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Get out of your rut with 500 low-cal recipes

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Dick Logue’s book, “500 400-Calorie Recipes” can provide inspiration for meals while you lose weight.

Last fall I was mailed a copy of Dick Logue's cookbook, '500 400-Calorie Recipes.' I thought it would be a perfect resource to share in January when we are all seeking inventive recipes to keep morale high while we focus on losing weight.

Who is Dick Logue? He is a regular guy who lives on a little farm in the woods in southern Maryland. He has enjoyed cooking most all of his life - made spaghetti and burgers for his family as a teenager and broaden his culinary skills from there. In 1999, he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and his doctor insisted he follow a low-sodium diet - with a limit of 1200 mg a day or less.

So he learned all kinds of new cooking things and basically re-programmed his whole diet. He started sharing his discoveries online with others and eventually was approached by a publishing company to write a book. '500 400-Calorie Recipes' is Logue's fourth book.

'Since I came to create recipes because of a need to eat heart-healthy food, I have some ideas about how we should structure these mega meals for maximum health, not just weight loss,' he writes in the book's introduction.

Why 400 calories? Logue believes that a 400-calorie meal is just what you need to lose weight.

'I'm suggesting that if you want to lose weight, you can eat three satisfying meals a day of 400 calories each, maybe throw in a healthy snack or two, and end up with a total daily calorie count of less than 1,500 calories.'

His idea is based on research of a number of doctors and nutritional experts, including Dr. Barbara Rolls, a professor of nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania. She says people feel full because of the amount of food they eat, not the amount of calories or the grams of fat, protein or carbohydrates.

The trick is to fill up on foods that aren't full of calories.

Logue's goal with this book isn't to just give you 500 recipes; he wants the reader to understand six key characteristics of foods, which he considered while creating the recipes. He focused on foods with low energy density, high nutrient density, were fresh or minimally processed, low in sodium and saturated fat and high in fiber.

Logue's book is available on amazon.com or through our local bookstores.

Though I haven't tried all 500 of the recipes I have read a great many of them. They are simple to prepare, and offer a nice variety of flavors. I've selected several to share with you, including two for the most important meal of the day - breakfast. Try them this week!

Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Get You through the Morning Couscous Cereal with Fruit

Makes 4 servings

I get bored sometimes. This is a little different take on hot breakfast cereal. The fruit adds to the nutrition, and the volume will definitely keep you going until lunch.

1 ½ cups apple juice

1 cup whole wheat couscous

½ cup raisins

½ cup dried cranberries

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup skim milk

Bring apple juice to a boil. Add the couscous, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the raisins, cranberries, honey and cinnamon. Serve with skim milk.

Each serving has 355 calories; 9 g protein;1 g total fat;0 g saturated fat;0 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 81 g carb;4 g fiber; 50 mg sodium.

Breakfast in a Pocket

Makes 2 servings

This breakfast sandwich starts with hard boiled eggs so it's really quick to make if you have the eggs cooked ahead of time. We then add cheese and vegetables to up the nutritional level, ending up with a filling meal for around 350 calories.

3 eggs, hard boiled

2 ounces low fat cheddar cheese, grated

2 whole-wheat pita breads, 6-inch

1 cup tomato, chopped

½ cup alfalfa sprouts

Peel and slice hard boiled eggs. Grate cheese. Divide cheese and egg between pocket bread halves and microwave approximately 25 seconds or until cheese is melted. Add tomato and sprouts.

Each serving has 358 calories; 24 g protein; 12 g total fat;4 g monounsaturated fat; 2 g polyunsaturated fat; 38 g carb;2 g fiber; 681 mg sodium.

Ginger Orange Pork Chops

Makes 4 servings

These tasty and low calorie chops can be the start of a number of meals. These are good with Asian vegetables and brown rice or potatoes and vegetables.

4 boneless pork chops

1 tablespoon oil

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ cup orange juice

Brown chops in oil on both sides. Sprinkle with spices and pour orange juice over. Cover and cook until done, 10 to 16 minutes.

Each serving has 168 calories; 21 g protein; 8 g total fat;2 g unsaturated fat;3 g monounsaturated fat; 2 g polyunsaturated fat;2 g carb; 0 g fiber;52 mg sodium.

Turkey and Barley Stuffed Green Peppers

Makes 4 servings

Stuffed peppers can turn out to be a diet nightmare. Here we've avoided that by using turkey instead of beef and limiting the cheese and making it low fat. But the flavor is still rich and the added volume of the mushrooms and onions will help to fill you up.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground turkey

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup cooked pearl barley

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup low fat Monterey jack cheese, shredded

4 green bell peppers

1 cup no salt added tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add turkey, mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring until the onions are browned and turkey is no longer pink. Stir in the barley, parsley, thyme and black pepper. Stir in the cheese; set aside. Cut off the tops of the peppers, remove and discard the seeds. Spoon a quarter of the mixture into each pepper. Stand the peppers upright in a baking dish just large enough to accommodate them. Pour the sauce over the peppers. Bake 30 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

Each serving has 400 calories; 39 g protein, 8 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 3 g monounsaturated fat; 1 g polyunsaturated fat; 44 g carb; 10 g fiber;5 g sugar; 188 g sodium.

All recipes are from '500 400-Calorie Recipes' by Dick Logue, 2011

Randall welcomes your foodquestions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext. 101 or by email at bran

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