Quick Meals For Picky Dieters

Diet-friendly dishes that are easy to make and yummy to eat.
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Sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza

Sausage, roasted red peppers, spinach and mozzarella make this a simple upscale pizza.


Makes 8 slices



1/2 cup roasted red pepper slices, drained (found in jar)

1/2 cup red onion thin slices, cut in half

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 (12-inch) thin pizza crust

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 ounces chicken sausage or gourmet sausage of choice, cut in thin slices

2 cups fresh baby spinach



1. Preheat oven 425F. Coat crust with oil and garlic.

2. In small nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook sausage until lightly browned and done. Add spinach, stirring only until wilted.

3. Evenly spoon spinach mixture over crust and top with remaining ingredients. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is done.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 196 Fat 8g Saturated Fat 3g Cholesterol 19mg Sodium 412mg Carbohydrate 21g Dietary Fiber 1g Sugars 1g Protein 11g

Claire Strebeck

Crab Tacos

Tacos stuffed with a mild, creamy crab mixture, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers make a speedy, spectacular light meal, especially enjoyable on hot days.


Makes 8 tacos (about 1/3 cup filling and 3 tablespoons tomato mixture)



  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jarred jalapenos
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked for shells
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 8 corn taco shells, heated according to directions
  • Chopped avocados, optional


1. In bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, jalapeno, 1 tablespoon lime juice, garlic and cumin. Season to taste. Carefully fold in crabmeat. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

2. In bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumbers, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and olive oil. Season to taste. Refrigerate.

3. Fill heated taco shells with crabmeat, tomato mixture, and avocados, if desired.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 162 Fat 5g Saturated Fat 1g Cholesterol 46mg Sodium 384mg Carbohydrate 14g Dietary Fiber 1g Sugars 2g Protein 14g

Claire Strebeck

Feta Crumble Dip

These few ingredients in this simple "knock-out" dip create an explosion of fresh flavors for a captivating combination. Serve with crackers. Leftovers can be used as a condiment on sandwiches or with chicken or fish.


Makes 8 (1/4 cup) servings



3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (reconstituted)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 (4-ounce) package reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled



1. In bowl, combine all ingredients, except feta mixing well. Toss with feta, refrigerate up to one hour, serve.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 80 Fat 7g Saturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 5mg Sodium 193mg Carbohydrate 3g Dietary Fiber 0g Sugars 1g Protein 3g

Claire Strebeck

Fudgy Brownie Pie

This fudgy, rich brownie dessert looks like it came from the bakery, but is so simply made with brownie mix, instant pudding and whipped topping with coffee enhancing the chocolate flavor-the perfect chocoholic finish to any meal.


Makes 10 servings



1/3 cup warm water

1 1/2 teaspoons instant dark roast or espresso coffee, divided

1 (19.85-ounce) box fudge brownie mix

1 egg

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup skim milk

1 (4-serving) instant chocolate fudge pudding and pie filling mix

1 (8-ounce) container fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Chocolate shavings for decoration, if desired



1. Preheat oven 350F. Coat 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In small cup, stir together water and 1 teaspoon coffee until dissolved.

3. In large bowl, combine brownie mix, coffee mixture, egg, egg whites, and vanilla, stirring until well mixed. Add pecans. Pour batter into prepared pie plate. Bake 25-28 minutes, or until set, don’t overbake for fudgy center. Cool.

4. In large bowl, stir together milk and remaining 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee until coffee is dissolved. Whisk in pudding mix until thickened. Carefully fold in half of whipped topping.

5. Spread pudding mixture evenly over the cooled brownie pie. Add almond extract to remaining whipped topping and spread over pudding mixture. Refrigerate until serving. Top with chocolate shavings, if desired.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 367 Fat 10g Saturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 22mg Sodium 338mg Carbohydrate 62g Dietary Fiber 1g Sugars 38g Protein 5g

Claire Strebeck

Watermelon and Feta Salsa

An unusual combination, yet, one of my summer favorites with sweet watermelon, fresh mint, salty olives, and feta bursting with sweet and salty in each mouthful.


Makes 16 (1/4) cup servings



4 cups chopped watermelon

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/3 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint 2 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons olive oil



1. In small bowl mix together all ingredients. Serve.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 29 Fat 1g Saturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 1mg Sodium 98mg Carbohydrate 4g Dietary Fiber 0g Sugars 3g Protein 1g


*Spicy Advice:* Try the red pepper seasoned rice vinegar for a little extra zing. Raid a salad bar for fresh Kalamata olives-it makes a difference.

Claire Strebeck

Brussel Sprouts Stir

Don’t pass up this understated and underrated vegetable. If you have never had fresh Brussels sprouts you are in for a taste sensation with this simple recipe.


Makes 4 servings


Ingredients 1 pound Brussels sprouts

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 cup chopped onion

Salt and pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes



1. Cut ends off Brussels sprouts and slice in half.

2. In medium nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sauté onion about 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from pan.

3. In same pan coated with nonstick cooking spray, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and place Brussels sprout halves face down in skillet until golden brown, around 5 minutes. Return onions to skillet, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Season to taste.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 146 Fat 10g Saturated Fat 1g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 29mg Carbohydrate 12g Dietary Fiber 5g Sugars 3g Protein 4g

Claire Strebeck

Crunchy Fish with Lemon Sauce

Panko bread crumbs, a coarser crumb, gives this fish a wonderful crunchy crust-great new choice of coating. Serve with or without lemon sauce.


Makes 6 servings



2 pounds trout or catfish fillets (mild fish)

Salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup fat-free chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped parsley



1. In bowl, season fish with salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. In plastic bag, combine bread crumbs and cornstarch. Add fish; shake to coat fish with mixture, pressing mixture onto fish.

2. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high heat, add fish cooking 4 – 5 minutes on each side or until fish is flaky.

3. Remove fish to serving plate, add butter to pan. After butter is melted, add chicken broth and remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, scraping pan of any bits to add flavor. Add parsley. Heat 2 minutes, serve with fish.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 283 Fat 12g Saturated Fat 3g Cholesterol 94mg Sodium 98mg Carbohydrate 10g Dietary Fiber 0g Sugars 0g Protein 32g


*Spicy Advice:* Panko bread crumbs are found with regular bread crumbs at grocery.

Claire Strebeck

Chicken with Olives, Tomato and Basil

Here’s a one-skillet, quick-chicken recipe with fresh ingredients that infuse the chicken with incredible flavor. Best if you use Kalamata olives and fresh basil.


Makes 4 servings



1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded thin if desired)

1 teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup sliced Kalamata olives

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley


Directions 1. Sprinkle chicken with paprika, salt and pepper; drizzle with lemon juice.

2. In large nonstick skillet over medium heat, coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook chicken on each side until chicken is golden, about 3-5 minutes each side.

3. Add onion, garlic, tomatoes and olives, cooking for several minutes or until tomatoes begin to soften. Sprinkle with basil and parsley before serving.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 237 Fat 4g Saturated Fat 1g Cholesterol 99mg Sodium 224mg Carbohydrate 9g Dietary Fiber 2g Sugars 4g Protein 41g


*Spicy Advice:* Italian (flat leaf) parsley has more flavor than curly parsley and is better for cooking. You can freeze parsley!

Claire Strebeck

Pull Apart Bread

This amazing buttery-tasting bread will quickly become the talk of the meal. It takes minutes to make and every time I serve this bread, people go crazy about my homemade pull apart bread-shhhh!


Makes 12-16 servings



3 tablespoons butter, melted

3 (8-ounce) cans reduced-fat crescent rolls



1. Preheat oven 375F.

2. Pour butter into bottom of nonstick Bundt pan. Unroll crescent rolls into four rectangles (two triangular shapes) and roll up (like cigar). Layer on top the butter overlapping the rolls.

3. Bake 19-23 minutes or until top is golden brown. Immediately invert onto serving plate.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 156 Fat 9g Saturated Fat 4g Cholesterol 6mg Sodium 350mg Carbohydrate 18g Dietary Fiber 0g Sugars 3g Protein 3g

Claire Strebeck

Chicken or Turkey Apricot Rice Salad

Holiday time, you can count on having extra wild rice and turkey, so turn leftovers into tomorrow’s dinner by spiking the rice with vivid colors and flavors and toasty crunchy almonds for an undemanding and unforgettable salad. Rotisserie or grilled chicken works well also.


Makes 8 cups



2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons roasted garlic seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

4 cups cooked wild or brown rice

2 cups chopped boneless skinless cooked chicken breasts or rotisserie chicken

1 cup dried apricots strips (about 6 ounce package)

1/2 cup dried cranberries or mixed berries

1 cup chopped green onions

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted



1. In small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, lime juice, oil, honey and ginger; set aside.

2. In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients except almonds. Combine with dressing and refrigerate. When serving, toss with almonds.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 277 Fat 7 g Saturated Fat 1 g Cholesterol 30 mg Sodium 111 mg Carbohydrate 39 g Dietary Fiber 4 g Sugars 19 g Protein 16 g


*Spicy Advice:* Use kitchen scissors to cut dried fruit into strips or even cut your meat.

Claire Strebeck

Salmon Marsala

Looking to impress, but no time to cook? Salmon with Marsala wine and mushrooms have a sophisticated earthly flavor in this easy recipe.


Makes 4 servings



1 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms

4 (4-ounce) skinless salmon fillets

1/3 cup Marsala wine or cooking wine

3/4 cup fat-free chicken broth

3 teaspoons cornstarch



1. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil and sauté onion, garlic, and mushrooms until tender.

2. Add salmon to skillet, cooking 4 minutes, turn onto other side. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix together wine, broth and cornstarch.

3. When salmon is almost done, add wine mixture to the salmon. Stir gently, as mixture thickens quickly.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 241 Fat 8g Saturated Fat 1g Cholesterol 65mg Sodium 162mg Carbohydrate 10g Dietary Fiber 2g Sugars 5g Protein 27g

Claire Strebeck

Speedy Chicken Chili

Have salsa, kidney and navy beans, and chicken on hand? Turn them into a hearty chicken chili. Serve with reduced-fat cheese, avocado, and onions.


Makes 10 (1-cup) servings



2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups salsa

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with juice

4 cups fat-free chicken broth

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies

2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups frozen corn, thawed

1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce) can navy beans, rinsed and drained

Shredded reduced-fat cheese, avocado, and red onions, optional



1. In large pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, season chicken and cook until lightly browned, 5 minutes.

2. Add salsa, tomatoes, broth, green chilies, oregano, and cumin. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and cook 15 minutes. Add corn and beans, cooking another 5-10 minutes until well heated and bubbly. Serve with condiments.


Nutrition per serving: Calories 257 Fat 2g Saturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 53mg Sodium 740mg Carbohydrate 29g Dietary Fiber 7g Sugars 6g Protein 29g


*Spicy Advice:* Look for fresh salsa or your favorite flavored salsa to pump up flavor. For a short-cut, use pre-cooked, grilled whole chicken breast fillets (great grilled flavor) or rotisserie chicken.


NEXT: Recipes That Fight Belly Fat!


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Claire Strebeck

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