini Lasagna (8 Servings, 7 PointsPlus, 297 Calories)
1 package 100% whole wheat lasagna noodles (like this)
2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
1 zucchini, diced extremely fine in food processor
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced (I use food processor)
1 cup fat free mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 onions, chopped
2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
In a saucepan, cook onions in oil until fragrant. Add tomatoes, 1 cup water, and Italian seasoning. Stir, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 mins.
Prepare filling: In a large bowl, mix ricotta, zucchini, and chicken.
Layer Lasagna: In a 9x13 casserole dish, spread some of the sauce on the bottom, add a layer of lasagna noodle, then layer of filling, then more sauce. Repeat twice.
(There will be a lot of sauce...it will cook way down if you leave it uncovered. If you like it *wetter* cover with foil while cooking.)
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Enjoy!!
This morning before work, I hopped on the treadmill and did this!
I burned more calories than were in that huge honkin' piece of lasagna! I feel really good about all of this. Since going back and thinking of what made me successful last time I lost weight, I feel this sense of peace. This is ok. Eating like this and moving my body is ok. It's a good thing. Don't sweat what the scale says...enjoy what you are eating and what you are doing. The scale is a side effect. A symptom of having this great life!