Category Archives: Low-Cal

Cold Day Pork Cassoulet

It has been cold. This should come as no shock to most, if not all of you. This of course means I have been making lots of soups, stews and chilies (Is that honestly the plural of chili? Spell check says so; must be true). Though, I have to admit that it hit 72 degrees in St. Louis the other day, but it is cold again now.

Look at that piggy goodness!

Look at that piggy goodness!

I have been rather busy recently keeping to a pretty rigorous exercise regimen and actually writing my dissertation. I have over 3 pages of that done! Small start I know, but every single word is one step closer to being finished. Anyway, with those two big time sucks, I have been using and abusing my slow cooker. I recently purchased a slow cooker cookbook with nothing but low-cal meals. On what I knew would be a particularly cold day, I decided to try out the pork cassoulet. This meal has pork three different ways: bacon, smoked pork sausage and pork tenderloin and it is somehow still low-cal! If you are like me, you get frequent desires for meat, you may choose to view that as a double entendre or not. But seriously, I will often feel an intense need for more protein in my diet often the day after some heavy weightlifting. This meal definitely satisfies that craving. It is incredibly hearty without making you feel heavy. The ingredients are actually pretty simple but it is full of flavor. And literally, after frying up a couple slices of bacon, you cut up the rest of the ingredients, bung ‘em all in the slow cooker, turn it on low and come back 5 hours later to the perfect post weightlifting winter meal. It goes great with some nice, crusty bread, though I served it with some leftover low-cal corn muffins (recipe to come). So, on your next cold day or perhaps for the Super Bowl, make a pork cassoulet. Ha! That rhymed, and it is only 249 calories per 1 cup serving!

And again!

And again!

Smoked Sausage Cassoulet
Adapted from Cooking Light: Slow Cooker Tonight

2 bacon slices
2 cups chopped onion (2 medium onions)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
4-5 garlic cloves minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper – I put in more because I love black pepper
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 lb lean bonless pork tenderloin trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 1 inch cubes
½ lb reduced fat smoked sausage cut into ½ inch cubes
8 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
8 teaspoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


1. Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and place on towels to drain grease. When cool enough to handle crumble it up into little bits. Do NOT get rid of grease in pan.

2. Add onion, thyme, rosemary and garlic to the bacon drippings in pan and sauté until the onions are tender. Stir in bacon, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Bring to boil and remove from heat.

3. Place half the beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher until chunky. Add remaining half of beans, pork and sausage with the mashed beans and stir to mix.

4. Place half of bean pork mixture in slow cooker, place half of tomato mixture on top of that, put the rest of the bean-pork mixture on top of that and then the rest of the tomato mixture.

5. Put the cover on the slow cooker, turn on low and let cook for 5 hours.

6. When ready to serve, sprinkle with one teaspoon Parmesan and one teaspoon parsley.

So delightful!

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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Low-Cal, Main Dishes, Pork


Tequila-Lime Turkey Chili – Healthy Super Bowl Recipe

This chili is a low-cal recipe that combines chili AND booze! Also, it is another slow cooker recipe, so you can set it and forget it! Isn’t that phrase from some obnoxious infomercial? Meh, I really do not care enough to take the time and Google it. Anyway, this is a lighter version of chili that has an awesome bite of both lime and tequila. Despite being lighter, it is very hearty and filling. It is great with a topping of some avocado and a few extra squirts of lime juice. And, yes, it still goes well with cornbread. So, if you are looking for a slightly healthier super bowl option, here it is. It is 270 calories for a 1 1/3 cup serving. You will have to add in extra calories for other toppings you may want to include. And if you are like me and think this year’s Super Bowl is a rather boring matchup where you could not care less who wins, then at least you can have some awesome chili.

I unfortunately did not add any toppings and it looks boring...sorry.

I unfortunately did not add any toppings and it looks boring…sorry.

Tequila-Lime Turkey Chili
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Light and Healthy 2012

1 slice of hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
Salt and Pepper
2 onions chopped fine
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 teaspoons chili powder –add extra or use chipotle chili powder if you want to bring on the heat
5-6 garlic cloves minced – or 2 great big squirts of the pre-minced stuff in a bottle
3-4 teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 teaspoons fresh minced oregano or ½ – 1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
¼ cup tequila
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1 tablespoon lime juice
Avocado for toppingLime wedges for serving


1. Mash bread and milk into a fine paste in a large bowl with a fork. Mix in ground turkey and pepper to taste using hands until uniform.

2. Combine onions, oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large skillet. Cover and cook on medium low heat until soft, 8-10 minutes.

3. Uncover, increase heat to medium, stir in tomato paste, chili powder, garlic, cumin, oregano and pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds.

4. Stir in turkey mixture and cook, breaking up large pieces until all the pink is gone.

5. Stir in tomato sauce, scrap up any brown bits and cook for about a minute. Pour into slow cooker.

6. Stir beans, tomatoes, 3 tablespoons tequila, soy sauce, honey and chipotle into slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.

7. Once time is up, stir in remaining tablespoon tequila, lime zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

8. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Eat, and maybe watch the Puppy Bowl with the Kitten Halftime Show instead…

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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Low-Cal, Main Dishes, Turkey