By David Zinczenko
It’s dinner time, and you’re tired. The boss has been on a rampage, the kids are on a permanent sugar high, and the commute home made The Odyssey look like a bike ride in the park. Cooking dinner for yourself feels like a Everest-level challenge; heck, some nights you just want someone to come and spoon the food directly into your mouth. That’s why these recipes are going to save your life.
While it may seem easier just to throw everyone in the car and head to Chili’s, that’s not a healthy long-term solution: A recent study from Spanish researchers determined that your risk of becoming overweight increases 33 percent from eating just two meals a week at a restaurant. And dinners are by far the heaviest of all restaurant meals. To help you stay on the Zero Belly path, in the new Zero Belly Cookbook we’ve created a combination of meals that can be cooked primarily ahead of time; others that you can whip up in no time after a long day of work; and still others that will take advantage of a long, luxurious day of foodie indulgence. These hearty meals will have you looking forward to dinner all day long.
Baked Salmon with Beets, Citrus, Avocado and Caraway Seeds
Cook time: 10 minutes
4 5 oz portions of fresh wild salmon
4 large store-bought pre-roasted beets (not canned), cut into bite-sized pieces
3 large oranges, segmented
1 Ruby Red grapefruit, segmented
1 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp caraway seeds, toasted in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes)
½ avocado, diced
2 tbsp vinaigrette dressing
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp raw walnuts, toasted in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes), and roughly chopped
• Preheat the oven to 350°F.
• Season the fish with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Place on a non-stick sheet pan, skin side up, and place in the oven. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
• While the salmon is cooking, place the beets, whole orange and grapefruit segments, parsley, toasted caraway seed, avocado, and Zero Belly Vinaigrette in a medium bowl and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.
• Divide the salad among four plates, and top with the cooked salmon. Garnish with toasted walnuts.
Per serving: 428 calories / 20 g fat / 30 g carb / 8 g fiber / 33 g protein
Cook time: 10 minutes
Olive oil spray
1 lb extra lean ground beef (at least 90%)
2 tbsp Mexican Spice Blend (see below)
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 cup salsa (Newman’s Own is a good brand)
½ cup guacamole (Wholly Guacamole is a good brand)
• Heat a large skillet sprayed with olive oil over medium high heat, and add the ground beef. Use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon to break up the ground beef to small pieces until browned. Add the Mexican Spice Blend to the pan and mix well. Turn off heat, and use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a plate covered in paper towels to drain any excess fat.
• Divide the chopped iceberg lettuce among four plates, and top each salad with ¼ of the spicy beef.
• Top with ¼ cup salsa and 2 tablespoons guacamole.
Per serving: 312 calories/ 17 g fat/ 14 g carbs/ 5 g fiber/ 25 g protein
To make the Mexican Spice Blend:
2½ tbsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp onion powder
4 tsp garlic powder
Mix spices in a small bowl to combine.
Store in a BPA-free glass jar out of direct sunlight for up to 1 month.
Pan Seared Halibut with Chickpeas, Cucumbers and Cherry Tomatoes
Cook time: 10 minutes
4 5 oz portions of halibut Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 English cucumber, halved and sliced in half moons
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ avocado, diced into ¼ inch cubes 1 red pepper, diced into ¼ inch cubes
2 sprigs mint, coarsely chopped
¼ cup of chopped parsley
¼ cup Kalamata olives, pits removed, halved
2 tsp whole cumin seed, toasted in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes)
2 cups fresh baby spinach, packed 2 vinaigrette Salt and pepper
• Season the halibut with a pinch salt and fresh ground pepper on both sides.
• Heat a nonstick pan over a medium heat, and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add halibut to the pan, and cook until the fish starts to turn brown, about 3 minutes. Flip over the fish, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the fish is firm to the touch.
• While the fish is cooking, place all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well.
• Divide the salad among four plates, and top with the warm halibut.
Per serving: 375 calories/ 17 g fat/ 21 g carbs/ 6 g fiber / 35 g protein
Julissa’s Easy Tomatillo Beef Stew
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4-8 hours
This recipe comes to us courtesy of Zero Belly fan Julissa Loza of Desert Hot Springs, California. “It is based on a dish my paternal grandmother used to make,” Julissa says. “She was half Chinese and half Mexican and was a wonderful cook. She used to make Colas del Diablo (Devil’s Tails), which were tomatillos fried with either pork or beef and served on corn tortillas. This healthier, ZBD-friendly version brings my family and me all the flavor and memories without the extra fat.” Spend 10 minutes or less in the morning, and come home to a house filled with flavor.
1 lb stew beef, cut into two-inch cubes
1 large green bell pepper, chopped into one-inch chunks
½ medium onion, coarsely chopped 10 tomatillos, quartered 1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup of water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
• Line crock pot with slow cooker bag and combine all ingredients
• Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. The beef will be tender when done and fall apart with a fork.
Per serving: 245 calories / 13 g fat / 11 g carb / 3 g fiber / 24 g protein