Opposites Affecting your Health

Cut the Calories

Celebrity chef Devin Alexander cuts the calories in your favorite dishes. Try these recipes from her new book Biggest Loser Flavors of the World Cookbook.

Devin's tips for a lower calorie Italian feast!

Three Cheese Spinach Lasagna 
If you're not a huge fan of spinach, but looking for a way to incorporate more of this nutrient-packed leafy green into your diet, this recipe is perfect for you. The spinach flavor is extremely mild, but you'll still get all of the health benefits. Just be sure to really squeeze the spinach to remove all the excess moisture. Otherwise, you'll end up with a soggy lasagna.

• 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 14 dry whole wheat lasagna noodles
• 1 package (12 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
• 3 cups all-natural fat-free ricotta cheese, drained of any liquid on top of the container
• 3 large egg whites
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• Sea salt, to taste
• Ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 1/2 cups all-natural low-fat, low-salt, no-sugar-added marinara sauce (Suggestion: Monte Bene Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce)
• 4 ounces finely shredded almond mozzarella cheese (Suggestion: Lisanatti)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Once the water is boiling, add the olive oil to the pot. Add the noodles to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain well. Cut or tear 2 of the noodles in half widthwise.

Meanwhile, drain the spinach by squeezing it in a clean, lint-free dish towel until all of the excess moisture is removed. Once you think all of the moisture is removed, continue squeezing the spinach even more to ensure it is completely dry. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg whites, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, parsley, and garlic powder until well combined. Stir in the drained spinach until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the lasagna, spread 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass or ceramic baking dish. Lay 3 1/2 noodles evenly across the bottom of the dish in a single layer. Dollop one-third of the ricotta mixture in big spoonfuls across the noodle layer and, using a rubber spatula, spread it into an even layer. Top the ricotta with 1/2 cup of the remaining sauce. Sprinkle one-quarter of the mozzarella evenly over the sauce. Repeat this layering process (noodles, ricotta mixture, sauce, mozzarella) two more times. For the final layer, top the lasagna with the last of the noodles. Spread the remaining sauce evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella, then the remaining Parmesan.

Tiramisu Custard
Tiramisu is the quintessential Italian dessert—but it’s also one of the heaviest, most calorie-laden desserts you’ll find on any restaurant menu. This custard mimics the flavors without leaving anything on your hips. Just remember to shake your can of evaporated milk before pouring it since, since as it sits, the milk separates.

• 1 large omega-3 egg
• 2 tbsp Marsala wine
• 1 packet (0.25 oz) unflavored gelatin
• 1 tsp instant espresso powder
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1/2 cup cold fat-free evaporated milk
• 1/2 cup all-natural, low-fat ricotta cheese
• 1/3 cup coconut sugar
• 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

In the jar of a blender, blend the egg, wine, gelatin, and espresso powder on high for 15 seconds. Turn off the blender and, using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides, then blend the ingredients for another 10 seconds. Let the mixture stand for a minute. Add the boiling water and immediately blend for 15 seconds, or until the gelatin is dissolved.

Add the milk, ricotta, and sugar and continue blending for 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth.

Divide the mixture evenly among six 3 1⁄2 inch-diameter (1⁄2-cup capacity) ramekins or decorative custard dishes. Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until set. Dust the tops evenly with the cocoa powder. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings

Per serving: 101 calories, 6 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates (12 g sugar), 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 43 mg cholesterol, trace fiber, 114 mg sodium

Chorizo Nachos

I served these nachos at the reunion dinner I hosted for former Biggest Loser contestants before the Season 10 finale, and they were a huge hit. This dish is one of the favorite recipes among everyone in my test kitchen as well. These nachos would be very impressive to serve on game day—what could be more perfect for snacking than cheesy nachos with homemade chorizo? Since you can make the chorizo in advance, you can whip up these nachos in no time.

• Olive oil spray (propellant free)
• 2 1/2 oz uncooked Homemade Chorizo
• 1 oz (about 11 chips) all-natural baked tortilla chips
• 1/3 cup rinsed and drained canned, no-salt-added black beans, heated
• 2 tbsp all-natural salsa con queso, heated
• 1/4 cup well-drained fresh pico de gallo or fresh salsa
• 1 finely chopped whole scallions

Place a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, lightly mist the pan with spray and add the chorizo. Cook, breaking it into large chunks, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until no longer pink.

Arrange the chips on a dinner plate. Top them evenly with the beans, then the chorizo. Drizzle the salsa con queso evenly over top. Top them with the pico de gallo and scallions and serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving

Per serving: 335 calories, 22 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates (1 g sugar), 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 557 mg sodium

Homemade Chorizo

This sausage can be used in many different ways. You can shape it into links or patties, or crumble it. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it—and your body will enjoy it much more than eating the traditional version, which is often made from some of the fattiest (not to mention least appealing) parts of the pig and can contain upwards of 28 grams of fat!

• 1/4  cup + 1 tablespoon old-fashioned oats
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp all-natural egg substitute
• 1/4 cup chili powder
• 2 tsp freshly minced garlic
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 lb extra-lean ground pork

Combine the oats, vinegar, and egg substitute in a medium bowl. Allow to stand for 3 minutes, or until the oats begin to soften. Add the chili powder, garlic, oregano, and salt and stir until well combined. Using your clean hands or a fork, mix in the pork until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a resealable plastic container and refrigerate at least 24 hours before using.

Makes 8 (2-oz) servings

Per serving: 101 calories, 14 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates (trace sugar), 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 221 mg sodium

Recipe credit is: Reprinted from: The Biggest Loser Flavors of the World Cookbook by Devin Alexander (c) 2011 by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. The Biggest Loser (TM ) and NBC Studios, Inc., and Reveille LLC. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold.


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