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02/08/2013 12:17 pm ET | Updated Mar 19, 2016

The One Outrageous Weight-Loss Dinner Everyone Loves

By Lynn Andriani

A healthy pork chop dish that tastes nothing like diet food -- plus four more light meals that are so tasty, you'll want to make them every week.

  • The Italian-American Dinner Nobody Talks About
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    Pork chops topped with tomatoes sounds basic -- even boring -- but believe us when we tell you that this riff on classic steak pizzaiola is juicy, meaty, savory, filling and not bad for you, either. A 6-ounce boneless, trimmed pork chop is around 200 calories, and unlike Parmesan-style recipes, there's nothing fried or topped with cheese here. Make it: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add 2 pork chops, season with salt and pepper, and cook until they're brown (about 3 minutes per side). Remove the chops to a plate, add a sliced onion to the same pan, cook for 5 minutes and then stir in a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes. Season with a dash each of dried fennel, basil and thyme, and simmer 15 minutes. Return the pork chops to the pan, letting them heat through, and serve with the tomato sauce.
  • The Quick Trip To The South Of France
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    Ratatouille isn't just the name of a movie about a cute, whisk-wielding rat -- it's also a traditional southern French stewed-vegetable dish that tastes much richer and more deeply flavored than a bowlful of nutritious food has any right to. Naturally low in fat and calories, ratatouille is usually made by sautéing all the vegetables together, but baking them is easier, since you can walk away for 20 minutes at a time. Make it: Cut eggplant (leave the skin on), red peppers, tomatoes and onions into pieces of roughly the same size. Pile them onto a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil and lay a couple of sprigs of thyme on top. Roast the vegetables in a 425° oven for 20 minutes, then stir in 2 cloves of minced garlic and a good sprinkling of salt. Return the pan to the oven for another 20 minutes. Serve hot, room temperature or cold, on its own or with whole wheat couscous.
  • The Sick-Of-Turkey-Burgers Supper
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    Dieters love turkey because it's even lower in fat and calories than chicken, but it can get boring quickly. Turkey meatballs, though, have many possibilities: You can tuck them into pitas, lay them atop whole wheat pasta, or make them mini and incorporate them into a larger apps-for-dinner spread (they'd go wonderfully with crudités and black bean dip). Make it: In a large bowl, mix a pound of ground turkey meat, bread crumbs from one slice of whole wheat bread, a minced small onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, a small handful of finely chopped parsley, a beaten egg, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. Form into meatballs and broil on a greased baking sheet for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
  • The Weeknight One-Dish Pasta
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    Pretty much everybody loves ooey-gooey boxed mac 'n' cheese, and it can be a lifesaver when you have approximately 12 minutes to get dinner on the table. But one serving can leave you hungry an hour or two later. Adding vegetables and meat is a simple way to amp up the dish, and you can keep it light by using steamed and lean ones. Make it: Start with a reduced-fat version of mac 'n' cheese, which usually has you use skim or 1 percent milk. While the macaroni is cooking, steam a cup of small broccoli florets until crisp-tender (about 8 minutes). Once you've incorporated the cheese mixture into the pasta, gently stir in the broccoli and 3/4 cup diced lean ham.
  • Chicken... But Not What You're Thinking
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    We know: There is nothing interesting about boneless, skinless chicken breasts. However, boneless, skinless thighs are another story: more savory, cheaper and actually healthier for your heart, Dr. Oz says. Pounding them flat and rolling them up with arugula, tomatoes and herbs make for an easy Italian-inspired dinner. Make it: Lay 4 thighs on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and pound with a heavy saucepan until they are 1/4-inch thick. Spread a mixture of chopped arugula, tomatoes and rosemary or oregano on each one, roll up and lay seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 25 to 30 minutes, moistening the chicken with a few splashes of chicken stock as necessary.

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